Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Madness

Loan practicing her suture skills.
Like our last lesson on knot tying, Jon led the class again. This time, we all harvested our suturing skills while building upon our knot tying skills. We learned how to do a simple interrupted suture to a running suture. Using foam pads, we mainly got went through the motions. It may not have been the best indicator of whether or not our sutures would hold up. Everyone has to start somewhere. And there's no way of harvesting these skills without having to start from the ground up. Since I love working with my hands, I was as content as could be. I wasn't the best at suturing, but I gradually got the hang of it as Jon, Jake, and Mary walked around the classroom. Having them critique me is always an added bonus when doing these kinds of activities.

After spending two hours on suturing, Pathologist Dr. Johnson came and gave us a lecture on cancer. She'll actually be speaking on three different occasions, with two today, and the last lecture tomorrow. As an introduction to cancer, we learned about the basics of the genetic disease and its effects. In the United States alone, one in four men are likely to get cancer while two in three women are likely to get cancer. While there is a golden period when individuals are less likely to be hit by cancer, the disease manages to make its way to the top of the list. Obesity tends to be a risk factor on most of the leading causes of deaths. Because of our high fat, high carbohydrate, low fiber diet, it's no wonder that why our Western diet leads to severe health complications.

For the first hour of class, Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dean Zic came to clear up several myths on the medical school admission process. Some of what he had to say was easily transferrable to applying for undergraduate schools. Like every guest speaker who has come by to lecture us, I deeply appreciated Dean Zic for making his way out. He shed a different aspect of medical school dealing with the admissions process. Everyone who hopes to study to practice being a doctor has to first get accepted to medical school. 

Like undergraduate school, medical schools like to look for well rounded individuals. According to Dean Zic, one of their first year students majored in piano performance and somehow made their way to study at Vanderbilt for medicine. Like my band director has said countless times, there's a connection between music and science. With that being said, there's no need to major in something science oriented for undergraduate school. Like Vanderbilt University, schools accept students of all different backgrounds. In addition, a high GPA alone won't get you into medical school. Experience from service, leadership, research, extracurricular activities, and medical school are key to the overall application as well. Similar to the SAT, MCATs are also used to enhance an application. However, they're not the best predictor  of an individual's medical school performance. 

What I found most interesting was when Dean Zic mentioned how the AAMC predicted a severe shortage of doctors to take care of the aging population. And instead of raising their number of students to accept, Vanderbilt will lower their class size from 100 to 88 students. He stressed the importance of reading your prospective school's mission statement. As their mission statement, Vanderbilt hopes to improve human health. One aspect Vanderbilt hopes to fulfill their statement is by preparing their students for worldwide leadership. Instead of practicing pediatrics in a suburb, they hope for their students to practice to become a leader on a community level and possibly on the national level. As one of the top universities in the nation, Vanderbilt continually raises the bar and pushes its students to think and act globally. And when it came down to projecting the number of available spots to do so, their number of spots came down to 88 students per class. Because of Dean Zic, I plan on looking at my possible colleges' mission statements. 

Later, we walked across the hall for the cancer organ recital. Pathologist Dr. Coogan showed us all kinds of organs to look and touch. From kidneys to colons, I saw the difference between normal and cancerous organs. It was just as exciting as the time we saw the different kinds of hearts. I couldn't believe what my eyes were witnessing for an hour. Coming back to the classroom, we were greeted by Dr. Johnson for our lecture on breast cancer. Three quarters of women who develop breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors other than their gender. There's no single type of female who isn't at risk. However, breast cancer is treatable and manageable thanks to medical advances. 

The wonders of medicine is what bring balance to the depressing aspects of being a doctor. These past couple weeks have given me a wealth of knowledge that's I can't imagine being without. Med School 101 has covered all kinds of aspects of medicine and medical school without having set foot in undergraduate school. After today's agenda, there's no telling what tomorrow's schedule will bring!

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