Kevin’s Blog


March 22, 2014

Yes… You Get a Spring Break in Medical School

So it has been quite some time since I last blogged. To be honest, I am not even sure what I blogged about last time. That is how fast time seems to be going in medical school. It seems like just yesterday I was learning biochemistry but now I only have 3 classes left in my second year!

I’m going to assume I updated sometime in December so I will fill you in on what has happened since then. Our first course of this semester was Cardiovascular. When my classmates and I first saw the size of the note pack for this course we were a little intimidated (it’s also the first time I had to use two 2.5-inch binders to hold the entire thing and it still barely fit). This is the longest of the second semester courses coming in at four weeks. You will learn a lot including how to read ECGs. I thought that was really cool because it is something I have always wanted to learn. There is a great book by Dale Dubin that teaches ECGs at a very basic level that anyone can understand. Look into it if you are interested. Don’t look into Dale Dubin’s past, however, because you might not like what you see.

Next up was Respiratory, a three-week course. Nothing much to say here. As always, a lot of information was learned in a short amount of time.

Renal is the course that we just finished. It was about three weeks long and the last week was spent reviewing with practice questions. This course is tough. I never knew the kidneys did so much but I now have a greater appreciation for them.

So here I am with 2 days of my spring break left (yes…you get a spring break in medical school) and it seems like I didn’t even have a break to begin with. It went by way too fast but I’m ready to finish up second year. Three two-week courses and the USMLE Step 1 exam stand between me and third year. I apologize in advance, but I know I will not be posting until after Step 1. Sorry to any of my fans out there.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what second year at the Boonshoft School of Medicine is like and doesn’t scare you from applying. If you have any questions that are not answered here or if you are hesitant to apply because you don’t think you can do it please send me an email and I will be happy to answer your questions and encourage you to pursue your dreams. See you all after Step 1!


December 21, 2013

Break Is Here!

Let me begin by saying that I apologize for not posting in so long. The last few months have been intense. We have had several two-week courses where the final exam in that course was our entire grade. Yes, you read that correctly. I said two weeks. I have food in my refrigerator that has been around longer than some of these classes.  Time sure has gone by quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into my apartment the weekend before my first class at Wright State.

Without a doubt it was a difficult time and second year is much harder than first year. However, a recent conversation I overheard on one of my flights to see my wife really got me to appreciate the fact that I am pursuing my dream of becoming a physician.

The conversation between two girls about my age went a little something like this:

Girl 1: Oh what do you do in (city)?

Girl 2: I’m in nursing school.

Girl 1: Oh that’s awesome. Why did you choose to go to nursing school?

Girl 2: Well, I thought about going to medical school but I did not want to go to school for that long.

Let’s stop here. It is well known that medical school requires a lot of extra schooling. In fact, you will probably be learning throughout your entire life as a physician (unfortunately I cannot speak from experience on this yet so ask me again in 50 years). And trust me, while you are taking exams every 2 weeks, trying to have a social life, and just trying to be involved in extracurricular activities it may seem that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, I can assure you there is.

Looking back at myself I knew nothing about Rocky Mountain spotted fever or how Imatinib works. I entered medical school with a relatively clean slate ready to absorb whatever knowledge came my way. Here I am 1.5 years later and I am astonished at all of the things I have learned. I overheard one of our professors mentioning how many new words we have learned since beginning medical school (it is somewhere in the 1000s) and I was astonished. It seemed impossible in the beginning but now I can have everyday conversations about how Imatinib blocks a receptor tyrosine kinase. That sounded a lot more awesome in my head but you get the idea.

My advice to anyone (including this girl if I would have met her in time) is to not let time factor into your decision to come to medical school. As a medical student you will constantly be experiencing delayed gratification, but if you truly love the things you are learning (as many of my classmates and I do) it will all work out in the end. There may be times you feel like giving up (totally normal) but the key is that you and all of your classmates are in this together. If you have any questions about what medical school life is like or need some encouragement because you don’t know how you will ever be able to make it through all the things I describe in this blog please do not hesitate to email me at bree.2@wright.edu. Happy holidays!


September 24, 2013

Creating the Wright Physician

There was an article published on The Opinion Pages of the New York Times recently entitled “Medicine’s Search for Meaning.” Normally I’m not a huge fan of reading online articles but this one grabbed my attention because the Boonshoft School of Medicine was in it. Who else was in this article you ask? Have you ever heard of Harvard? Yes, that Harvard.

Last year as a first year medical student I took a voluntary course called Healer’s Art. I had heard from people who took it the year before that it was a course about sharing your feelings with others and talking about the difficult aspects of being a doctor. I’m not a person to talk about my feelings often, but all my friends were taking the course so I thought I would give it a shot. As it turns out, there was much more to it than that.

