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Help! I'm Drowning in My First Semester of Med School!

In the months preceding medical school, I was excited — but more than anything else — I was scared. We all have been told horror stories about the difficulty of medical school.  And, while we can all agree it is rigorous and challenging, most will argue it is worth it and you can make it through.  The first few months are often the most challenging because students are unsure of what to expect and adjusting to a higher volume of course work and heightened expectations.  Below are some tips to successfully navigate the first semester of medical school:

The Benefit of the Benefit: Physician Disability Insurance 

When one is young, healthy, and newly starting a new career as a physician, it can be too easy to overlook the need to plan for the future. However, obtaining long term (and in some cases, short term) disability insurance is crucial. These types of insurance cover you in the event you are temporarily or permanently disabled and unable to work.  

Here are the top six facts to know about obtaining physician disability insurance:

Three Tips to Maintain Your Fitness in Med School

Those who do not endure it cannot truly comprehend the stress and intense commitment that is medical school. “It’s like trying to drink water from a firehose,” everyone says. “Prepare to do nothing but study all day and night.” As a second year medical student, I heard peers complain about not having time to brush their teeth. Once, I watched a classmate carry a text book down the hall and into the restroom with her just so she didn’t have to lose any precious seconds of studying. Given these scenarios, all medical students must be overweight, unathletic, unhappy people, right? Fortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. While medical school is intense and time consuming, it doesn’t necessarily require you to surrender your health, fitness, and sanity in order to survive it. The following are some tips to stay active and still make your health a priority during medical school:

Mental Health & Med School: When and How to Treat Yourself

Not too long ago, a young man came into my office for the first time. We'll call him John. After taking a thorough medical history, I asked him what brought him in that day.

"Well I'm trying to figure out if I'm depressed," John said. "Do you have a measurement tool for that?"

We do, actually — in our office we use the PHQ 9 to diagnose and quantify the severity of depression. While the tool certainly has its flaws, it does allow us to track a patient's symptoms over time. I went through the questionnaire with him and he scored a 4-5 (it was difficult for him to answer the questions). The tool would consider this to be no depression or very mild depression. However, anytime somebody is not sure if they're depressed, I want to find out what is actually going on.

Changing and Keeping a New Healthy Lifestyle — for Patients and Doctors

We all know smoking and drinking are bad for us.  Speeding through an intersection with a yellow light changing—probably not the smartest decision.  Every little thing about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane just sounds idiotic... but I’ve done it, and so have countless others. There are plenty of things we know are dangerous, or that are in our best interest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our actions follow said advice. 

“It won’t happen to me.”  Sure some of these things will never yield negative consequences, and we’ll skate on like it was never a real threat.  When it comes to our health though, it’s hard to surmise why patients would directly ignore the advice of their healthcare provider or physician. However, it does happen, and unfortunately many times it is life and death!

MD Fitness: It's Not Brain Surgery

As medical professionals, you are right on the proverbial front lines of a constant battle against sickness, disease, and potentially catastrophic emergencies.  If you are not the best, sharpest version of yourself, how can your patients possibly put their full faith and trust in you?  If you don’t look like you take care of yourself, why should they believe you can take care of them?

It’s no secret that working in medicine is not an ordinary lifestyle.  You have a constantly changing schedule, working ridiculous hours around the hospital or practice, and you’re always putting others’ well-being ahead of your own.  So here are just a few small tips of how to stay on top of your health, and just maybe it’ll help make you a better caregiver as well:

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