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It’s not until my scrubs started exuding a vaguely chemical scent that I felt like a true medical student.

Cauda equina. Credit: Wikipedia

Life lately has been a whirlwind of activity, and I’m excited to catch you up. We started dissecting our cadavers in anatomy lab. The first day, it took me a while to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells, but once we started diving deeper into really learn the structures – especially nerves – I was engrossed.

I’m also a few weeks into my Initial Clinical Experience (ICE). My site, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is very interdisciplinary. So far, I have had the opportunity to shadow the fluoroscopy nurses and the physician. I’ve been impressed by the wealth of knowledge that both groups have as well as their compassion towards patients. It’s one thing to talk about empathy in “Doctoring” class, but another to observe the patience of a physician explaining a condition several times to a patient. It was also incredible to see the cauda equina in anatomy a week after meeting a patient at PM&R being treated with cauda equina syndrome.

We’ve now finished with our first sequence, “Foundations of Molecular Medicine,” and are in a new course called the “Chief Concern.” We’re learning about cognitive errors and biases that interface with clinical decision making. Given my previous experience with behavioral economics, it’s interesting to see how these thinking errors affect medical decision making! It’s also making me realize how physicians often operate in a realm of uncertainty, doing the best that they can with the limited information that we have. (Sounds like M1s taking an exam too, right?)

At the Big House!

Outside of school, it’s been a busy and fun few weeks, with a run to the cider mill (fall in #PureMichigan), weekly dinners with family, and an upcoming trip to North Carolina. I also made it to the Big House for a Michigan vs. BYU game (31-0)!

Nonie Arora is a third-year medical student at University of Michigan Medical School. She is deeply invested in health policy initiatives and quality improvement research. She can be followed on Twitter @nonie_arora.