Monday, January 26, 2015

Info on Eastcoast Pre-Med Conferences!!!

If you live on the East Coast, more specifically the Southeast Region there are two upcoming Pre-Med conferences you may be interested in attending, If I come across any other conferences or seminars I will post those as well. Visit the links for additional information by clicking on the name of each event.

UF Medical College Forum with AMSA
Location: University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL
Time: 9am-5pm
Fee: Pre-registration $20: AMSA members in good Standing $15: Late registration $30
When: Jan. 31st, 2015 (right around the corner)

Why you might want to attend?
There will be over 15 Medical Schools in attendance (both MD and DO programs and 1 Caribbean School).

Medical Student Panel: You'll be able to ask them question, gain prospective on their day to day life, the application process

Various information sessions


Pre-SOMA Conference
Location: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carolina Campus, Spartanburg, SC
Time: 9am-5pm
When: Feb. 28th, 2015

Why you might want to attend?
Learn more about OMM and D.O medical programs.

Participants take part in clinical skills workshops.

Various information sessions



Sunday, January 25, 2015

To be or Not to Be?

No, I am not ready to relinquish my dreams of medical school and practicing medicine. However, I am a non-traditional applicant, I am over the 20 something hump, and people ask (and make random unwarranted statements) me more often then I would like:
                         Why aren't you in school yet?
                  When will you start medical school?
How long do you plan to pursue this thing(medical school)?
And the list goes on. For the most part I am not bothered by the questions and comments because I either choose to answer their questions or I simply don't (Or my 3rd option provide a very witty and sarcastic reply). However, whether you're a non-traditional or traditional student, you may wonder when is it time to move on? Of course I have my opinion but I am interested in hearing what others think.

How many times should  person take the MCAT  or apply to medical school before enough is enough?

I met a very nice young physician at a Christmas party a few weeks ago, she is Chief Resident of Surgery and despite her well composed demeanor and current accolades she shared with me that her journey towards medicine was not without obstacles. Last we got together and I shared with her my med school application/interview tales and my MCAT stats and even my frustrations. She shared tons of great advice and she helped me set a few concrete goals for myself. As we concluded our causal meeting she said "Despite your discontent with this or with that, you have to develop tougher skin, because at the end of the day you want something that only the admissions office can provide."

And, while I was definitely inspired after our talk and with my day to day life, and accomplishments. I can't help but wonder, anticipate and be anxious about my future and becoming a physician. Like really what in the world would I do with myself if I didn't become a Doctor? Honestly, I have no clue because I can't see myself doing anything else. A physician that my friend knows, told her that if she wanted to get into medical school and become a physician, than she shouldn't waste time with anything other than PLAN A! Yet, I feel like it would be crazy of me to not have a plan B, C-Z and etc because that's just who I am. I would rather be slightly prepared for the worst but hoping for the best than not prepared for anything at all.  Of course 99% of my alternatives involve taking some type of additional detour but they all lead to medical school. But what would I do if Med School isn't even an option? Should I even contemplate that?

As a mother, I am financially and emotionally responsible for the well being of another individual. A part of me wonders how long I can put the security of my son's future in limbo, while I pursue my life long dream. But then again, I think of how my path is an example of perseverance for him, it's teaching him to never give up on his dreams, let alone himself, and I know that as a physician I will be able to provide him with the best education, environment or other opportunities that I didn't have growing up.

This process is definitely not for the faint at heart and by no means will this be a cat walk, even for those that soar through undergrad/MCAT. I just have to remain faithful and positive because either it's meant to be or its not.

The Rising Doctor

Initially when I decided that I wanted to create a blog, I planned to maintain my anonymity.  I try to be very forthcoming and vocal in my posts and I felt more comfortable and able to speak my mind as a virtual blogger. My thoughts were that I would most likely say “Ta-Daa” here I am, this is me, after I entered into medical school.  And I wanted to remain an “Avatar” for no other reason than, I didn’t want to be vulnerable and completely exposed.  

As I evolve, become exposed to new settings, people and ideas; I am learning that vulnerability is not as scary as it sounds. Whether it’s trying new foods or going to an event or outing alone (and not with the crew) and spontaneously meeting new people,  at some point I decided that  it’s OK to be me, love the skin I’m in and try things out that would normally make me feel a bit nervous.  I definitely don’t suggest diving into the deep end of the pool if you can’t swim because stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a very scary thing, trust me I know but maybe test the water in the shallow end, and as you grow more comfortable and learn to float, progress to deeper water.

So here it goes, not a full biography but a few details for my readers J (feel free to email me if you have any questions)

I am the Rising Doctor and my name is Shan. I am a native of Georgia and I am in my late 20s. I am the mother of a wonderfully smart and active 7 yr old son. I attended both undergrad (HBCU) and graduate school in Georgia. As stated in previous posts, I am a current (and past) medical school applicant, outside of my full-time job as a medical school applicant LOL, I work in Healthcare Administration in a private practice office setting, I enjoy creative writing, medical shadowing, volunteering, youth sports with my son, and networking and I am currently working towards establishing a Non-profit Foundation. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Prejudice Healthcare System

While editing this post I made several changes and started over numerous times before finally deciding on the message I wanted to convey. Initially while reading you may think this is a random rant about our healthcare system but please read the post to its entirety because the conclusion is by far a contrast from the introduction.

