Well, I can officially announce that I will be attending the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont as a member of the class of 2021 (that’s a mouthful haha)!! To say I am super excited is a drastic understatement. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Closer Look Day up in Burlington which was a great chance for admitted students to see if UVM is the right fit for them.
The day started with a continental breakfast buffet complete with coffee and bagels (all the necessities). It provided me a chance to meet and mingle with many of my potential classmates which was great. I was nervous I would come off as super young since many people don’t enter medical school right after college or that everyone would think I was too chatty and possibly insane (a definite first impression when it comes to me). However, I clicked with quite a few people and I’m looking forward to getting to know them all better in the fall.
Quite a few professors spoke including the dean detailing specific aspects of UVM’s program, clinical approach, and hospital patient profile. Then the admitted students broke up into smaller groups. I was in a group of about 15 where we got to rotate around the medical school and discuss key aspects of the curriculum that make UVM different with both professors and current students.
The class Professionalism, Communication, & Reflection (PCR) was discussed which meets once a week to discuss important themes in medicine that are not taught in class. Topics include facilitating professionalism and working with patients with special needs. Additionally, we got to explore simulation labs and listen to a dummy’s simulated heart sounds and attend a diversity panel.
For those of you starting the application process, I highly recommend checking out this school’s program to see if it’s as good of a fit for you as it is for me – especially since it is very friendly to out-of-state students (an important aspect to consider).
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, M.D. is on many lists of what to read before entering medical school. Thus, this past month, I thought I would check it out. I was surprised to learn that it was actually not written with aspiring doctors in mind, but rather it was written for patients to hopefully aid them in better interacting with their doctors.
The goal of this book is to provide both patients and doctors better information so that they can make better judgements, diagnoses, and treatment plans together.
Now, as noble as that can sound, it also does not sound like a truly exciting book to read, but don’t be discouraged. I really enjoyed reading this book! Groopman includes multiple stories from his own work as well as from his colleagues that are gripping, heartbreaking, and interesting. Often, you are following the doctor’s thought process and he/she tries to correctly diagnose a patient with an unclear problem. Almost each chapter has a mystery patient and as Groopman goes through it, you learn how the doctors approach the problem, how their medical training influences this approach, and how sometimes their approach is flawed leading to complications.
I found this so interesting because as an aspiring doctor, it is important for me to understand some of the pitfalls that doctors can have in their thought processes when making a diagnosis. For example, Groopman describes a woman who had Celiac disease but was constantly diagnosed with psychological disorders instead due to a cognitive bias the doctors had.
The book ends with Groopman’s advice to patients on how to best interact with doctors including what questions to pose, how to describe symptoms, and how to handle non-ideal doctor patient relationship. I think this advice is useful for any patient and all doctors to consider moving forward. All in all, I highly recommend reading this especially for people considering the health field!