Introducing the Wards Survival Series

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wards4thEditionBy Walter Wiggins, Editor, firstaidteam.com

Over the course of the next several months, the First Aid Team authors will share a series of posts covering the common things that intimidate or mystify medical students during their first year on the wards. This series will cover a range of topics, including the uncertainty surrounding your first patient presentations, the art of writing a progress note, and the nuances of navigating the varied expectations of the core rotations. We will try to get at least two perspectives on any given topic in the hopes of getting better coverage of the issues we face as medical students and also to provide you with food for thought as you approach similar situations.

We hope you’ll find many of these posts helpful. Our primary goal is to allow you learn from – and occasionally be entertained by – our mistakes. A secondary goal is to demystify the clinical patient encounter from H&P to presentation, assessment, and plan. We have no expectations that our coverage will be comprehensive and thereby obviate your need to make mistakes of your own. After all, mistakes are how we learn best when we can make improvements based on the feedback we get…or lack thereof.

Searching for Osteopathic Residencies

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By Sean Martin

While the process of applying to residency can be very stressful, there are resources available through the American Osteopathic Association (AOA®) that make finding residencies a breeze. Researching residencies can be a fun way to kill time. I have found that it gives me something to work for, giving test taking and studying some semblance of purpose. With a fresh batch of third years in the hospitals, I was surprised to see how many didn’t know about various web sites and search engines for AOA-approved residencies. So, this post is just a friendly reminder of what resources are available to make your life a little easier.

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The Trouble with Work-Life Balance in Medicine

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By Walter Wiggins

work life balanceAs physicians, we spend our days caring for others. It may not always feel like caring, particularly when dealing with a tough patient or a frustrating case; however, it is. On outpatient services, we try to help people who sometimes don’t seem very interested in helping themselves. On inpatient services, we try to alleviate suffering and, in the process, witness the human experience in ways laypeople cannot even fathom. Some days take the empathy right out of us.

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Mnemonic Monday: Major Actions of Extraocular Muscles

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By Haley Masterson

Have you ever struggled to remember the important actions of the trochlear, abducens, and oculomotor nerves? If so, struggle no longer – here’s a mnemonic to make your Monday a little easier.

SALT ME DOWN: Six Abducts Laterally, Trochlear acts Medially Down. The oculomotor nerve is responsible for everything else.

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Med School Done Right: Be the “Pilot” of Your Study Experience – Use a Checklist

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By Luke Murray

This post is a short break from the Letter of Recommendation series, and involves a little more study strategy than most of my posts, but I couldn’t help but think of it given the recent incidents with Southwestern and Asiana Airlines.Be the “Pilot” of your study experience - use a checklist

My dad has been an airline pilot for over 25 years and flew fighter jets off of aircraft carriers before then. He’s never once had an accident. Surprisingly, not only has he never had an accident, but neither have 99.99% of pilots, despite the recent news stories. Now, this statistic might be understandable if flying was easy, or if the consequences of an accident weren’t noticeable, or if the environment was consistent. But as anyone who’s sat in a plane landing at an airport during a snowstorm will admit (let alone on a pitching boat at night in the driving rain) flying is neither easy, safe, nor carried out in a predictable environment.

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Mnemonic Monday: Antiarrhythmics are complicated… Console yourself with a burger and fries!

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By Molly Lewis

Antiarrhythmics are complicated… Console yourself with a burger and fries!In my previous antiarrhythmic post, I gave you two mnemonics to help you remember the mechanisms of action of each of the antiarrhythmic classes.

Now, while I still can’t spell the word “antiarrhythmic” (yay for spell check!), let’s see if I can help you remember the subclasses of the type I agents!

(Also, be sure to check out First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, too, for more mnemonics for the antiarrhythmics!).

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DO Corner: Using OMT on Rotations

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By Sean Martin

With COMLEX now behind you, it is time to start learning some clinical medicine. One area in which many osteopathic students have trouble is using OMM in the hospital. Many students are afraid to ask attendings permission to perform simple techniques. So here are a few tips to help you get the ball rolling.

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