The Healthcare system we have now is not one of equality, it is not one of what's fair is fair, or a healthcare system of "What would God do". At times it is a healthcare system of how will I get paid, who will pay the highest and those that can't afford to pay will receive the scraps. I decided to right this post because there have been statements, encounters and actions that I have witnessed, heard and experienced directly and second hand during my clinical exposure and during causal conversation, that would make a "Normal" (Average, traditional) person wonder why in the heck would I ever want to become a doctor.

We have a healthcare system, where some doctors will determine the type of care you receive (as in: if they order an EKG, CT Scan, Allergy test, etc) before they even meet you, merely based upon what type of health insurance you have or lack thereof. There are doctors that will develop preconceived notions about your health, your lifestyle, and your ability to comply with recommendations based solely on your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

We have health insurance companies that decide 4 years of medical school and 3+ years of residency means nothing to them and if they want to reimburse you pennies on the dollar for your time and service then that is perfectly fine and they will not loose an ounce of sleep over it. There are insurance companies, that despite all of the training and experience a physician has, feel the need to override the medical recommendation made by physicians on prescriptions, exams, and referrals, with there own suggestions.

We have a system that allows someone with a nice comfy seat in Congress or in the Senate and even your local government (Governor etc) with more than likely no medical background and no true interest in patient advocacy, to make laws that affect our healthcare delivery system and to decide who has covered, who receives benefits and whose exempt from providing coverage.

In our healthcare system the Pharmaceutical industry is worth BILLIONS, they spends more money to wine and dine healthcare professionals and to market their drugs (millions, YES millions) than they do to actually produce the drugs. Yet, we have people in our county as well as abroad that can't afford their daily BP meds, insulin, antiviral drugs and so on.

We have a healthcare system that has contributed the structure of the medical admission process that exist today. Which puts more emphasis on...... I will rest me case here LOL because I could go on for day with this topic.

My professional and personal encounters have exposed me to good, bad and ugly aspects of our healthcare system. While, appalled at some of the things I have discovered, it has honestly only increased my passion, elevated my drive, and revamped my motivation to become a physician. Outside of the medical statistics that we can read about in journals and articles on policies, healthcare reform, Pharma and more, I have tons of personal stories of my own, that may be small in comparison to another person, or to the world at large but to me they are my motivation.

Every now and then, when I'm feeling a little discouraged about the MCAT, the application cycle or what have you, I think about my personal stories. Such as my granny, she is my buddy, we butt heads and joke around like pals. Despite not having and MD/DO behind my name, I am her Concierge Physician. I am constantly hounding her and my granddad about their health, I have to scold them at times, like their my children about their poor habits, their detrimental choices in meals, explain to them medical terms, dissect their lab results and that's not even half of it. I pray that they will be around to see me walk across the stage, finish residency and practice medicine. Not just to share these memories with me but because I want to be able to use my gift and expertise to help them. I see them struggle daily, they take literally dozens of pills, they suffer from everything imaginable, yet they still manage to help and encourage me. If one day, I could cure every illness they have, then this long journey would be more than worth it.

Despite its dysfunction, there is good in our healthcare system. And, despite our very competitive and at times unbalanced (and bunch of other crap) medical admissions process it produces tons of great medical providers. So as Applicants, Premeds, or Spectators, if you ever get discouraged, just hold on tight to the stories/experiences that led you down this rugged road, because when it gets dark they will definitely light the way for you! And remember no matter how hard life becomes your conclusion may be by far a contrast from your introduction.

*The statements in my post do not represent every physician, every insurance company, every politician, every pharmaceutical company, nor do they represent every medical school.*

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!

Technical difficulties prevented me from posting one last 2014 blog entry, nonetheless I am thankful for a new day and every last 365 days of 2014. I met tons of great people, traveled more than I have ever traveled before, acquired new skills, I started this blog, I interviewed with Medical Schools, I smiled, I cried, I laughed,  I rejoiced and most of all I never lost sight of the things that are most important in my life!

I am not much of a New Year resolution type of person because I set goals for myself periodically throughout the year already. So as apart of my normal routine, I am working on a budget so that I can become more financially stable and save more. A few weeks ago I open a fortune cookie, it contained two fortunes, the quote of interest to me stated that I would move into a new home within the year. I am not a superstitious person because of my faith in God, but this quote mirrored a goal that I have had for quite sometime and due to my future schooling somewhat in limbo right now (not knowing if I remain in state or have to relocate) I had halted my interest in finding a nice home in a great school district for my family but I think now is a great time to prepare myself by clearing out some of my outstanding debt and to work towards building a secure savings nest.

I have taken on  more responsibilities at my new job, which has left little room for shadowing and volunteering. So I plan to look for family oriented volunteer projects to participate in, this will allow me to still volunteer and also introduce my child to a healthy activity as well!

As for medical school, the secondary application process and so forth. I have submitted all but one of my secondaries and I plan to mail it out today. If I am financially able I will submit a few more applications next month. No interview invites yet, I am remaining patience because last year around this time I was in the same position. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Once you've submitted your application, the process is out of your control, you can't changed the grades they view, the scores they see, the personal statement they read, with that being said I just have to trust that everything will work out as it should. To keep my mind at peace and continue to be productive, I have tons of things to work on including getting my non-profit off the ground, this has been a very tedious and time consuming process but as with everything it requires patience.

Thank you for reading my blog, commenting, and so on, there's more to come in 2015!