The article says, “Great doctors don’t just diagnose diseases, prescribe medications and treat patients; they bring the full spectrum of their human capabilities to the compassionate care of others.” A powerful statement when you think about it. As physicians we are so much more than a scientist. In healer’s art we learned about treating our patients with compassion and being able to relate to them through a concept of a wounded healer. I’m sure many of us have been to a physician where we just felt like a number or a science project. I’m sure I don’t need to ask if you returned.

On the other hand there are many doctors who sit down and talk to their patients as human beings. They ask questions that other doctors wouldn’t just because it has nothing to do with diabetes. They introduce themselves as John Smith not as Dr. Smith. They see their patient as an equal, not as a customer.

Taking this class has allowed me to see good and bad examples of the previous statement from the Times. I’ve shadowed physicians who don’t always see their patients (they let their assistants see them unless it is a new patient) and I’ve shadowed physicians who must see every patient and share stories about recent fishing trips. I’ve met doctors who volunteer their time to treat a patient outside of their normal 9am-5pm schedules. I’ve also seen physicians who watched the clock ticking at 4:55pm and headed out the door at 5pm on the dot.

Healer’s Art is a great step towards creating a more compassionate and caring physician. The class is offered to first year students here at Wright State. However, there are many schools that do not offer the course. I remember something our Associate Dean Dr. Gary Leroy said the first day of orientation at Wright State. It was something along the lines of “Our students may not average as high as other schools on the boards, but I guarantee you one thing. We outcompete other schools when it comes to real life experiences in the clinic.” I am not bashing other schools and neither was he. I think the point is that there is much more to being a physician than being able to recite Virchow’s triad.


August 11, 2013

Research, Shadowing, and Marriage, OH MY!

So second year has started and I figured I should write something before I no longer have the time to do so. That is a joke…I think.

The summer between first and second year is a time when people do a variety of things. Some do research while others do shadowing. Still, others do more personal things like getting married. I did all three. Was it a busy summer? Of course. Was it worth it? Definitely.

I used to work at the Center for Integrative Research on Cardiovascular Aging in Milwaukee before going to medical school. Since my wife was in Milwaukee this summer and she was very adamant (as was I) about spending it together I decided to check out the possibility of working with them again. They welcomed me with open arms and gave me a short project to do involving amyloid and atrial fibrillation. Seeing as how I am interested in cardiothoracic surgery I felt like this would be a very worthwhile experience.

I was also fortunate enough to take part in a program called AHEC. Basically, I worked with family medicine residents and physicians in Milwaukee. I interviewed patients and performed basic physical exams. I even diagnosed a pneumonia! As a medical student you are allowed to get excited when you tell someone they have pneumonia and you are correct. Just don’t show this excitement in front of the patient. This was a great experience and it really allowed me to see what it is like to be a family practice physician. I had always wanted to go into surgery so I thought I would use this as an opportunity to explore other fields. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the program but I cannot see myself doing that every single day. I need to be using my hands more.

Many of you might be asking if it is difficult to plan a wedding while in medical school. You bet your sweet bippy it is (if you come to Wright State you will get that reference). However, it was all worth it in the end. I would like to thank my wife for putting up with my countless hours of studying while she was looking for invitations or making decorations. If you want to get married during medical school it is definitely possible with the help of a wonderful fiancé!

As you can see I had a very busy summer. Second year started two weeks ago and we have two exams next week. If you don’t hear from me in a while don’t worry. I probably haven’t died. I’m just consumed by the experience that is second year!


May 5, 2013

There Is More to Medical School Than Studying

I apologize in advance for such a short entry but a lot has happened since I last updated my blog. I could go on and on about the happenings at Wright State but I will give you a couple of examples. While sitting here reminiscing I am reminded that right now I am four weeks away from being done with my first year in medical school. Where did the time go? Sure, a lot of it was spent studying but there were so many more things that went on this year.

The Boonshoft School of Medicine Talent Show took place a few weeks ago. It was such a fun event and I recommend going next year if you are an incoming student. You can check out all the acts and more here: http://bit.ly/10Lwr1R

The intramural softball team that I participated in wrapped up its season. Intramurals are such a fun way to relieve the daily stress of studying. If you are interested in flag football, soccer, basketball, softball, or even water polo I recommend you come to Wright State! Be warned though, my class is quite athletic so you will probably end up getting second place to us in any sport you try to participate in.

The research symposium hosted over 50 posters of students in our medical school who are doing research! Topics ranged from academic medicine to basic science research. Prizes were awarded for the top posters in each category. This was a great way to meet faculty as well since many of them served as judges for the event. There are a ton of research opportunities here at Wright State. If you are interested in research you will easily be able to find someone to work with or you can even start your own project!

