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Dating An American Medical Student? Some Financial Advice

The average medical school debt today, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, is $156,456.

The United States is the only country in the world were future doctors have to bear such a financial burden of their education. That places significant strain on any relationship involving an American medical student.

Recently, there was an interesting piece in the New York Times discussing this very issue. The article profiled a female medical student who had amassed $250,000 of school debt:

Still, if she and [her boyfriend] Mr. Kogler are going to move in together and get engaged, she wants their financial arrangements to be clear and fair. But how do you define fair when you’re bringing a quarter of a million dollars in debt to a relationship?

Indeed. It’s an issue that’s rarely discussed, yet frequently encountered by medical students. With that degree of debt, there is little room for flexibility should one’s future plans change. You have to continue working to pay off the loan. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

What It’s Like To Be In Medical School

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a medical student is like? A father of two, a husband of one, and a medical student and soon-to-be doctor of many describes his daily routine in one day in his life as a second-year medical student.

I heard one of my partners describing a friend of hers recent exit as an intensive care unit nurse and into the life of a medical student. How did the RN describe his experience?

“Man, this is hard.”

Yes, it is. No matter how many years you spend as a nurse, there is no replacement for a medical school education.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Pre-Med Vs. Liberal Arts: “Don’t Know Much Biology”

Study painting, drama or the “soft” social sciences and you’ll probably be a pretty good doctor anyway. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine has been doing it for years and compared students in a special liberal arts admissions program to its traditional pre-med students.

For years, Mt. Sinai has admitted students from Amherst, Brandeis, Princeton, Wesleyan, and Williams colleges based on a written application with personal essays, verbal and math SAT scores, high school and college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal interviews. No MCAT is required.

Students need to take one year of biology and one year of chemistry and maintain (swallow hard) a “B” average. They later get an abbreviated course in organic chemistry and medical physics. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

No Medical School Debt = More Primary Care Doctors?

There’s little question that medical school debt is rising rapidly, affecting the career choice of medical students.

It’s one of the main reasons why the disparity between the number of specialists and primary care doctors is widening. There have been a variety of proposed solutions — most recent of which are medical schools completely subsidizing their tuition. I think that’s a good step forward, but so far has only been limited to a few schools nationwide. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Medical Errors And Patient Safety: Beware The “July Effect”

Young InternFrom Dr. Toni Brayer at Everything Health:

We medical folks have always known that July is the worst time for a patient to be admitted to the hospital. It has nothing to do with nice summer weather or staff vacations. Although it cannot be proven, we think the answer to the mystery of July hospital errors is human — yes, it’s the new interns.

A new study published in the June issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine looked at all U.S. death certificates from 1979 to 2006. They found that in teaching hospitals, on average deadly medication mistakes surged by 10 percent each July. The good news is they did not find a surge in other medical errors, including surgery or in non-teaching hospitals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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