Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


MSWschnoodle last won the day on December 25 2016

MSWschnoodle had the most liked content!

About MSWschnoodle

  • Rank
    Super Snazzy

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

1,277 profile views
  1. Hey AstrocyteKM! So first off, congratulations on being so proactive in managing your mental health. Regardless of the field you wind up in that will serve you very well! In terms of medicine specifically, I would never tell someone to give up entirely on something that mattered so much to them, but because of the structural issues in medicine there are a few things I would strongly caution you to explore BEFORE heading down the road to medical training. Some of these are considerations for you personally (how to manage call and maintain stability of your health, for instance) but others are very much out of your control (will the college of physician and surgeons in your province of residency refuse your license). Unfortunately many of these issues will not come up until later in your medical training - after you have already invested many many tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars into your training. This is incredibly unfair to learners who make the (very understandable) assumption that if they make it in to medical school and pass medical school that there should not be a problem licensing them as a doctor and that if they received accommodations in medical school that can receive the same accommodations in residency (which is not the case). Medicine has multiple points where you can get derailed or suddenly be denied entry (medical school admission, graduation, residency matching, licensing etc.). Every year there are people who get stuck at these barriers, unable to move forward, and face huge financial, emotional and psychological consequences. Here are some things I would suggest if you are considering going for medicine (some of these have already been suggested above): 1. Contact the admissions office and/or wellness office at your local medical school and find out if there is anyone at the school who would be willing to meet with you and discuss the realities of medical training, the potential challenges that could arise for you and what schools/residency programs can (and cannot) do to accommodate you. Some specific things to discuss would include: 26+ hour call shifts, overall work hours, any mental health monitoring policies in place, additional resources the school can offer, accommodations for exams etc if needed and what the school would do in the event that you had something arise with your health (mental or physical) requiring an extended leave (particularly what would happen if you needed multiple leaves because some schools have limits on this). Talk to them about the grade issue as well to find out what the best options are. 2. Contact your provincial college of physicians and surgeons and ask to talk to someone about any barriers you might face in getting a license to practice medicine for residency or beyond. The college will have monitoring requirements and those can be intrusive and/or costly depending on the province you are in. I would ask specifically how they would manage your licensing if you were to have a relapse during medical training or once you are licensed. If you get wind that they might refuse to license you then I would very much caution you about heading down the path of medical training because without a license you cannot enter residency or practice medicine and you don't want to be 200K in debt and get a letter stating they won't license you. 3. If available in your area, consider shadowing some physicians in fields you might be interested in. Talk to them about what the job is like and what the demands are. Talk to them about the challenges they have in maintaining their mental and physical health. Talk about work-life balance and what you need in your life to maintain balance and stability and ask if this is something attainable in X specialty or not. 4. Talk to your psychiatrist and your family doctor about your goals. They have completed medical training at some point and they (hopefully) know you well (strengths, challenges, talents etc). Explain how important this is to you and ask for their help in seeing if there are ways to problem-solve around the barriers. If you have a therapist it would be worth it to talk to them as well! The road to medicine has a lot of stress and disappointment along with the excitement and rewarding experiences so making a plan and building your skills to manage the emotional experiences you will encounter along the way is an important part of maintaining your health (honestly everybody applying to medicine, regardless of their mental or physical health history, should invest the time to build these skills). 5. Consider your plan B. Anyone and everyone who is interested in medicine should have a solid Plan B that will also make them happy. There are so many truly wonderful and meaningful careers both in healthcare and outside of it. Think about the things that most draw you to medicine (what is it about medicine that aligns with your values or makes you excited about it) and break those things down into components. For me, the opportunity to interact with people every day, the privilege of being trusted with their story, being able to support people in some of the best and worst moments of their lives and helping people achieve their goals are some of the things that make medicine worth it. They are also the things that made me love the career I had prior to medicine. I would have been VERY happy continuing down my previous path if I hadn't gotten in to medicine because both of them align well with my values. Find the alternate careers that align with your values and explore them. You could find something that is more appealing than medicine or if you discover barriers to medicine that make it too risky for you to pursue (only you can decide how much risk you are willing to tolerate) you will have another pathway to explore. I hope the suggestions above are helpful. All the best as you continue to explore your career options going forward!