These are just a few of the many stress-relieving activities that have happened since I last posted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or any of the other bloggers. At the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine there is more to medical school than studying!


March 20, 2013

How to Maintain Your Sanity

So a lot has happened since I last wrote a blog over a month ago. I’ve gone to tons of club meetings (who doesn’t enjoy free food?), completed CaTOS, and even learned first-hand why it is important to warm a stethoscope before placing it on a patient’s chest or abdomen. As I sit here on spring break (yes, you get a spring break in medical school) watching college basketball, I find it is a good time to reflect and share my thoughts with you. Apologies in advance if there are any grammatical errors but I have not used my brain since my CaTOS final 5 days ago.

One piece of advice I would give to anyone entering medical school is to make time for yourself to continue to do the things you love to do. If you are someone who doesn’t normally study non-stop all day do not change that just because you are in medical school. Don’t get me wrong. You will probably have to study much more in medical school than you did during undergrad but that does not mean you cannot have a life. If you see your classmates studying all day at school it might be a little intimidating. I know it was for me. What you need to remember, though, is that everyone learns differently. For me, that means studying but never missing an episode of the Walking Dead or Dexter on Sunday evenings.

You may also think that you are alone and the only one who has fears about the upcoming exam over 1,400 pages of notes. I assure you that EVERYONE feels that way. If you are accepted to Wright State you will have the opportunity to take a class called Healer’s Art. The class meets in small groups once a week for six weeks. You will talk to your classmates about some very deep stuff. I used to think everyone else was so confident with their studies before I took this class. However, I learned I was not alone and made some friends in the process.

The final piece of advice I have for you is to go to as many club meetings as you can. You do not have to be president of seven organizations, have three research projects going on, and work a part-time job while in medical school. That is not the point I am trying to make. What I am saying is that you should go to these meetings to open up your eyes to new fields you may not have had an interest in before (or to change your mind about the ones you WERE interested in). There are organizations for every specialty and attending is also a great way to meet faculty. If that is not enough incentive for you, these meetings usually occur around dinnertime and have free food such as Chipotle and pizza.

I know my blog can be comical at times (at least I hope) but these points of advice should be taken seriously. You are going to feel like you are going insane sometimes. However, all of these things should help you maintain your sanity when you just want to give up looking at the difference between simple columnar ciliated versus simple columnar non-ciliated epithelium at two in the morning.


February 20, 2013

Interested in Coming to Wright State?

So you are interested in coming to Wright State for medical school? Either that or you are one of my family members reading this blog for proof that I am actually doing something productive. Whichever the case may be, let me start by saying that I have never blogged before so I am not really sure where to go from here. I might ramble on about things unrelated to school. Some things you might find funny, others you may not. Regardless, I will try my best to give you a mental image of what life has been like for my classmates and I since starting medical school (with the hopes of not scaring you away). If you have any questions about anything (medical school, life, why we drive on parkways and park on driveways) feel free to email me at bree.2@wright.edu.

Medical school started with Human Development. A two week course devoted to…human development. The exam for this class will be the only time you have to write an essay. Nothing too serious so don’t freak out if you are not an English major. I assure you most of my classmates are not (although some are). Go to class and you will be fine. Next comes anatomy.

During Human Structure you can expect to spend late nights in the cadaver lab with your classmates trying to find the inferior mesenteric artery or learning the brachial plexus. There will come a point (usually after about 3 hours in the lab) when everything that is said becomes “humerus.” See what I did there? That is when it’s time to go home for the night.

Your next class is MBM or the Molecular Basis of Medicine. You are going to have several professors for this class but the notes are a great supplement for the lectures. If you want to shadow, take guitar lessons, learn to cook, or build a rocket ship, do it during MBM. You will have more free time during MBM than in any other course as a first year.

When the New Year comes you will start CaTOS, which is referred to as Cells, Tissues, and Organ Systems NOT Cells and Tissues, Organ Systems. I guess CTaOS didn’t have the same ring to it. You will put in a lot of time during this course but I feel like it is the most rewarding course we have taken so far. You are going to be amazed at how much you will learn in this class. I mean how cool is it to be able to look at a tissue section under a microscope and recite approximately 20 facts about said tissue?

When I decided to come to Wright State one of the main reasons was because of the atmosphere. All the other schools I had interviewed at seemed so competitive. Wright State was the complete opposite. Your classmates and the faculty definitely care about your success. If you aren’t getting something then anyone will help you out. If you just want someone to cry with after a week of non-stop studying I’m sure someone would oblige you as well.

That’s all I have for now. Once again feel free to email me and I will try to come up with a witty (but serious) response to your question.