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200 Years. Forever Valiant.

This month, I’m working as a Family Medicine sub-I (or sub-intern) on the department’s inpatient service. Essentially a sub-I is supposed to act like an intern, except for the fact that someone else (usually the senior resident) has to sign off all of the orders that I place. I’ve now finished my first week on service and am finally (sort of) getting the hang of it. At the very least, I’m starting to remember where things are in MiChart (UM’s electronic medical record). With spending good chunks of my Internal Medicine and Psych rotations at other hospitals, it’s been a little while since I routinely pre-rounded and put in orders.

I’m enjoying my time here and really enjoy working with the team. It’s a smaller group than some: the attending, the senior resident, the family medicine inter, the psych intern, and me. It’s really great to feel like these are my patients instead of the intern’s patients that I’m helping with. And, it further confirms my desire to pursue family medicine because of the broad spectrum of clinical conundrums it entails and the amazing people you meet.

Our day starts at 7 a.m. in the hospital cafeteria where we meet with the night resident for signout to learn what events transpired overnight for our patients and to hear about any new people admitted. Rounds usually begin around 9 a.m. In between we go see our patients and formulate preliminary treatment plans for the day. During rounds, we present our patients to the team and attending, and make modifications to the plan. After rounds, we return to our team room and put in the orders allowing those plans to come to fruition. Our team admits new patients every day, so the day team admits until 5:30 p.m. and signs out to the night resident at 7 p.m.

This month also marks the kickoff of certain events for the U-M bicentennial. Yes, the University of Michigan turns 200 this year. On my own birthday a couple of Saturdays ago, I was lucky to be released from clinical duties early enough to attend the True Blue concert, celebrating notable achievements over the past two years. (While 7 p.m. is the theoretical time we are off duty, you stay until your work is done, which can sometimes be a bit later.) So, I was thrilled to be released in time to attend the concert with my family. My brother, as part of the Michigan Men’s Glee Club, was honored to perform. Other notable appearances were Darren Criss, Andrea Joyce, Jim Harbaugh, and the entire Michigan Marching Band on stage at once for “Varsity and the Victors.” Go Blue!

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.

CONGRATULATIONS!!

Yesterday was a momentous day in the lives of my original* classmates, one that they anxiously awaited with anticipation. What event was this? Match Day, where soon-to-be doctors learn where a computer program has matched them to train for the next several years of their life (thankfully, most students at Michigan get one of their top choices, but nevertheless we bow down to our robot overlords). Coincidentally this year, the third Friday in March fell on St. Patrick’s Day, further confirming what we already knew – the M4s would soon be consuming a fair amount of “happiness.”

Michigan holds its annual Match Day celebration at the North Campus Research Complex, replete with maize and blue balloons (including a grid replicating our famous block M). Students and families must wait until noon, when the envelopes with their futures inside can finally be opened. The celebration begins at 11:30 with opening remarks by Dean Raj, announcement of student awards and class-elected speaker, and the class video. This year’s video was amazing and hilarious, including attempts at singing by some of the students, among other photos and videos starring our class.

And then, it was time to open the envelopes. There was a lot of screaming actually, although the vast majority of it sounded happy. M4s at the celebration already know they have matched – they received a yes/no email on Monday so they could scramble (a.k.a. use the SOAP process) to find a residency position if needed. Nearly 99% of Michigan M4s matched in the initial match this year. After the initial celebration with their families, M4s started racing around the room, finding their friends and asking “Where are you going? I’m going to ____.”

At 12:30 p.m., Dean Raj called everyone back to their seats so that a certain few brave (very, very brave) individuals could finally open their envelopes. Why hadn’t they been opened yet? These students had elected to open their envelopes on stage and announce where they are headed in front of the room. May the odds be ever in your favor. After everyone had opened their envelopes, students also had the option to come up to the stage and announce where they were going. Dean Raj and other faculty announced the students in turn, interspersing names with the score of the Michigan-Oklahoma State basketball game. Jokingly, Dean Raj promised that if Michigan basketball was playing in the NCAA tournament during Match Day again, it will be shown on the big screen.

I’m thrilled that I was allowed to witness this momentous achievement in my friends’ lives. It was certainly bittersweet, realizing that so many are moving away from here and wishing I could join in their merriment. Next year, it will be my turn. For now, I’ll just continue giving a flurry of hugs to all of my graduating friends. CONGRATULATIONS!

*I matriculated with these students in August 2013 and completed my first 2.25 years of medical school with them. I left the class to complete a master’s in bioinformatics and rejoined the class below me.

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.

Almost M4s

It’s hard to believe that we now have less than two weeks before we finish our last M3 required rotation. On one hand, it seemed like that the clerkships have been flying by, but it’s also hard to imagine a time without the clinical knowledge I have amassed. Nevertheless, I’m very happy to be coming to the end of my M3 year. I have learned and grown so much, but I am looking forward to greater flexibility in my schedule and electives during M4 year.

