Wards Survival Series: Give Your Presentation Backwards


By Luke Murray

The family medicine attending was getting impatient. Actually, everyone on the team was getting annoyed.

Under pressure, I just talked faster, “The pain doesn’t radiate, isn’t made better or worse by anything…” I wasn’t even halfway through the presentation, but I knew it was taking too long. What the heck do they want from me? I’m just following directions, right?


Mnemonic Monday: Hot Fudge Sundaes – Fuel your brain and remember your muscles!


ice cream sundaeBy Molly Lewis

I don’t know many people who don’t like ice cream, but I do know quite a few who aren’t so fond of anatomy. Upper and lower extremity anatomy can be especially hard to remember, with lots of muscles grouped into lots of compartments.

Here are a couple of mnemonics to help you remember the muscles of the posterior forearm (PS: all of these muscles are innervated by the radial nerve, or one of its branches):


Wards Survival Series: Developing your Assessment & Differential Diagnosis


wards4thEditionBy Walter Wiggins

One of the major skills you’ll be expected to develop over the course of your 3rd year of medical school is the ability to formulate an assessment and differential diagnosis (DDx).

During the first couple of months, no one will expect much from your assessment and DDx. If you miss the actual diagnosis or include some obscure things on your DDx that aren’t really plausible or likely for the diagnosis, don’t worry…you’ll get better with practice. Just focus on basic techniques for developing an initial DDx, then prioritize your prime suspects by what is most likely given the patient’s demographics, history, and presentation.

Remember: atypical presentations of common things are way more common than typical (or atypical) presentations of uncommon things.


Mnemonic Monday: Watch it Grow! Cancer Metastisis


By Molly Lewis

Cancer- the big “C” word that no patient wants to hear. What could be worse? The big M word: Metastasis! Cancer can start in the kidneys and spread to the bone, start in the colon and spread to the brain, start in the pancreas and spread to the liver, etc, etc, etc.

When you find metastatic lesions in a patient’s bone, brain, or liver, where should you look first to find the primary tumor? Here are a few mnemonics to help you remember what are the most common sources based on the site of the mets…


Surviving Your Surgery Rotation


wards4thEditionBy Molly Lewis

Sean gave some great tips in his previous post, A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure – Surviving Your Surgery Rotation. Follow his advice, and you will be well on your way to success on your surgery rotation. I’ve got some tips and tricks to add to help you survive your surgery rotation.


Wards Survival Series: A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure – Surviving Your Surgery Rotation


wards4thEditionBy Sean Martin

Surgery rotations can be intimidating. In my experience (six months), the myth of surgery has grown from a decades-long game of “whisper down the alley” into something that scares many students and discourages them from going into the specialty. Legends of surgeons throwing instruments, residents trying to make students cry, scrub nurses screaming, and weeks without sleep have grown to rival the legend of Paul Bunion. Most of the stories are not true, except the sleep thing…that one is all too real.

My goal in this post is to review a few quick tips to help you look like a rock star on your surgery rotation.


Audition Rotation: What are they? How do I do well?


By Sean Martin

One of the biggest differences between applying for osteopathic residencies compared to allopathic residencies is doing an audition rotation. I was recently on a rotation where the program director told me they had not ranked anyone who hadn’t rotated with them in ten years. Audition rotations allow a program to see if you fit into their system. They also allow you the chance to prove you know your stuff. But they can also sink you in a matter of hours. In the osteopathic world, audition rotations are a must, and the first half of your fourth year is going to be filled with high stress rotations.

This post is dedicated to how to schedule your rotations and how to succeed at them.


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