  2. Nothing about this experience as it is written above is testing "mental fortitude". Mental fortitude does not mean allowing yourself to be actively abused by other people. Any program that compares their residents to "human garbage" needs to take a good long look in the mirror about what the actual goal of medical training is. It is in the best interest of every residency program and every physician in the country to have a physician workforce that is competent, productive, collegial and supportive. That starts with building a culture of learning founded in support and mutual respect at all levels of medical practice. A culture where residents/learners are actively abused and referred to as "human garbage" before they even get into the program doesn't accomplish any of those things... but it will put those residents/medical learners at higher risk of burnout and suicide compared to well supported colleagues. If we are truly as tired as we say we are of seeing doctors and medical learners die by suicide then frankly there is no room for things like that experience above. If we truly believe that physician wellness and preventing burnout are important goals for the profession then there is absolutely no room for education driven by fear and shame. For those that do run in to that kind of experience on the interview tour, I agree with the suggestions above that these things need to be reported - they need to be reported to CaRMs, to Resident Doctors of Canada, to PARO (or PARO equivalent in other provinces) and they especially need to be reported to the college that accredits these programs. The only way the culture of medicine is going to change is if a consistent message is sent from both physicians and our various representative bodies (be they protective, regulatory etc.) that a toxic fear/shame based culture, dehumanizing behaviours and workplace violence have no place in medicine. There are programs who do an excellent job of testing conflict resolution skills and interpersonal skills during interviews - I attended several interviews where these skills were tested and at no point did I feel disrespected or dehumanized. My hope would be that those programs still using the techniques above could reach out to the programs who are testing these skills well for guidance and expertise because regardless of our disciplines we should all have the same goal: Fostering a culture of learning that allows us to showcase our skills and thrive both personally and professionally in the disciplines we have chosen so we can best serve the patients who come to seek our care. To those that had this type of interview experience in any discipline, I am sorry this happened to you. It speaks to how broken the CaRMs system is right now and you do not deserve to be treated like this. You are not the broken part of the system and please do not let any negative experiences you have had during CaRMs convince you otherwise.
  3. The drive from Calgary to Edmonton is totally reasonable for an evening. There is even a convenient halfway stop (Red Deer) to buy some dinner should you be so inclined. :-) If you really loathe the idea of driving (or if you are not confident with winter highway driving) you can technically fly between Calgary and Edmonton but once you take into account the amount of waiting around the airport it really isn't that much of a time saving (unless you want to study for finals or read or binge watch Netflix instead of driving). If you go this route then fly into the city of your first interview, fly to second city in the afternoon/evening and fly back home out of the second city. It would save you 6 hours of driving and the cost of a rental car. You would have to work out the math to see which one makes more financial sense.
  4. Residency has been so much more fun than being a medical student. Truly. I've had a great time so far, even though most of our first year is spent off service. You've got lots to look forward to! :-) Good luck with your CaRMs Match!
  5. Hi Gumballs! I matched to psych last year. It's a wonderful discipline if it is the direction you decide to go with! :-) Figuring this out partway through year 3 is not the worst place to be - psych tends to be an area where quite a few students discover a late interest and programs are pretty familiar with that narrative. Here are a few ideas on what to do to start shaping your psychiatry application: 1. As Bambi suggested, talk to your attending for an LOR and let them know that you have a late interest in psych and want to know how to build your application 2. Plan your electives now. Max out the number of psych electives you are allowed to have and do them in a wide variety of places. Choose your other electives to compliment your back up plan and then if you have any electives left over you can tailor those to compliment your psychiatry application (neurology, developmental disability, geriatrics, palliative care, family medicine, developmental pediatrics... all have excellent tie-ins to psychiatry) 3. Talk to other psychiatrists that you worked with or met while on rotation. See if they have a research project or something happening that you could take a small role in. Not only would it give you something for your CV, it will also likely bring you in contact with more people in the field 4. If there is a good conference in your city related to psychiatry you could consider checking it out if you can get the time away to do so. This isn't going to make a huge difference in your matching but it will give you more exposure to the field and help you cement that this is really want you want to do. 5. Start recording the stories for your personal letters now. Make notes about the stories or interactions that made you say "Yes, psychiatry is 100% for me. This is what I want to do with my life". You'll need them for your letters and your interviews. All the best with the rest of clerkship! If you have any questions about being a psychiatry resident you can feel free to send me a PM. :-)
  6. Yes, MUN psychiatry invited before reference letters last year as well. So did some path programs in various places and I believe one PM&R program did as well..
  7. There are usually a handful in each class at U of C. I've graduated now but I'm in the "mature non-traditional" club. Feel free to PM if you have questions.
  8. I'm not the best example, because I also have a Masters, but I have an honours BA in psych and I just finished medical school. There were a few people in my class who came from psychology and other BA programs, so I don't think it's an issue. If you are really worried then the best person to talk to would be the admissions department at whatever schools you plan to apply to, just to make sure you are able to plan your degree effectively in order to include any pre-requisites etc. EDIT: Also not a University of Ottawa student (but coming to uOttawa for residency!) so again, best to talk to admissions :-)