March and April are still technically part of M3 year, where we partake in career electives before officially being considered M4s. We assembled our schedule for that back in November/December; now we’re working on scheduling the rest of our M4 year. Our current system allows us to select one class at a time for your top two choices in a similar system to the NFL draft. Then, after everyone has selected each of those individually, there will be an open enrollment period for choosing the remainder of our schedule. Picking our new classes definitely makes us excited (and a little apprehensive) about the year ahead. That means it’s time to start getting ready to apply for residency (*shudders*).

Right now, we’re still in the transition between curricula, so our system for core clerkships/M4 electives will not apply to future classes. The core clerkships will transition to M2 year, freeing up more time for career electives and M4 experiences as part of the Branches. I’m excited for the chance to have more elective time, especially since I plan to apply in Family Medicine. With my upcoming schedule, I will hopefully have time to explore complimentary fields that will prove valuable in my future practice. Like Dermatology, where I can learn to recognize the scary rashes vs the not-so-scary rashes and how to best manage them.

After our last shelf of M3 year at the end of next week, we’ll have two weeks of Intersession, including taking the M4 CCA (Comprehensive Clinical Assessment), UMMS’s version of USMLE Step 2 CS.

Around this time, the current M2s will also be entering the wards for the first time, beginning their “M3” core rotations. It’s definitely quite a ride, but an incredibly enjoyable one. Good luck to them!

Earlier this season, the Michigan Marching Band performed on the court during halftime at a Michigan Men’s Basketball game. Including the drum major performing a back bend!

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.

Hurray for 2017!

Well, 2016 is finally over! It was definitely a tumultuous year, with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows (and I’m not just talking about Michigan Football). I think everyone had a collective sigh of relief when the clock finally ticked over to 2017 with hopes for a much better year.

For me, 2016 was similarly a time of upheaval. I earned a master’s in bioinformatics and returned to third-year core rotations. Working with patients and helping them heal have been thoroughly enjoyable experiences, but I’m very grateful for the three-week break during the holidays. It was wonderful to sleep more (especially coming off labor & delivery nights…), spend time with family, complete the miscellaneous tasks that build up when busy, catch up on favorite TV shows, and, in general, do nothing. It was amazing.

The best part – I finally managed to finish embroidering and constructing my grandma’s Christmas present, a snowglobe pillow. I had been planning its creation since September but didn’t get around to actually embroidering it until mid-December. Thankfully, I managed to finish it with time to spare.

My time on OB/GYN is dwindling with only a week of clinical duties left before the shelf when we return. I have enjoyed my time here, especially the opportunity to see mainly young, healthy women without the laundry list of comorbidities that was standard on Internal Medicine. Next up, I’ll be on Psychiatry before we begin M4 electives in March and April. M3 year seems like it is flying by now!

Happy 2017, everyone! May your New Year’s resolutions last more than two days, and may you be happy and healthy in the coming year!

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.

Feeling Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It’s crazy to think that we’re already most of the way through November; July doesn’t seem like that long ago…

In the tradition of this great holiday, I thought I’d share the things for which I am most grateful this year:

  • My family: I grew up not too far from Ann Arbor, so my home is only a quick drive when I need to escape a bit. Mostly in terms of escaping the stress of M3 (and the constant studying) and reconnecting with the sunshine (something that is occasionally lacking in the hospital, especially with the recent advent of Daylight Savings Time. Instead, we enjoy the sunrise while in our team rooms, as in this one from the VA). But the best part is being able to relax with my family as we go on walks, shop, or even just watch TV.
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  • My health: this is always something I am grateful for, but working in the hospital has a tendency to make minor aches rather, well, minor. I’m currently recovering from a cold and am amazed at how even that brief disturbance can throw off my usual balance. It certainly makes you appreciate how out of sorts our patients and their families must feel.
  • My happiness: M3 year can have a rather negative perception when you consider the long hours, the struggle to become competent, and the never-ending amount of studying to be done. But, nevertheless, I have loved this past year because I enjoy helping my patients. Yes, the hours are long and I never get as much studying in as I’d like, but I can see the impact I’m having on my patients, and I can also see how far I’ve come since starting on the wards. The vast majority of the time, I’m loving my time in the hospital and in the clinics, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Furthermore, I’m learning how to be more efficient with my “free” time and realize what outside activities are most enjoyable (such as running, embroidery, and writing – I still have over-commitment issues as you might guess)
  • This past week off: Has been glorious. Thank you, UMMS curriculum people! This year marks the first time the M3s have been given the entire week of Thanksgiving off and it has been so incredibly beneficial in terms of recharging my (metaphorical) batteries and accomplishing some of the random side projects that have accumulated (see previous statement about over-committing to things). Plus, there’s only three weeks between now and our winter break so we are hitting the home stretch!

Despite being on Internal Medicine, I was still able to attend the annual Halloween Concert in Hill Auditorium. This year’s performance featured some special guests with an…interesting…set of instruments. Playing the vacuum, (from left to right at the front of the stage) we had Dean of the Music School Aaron Dworkin, UM softball coach Carol Hutchins, UMS conductor Kenneth Kiesler, and UM marching band director John Pasquale (who took a selfie while running the vacuum on stage).

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Well, now that I’ve written this all down, the turkey has had a chance to digest, which means: It’s time for Pie! Enjoy!

 

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.