Wards Survival Series: The Avoidable Cycle of Self-Doubt


By Luke Murray

The Avoidable Cycle of Self-Doubt 1“So, Luke, what do you think could be causing her back pain?” the attending asked as I finished stumbling through an HPI presentation of the patient I just saw.

I was frozen. It was the beginning of my third year of medical school, and after being at the bottom of my class since the first anatomy test, I felt certain that this, like most other situations evidenced by the grades I’d gotten in the last 2 years, was not going to end well for me.


Mnemonic Monday: A Fizzy Collage


Check out this great mnemonic collage from Fizzy. Can you guess what each one means?

Fizzy Mnemonic

























Introducing the Wards Survival Series


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


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.


The Trouble with Work-Life Balance in Medicine


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.


Mnemonic Monday: Major Actions of Extraocular Muscles


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.


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


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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