  9. Can anyone who has gone through this process explain how it works for people starting July 1st? Everything I am finding is showing January 1st and June 30th deadlines. Thanks in advance! :-)
  10. We have a couple 40+ students in our school. Mid 30s is more common. As someone else has pointed out, the cost of having built a life before medicine is that you need to find a way to maintain that life within medicine. That's not impossible but make absolutely certain you are willing to give up what you are going to have to give up to make a go of things in medicine. Medical school and clerkship are tough, but I didn't find they caused a lot of problems for me and my friends. Residency match did. Clerkship is exhausting no matter what age you are, but none of my 35+ medical school friends were unable to meet the demands. The academics of pre clerkship also require work, but it's totally do-able. If you get to the end and get a match in CaRMs that you want then everything is golden. However, if you were to open CaRMs and find out you have to move away from everyone and everything you care about to a city you may or may not be keen on... that can mean very different things to someone in their late 30s/early 40s than it does to someone in their early/mid 20s who doesn't have the same social boat anchors that tend to lock people into living in a certain city. For younger students friend groups are often more fluid and mobile (not all the time, but in general), most will be renting instead of owning a house, most will not have children in the school system, they are less likely to have a partner who has built a longstanding career in their home city etc. If you (and your partner/children/pets/best friends/etc if applicable) are not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice then think long and hard before you do any of this, especially if you are thinking about matching to a specialty. Refusing/walking away from your match contract and calling medicine a $150,000+ financial misadventure becomes more impactful the older you are (planning for retirement etc.). Similarly, the potential of having to take an extended clerkship year (if you limit your applications to stay in your home city and don't match) may also be more problematic for an older student (financial strain on family etc.). Extended clerkship and non-ideal matches are an important consideration for younger students as well, but in my experience older students are more likely to have families that will also be directly impacted. You absolutely CAN do medicine in your 40s, but if you are going to you should really make sure that you are OK with what medicine is going to demand from you. If I was to ask all of the older students I know from different medical schools "would you do this again now that you're at the end" I think most would say yes, but there are some who I suspect would say "maybe not" or "no". Invest the time now to really walk through all the potential outcomes and make sure you are in the yes group.
  11. Cattle Baron is great if you're in the mood for a steak and don't mind spending a few bucks :-) No clue if it's also in Edmonton though. If you like Vietnamese there are SO MANY good Vietnamese places in Calgary. Pho Kim is not too far from the U of C and delicious. There are also a bunch of places in town that made various "Top 100" restaurant lists if you want to get fancier.
  12. You've been criticized a lot in this thread and your response was thoughtful, so I commend you for that. I actually agree with you that you are facing a challenge that is indeed preventing you from having equal access to opportunity. I am disappointed that this is being portrayed in some comments as less of an issue of inequality because it is based on faith. I imagine patients who strictly observe the Sabbath are also facing barriers within the healthcare system due to the restrictions you have posted above (thank you for sharing that btw, as I don't really know much about the Sabbath). I also agree it would be nice if schools could provide some accommodations around this. That being said, this barrier is only going to get more problematic as you move forward in medical training, at least if you are training in the system as it exists now. This has obviously been put forward by others already, but I think it's VERY important for you to carefully consider this issue before attending your interviews: Medicine REQUIRES Saturday and Sunday call from students in a vast majority of programs and, as you have seen, programs have differing amounts of flexibility. It's not every Saturday, but if you strictly observe the Sabbath then it's enough that it's going to be a pretty big challenge for you. If you can get an accommodation through medical school, you may also have trouble with this in residency as most residency programs also require weekend call (even FM residents here get weekend call). At least in my program there is almost no way you could get out of doing at least some weekend call (it's specifically written in our requirements that X amount of call must be on weekend days and not weekday days). This isn't intended to stomp all over your medical school goals. There are obviously physicians of every faith practicing today and some very well may strictly observe the Sabbath. It might be valuable to start reaching out and try to find some of those physicians to talk to them about how they are balancing their religious obligations with medical practice. This is a solution you will want to find BEFORE you shell out a whole bunch of money and time into training only to get derailed at the clerkship or residency level. I hope there is a way around this, and I'm sorry you will have to do much more work than the average student to find a way to stay true to your faith during your training, but I truly wish you the best in doing so.
  13. I'm sure programs are just as thorough in checking their rank lists before they submit them as we are (I went through mine approximately 350 times, lol). At the end of the day, anything is possible I suppose, but TBH if that did happen you are right we would probably never hear about it. No program is going to want to alienate all of their new residents by letting them all know they matched there by accident. There are a lot of places along the way where failures can happen, but it helps that most, if not all, if the parties have a similar goal. Both programs and residents want to ensure there is a good fit and CaRMS wants to keep raking in an offensive amount of money every year by facilitating that process.
  • Create New...