Medical school is a challenging road that requires sacrifice and dedication. However, life outside of medicine does not stop in the course of your training and sometimes will necessitate taking time away for reasons that may be personal, professional, or both. When you decide to take a leave of absence from your curriculum, you may be unsure of how best to utilize your time; while there is no single right answer to this question, this article will outline some suggestions.
The second year of medical school (MS2) is an exciting time. Most students will have completed the more basic science courses like biochemistry and physiology and move on to more clinical material such as pathology and pharmacology.
For this reason, the second year of medical school can be a time for immense academic growth. However, at many institutions, the second year curriculum is even more intense and rigorous than the first year. Maintaining a good work-life balance and reducing stress are especially important as an MS2. The following tips can help you to prevent burnout during the second year of medical school.
It takes some courage to reconsider a major life decision made long ago but for some of us it is a necessity. Many chose a career in medicine from a very young age -- sometimes childhood. As passionate as this may seem, it also begs the questions: “How thoughtful was this decision?” and “Have I changed as a person since this decision was made?”
Physician Burnout: The Common Problem
Being a medical student is one of the most anxious times of your life, and not without good reason. Medical school is stressful, from the rigor of the material to the constant testing to the frustrations of grades to residency applications. Unfortunately, these things are inherent to medical school and out of your control, and having anxiety in this situation is understandably very normal. However, much can be done for you to combat this anxiety as a medical student.
Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, is a process during which your mood changes in response to changing seasons, shorter days, colder weather, or all of the above. As medical students, seasonal depression is just one of many mental health disorders that you might encounter, which can significantly impair performance in and outside of medical school. It may be worse for medical students when rotations keep you in the hospital early morning and late in the evening so that you never even see daylight at all. The following are a few tips to assist in overcoming some of your symptoms to get you through the winter hump:
It’s a pounding heartbeat, a rock in your abdomen, a lump in your throat, a spike in adrenaline. It’s waking up at 2 a.m. and worrying about what you said yesterday or what you have to do today. It’s avoiding facing a situation that you unprepared for or that you dread.Anxiety threatens our peace of mind, enjoyment, work, and our health. It can be destructive and interfere with our studies, our work, and our relationships. Yes, anxiety is a natural and necessary human reaction that helps us be alert and responsive. It can be useful when proportional and rational. But when unfocused and excessive, anxiety lasts longer than comfortable and begins to control our choices. It is not healthy. Whatever your depth of anxiety, you can learn to manage it in order to serve and care for others in the way you want to. Train yourself to become aware of your physiological symptoms of anxiety, so that you can use your awareness to trigger your chosen relaxation response. Here are a few simple tools, tips, and techniques that we can do to win back the balance in our lives by BUILDING RESILIENCE.
The years of medical training, namely medical school and residency, while rewarding can also be incredibly intense, grueling years for doctors in training to endure. Unfortunately, rates of suicide among future doctors to be and doctors in training have been on the rise. These unfortunate events may be related to intense training schedules, long hours/call schedules, rigorous course loads, lack of time for personal hobbies/activities, increased pressure to perform well on high stakes exams/boards, and more. Having a strong support network of friends and family is essential for maintaining health, happiness, and sanity in medical school and residency.
We might marvel at the resilience of the physical human body and systematically study how the body responds to a stimulus or stress. The mind is a little more difficult to understand. It is assumed that high performing students can power through a psychological stress in a way that might never be expected of the body. Much of the time we get away with that explanation, but most often it leads to an outcome that leaves a person emotionally exhausted, detached, distant, cynical, or unempathetic. Being honest with ourselves and recognizing when we need to be attentive to our own well-being is an important step in reaching balance in our lives.