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Our 10 most popular posts of 2019

From artificial intelligence, to climate change, to burrito-based economic models, we covered everything that mattered at the end of the decade.

Another year has come and gone. It was a big one for us here at onboardMD: we launched our new mobile app, introduced some exciting new tools, and continued to connect with – and learn from – med students like you. Odds are it was a big year for you, too. No matter where you are in your medical journey, the new year will bring all sort of new challenges, new questions, and new opportunities—and in 2020 we’ll be right there alongside you, bringing insights and information that will help you navigate the sometimes stressful, occasionally confusing, but singularly rewarding world of med school.

As we look to the future, let’s take a quick look behind at the stories you found most interesting in 2019.

10. Making the Transition from Med Student to Resident

In this episode of the MD Vitals podcast, Morgan discusses transitioning from med school to residency. It’s an intense shift that accompanies a wide range of emotions—and a slight fear of the unknown. Listen now.

9. Q&A: Dr. Ian Auld of the Calgary Flames

“I’ve been with the Calgary Flames four years now, and, during that time, have come to understand the patterns of a day, month, and season, and can plan around them. For home games, I spend mornings in my outpatient clinic, take a break in the afternoon, then arrive at the Saddledome around 5:30pm for pre-game preparations. I check in with active players to see if they need anything, and check on the guys who are injured and sitting out. I’m there near the bench to deal with anything that might happen during the game. The National Hockey League’s policy is that the home-team physician takes care of all the athletes—that means, if anything happens to an opposing team’s player, we take care of them.” Read the full Q&A.

8. The Science of Music for Med Students

Our mental response to beats and melodies is remarkable. There’s a reason they play gentle Tibetan chanting at the spa, mellow jazz at the dentist’s office, and crank those thumping trance beats during your indoor cycling class. And there are many good reasons you should listen to music while you study, too. Research has shown that certain types of music can actually help you learn and retain information better. So, how can you leverage the power of music to keep your brain sharp, crush your exams, and maintain a little sanity as you navigate your way through med school? Read the full article.

7. The Hidden Curriculum of Medicine

When you are in third and fourth year of most four-year medical school programs (or second and third year in a three-year program), you enter what is known as clerkship. Essentially, you are working in a hospital in a specific specialty in order to gain more skills in an actual medical setting as opposed to an academic one. When you are a clerk you work long hours and have a lot of responsibilities. You are also at the bottom of the “pecking order”, so to speak. You are there to learn, so you are perceived as a burden to others, and as a result, you need to try to make everyone else’s life easier in order to leave a positive impression. Read the full article.

6. Artificial Intelligence

However you want to define it, machine-learning algorithms will very likely redefine the way medicine is practiced over the next few decades. As AI becomes more prevalent in clinics and hospitals, certain pressures will be lifted from physicians—most likely, in the near term, the burden of memorization of empirical information. With that, however, a doctor’s ability to clearly communicate this information to the patients they are treating will become vital. What is traditionally known as “bedside manner” is likely to become an even more essential trait in medical professionals, and an aptitude for creative problem-solving – specifically, how to apply that knowledge in the most effective way – will be one of the hallmarks of an effective physician. Read the full article.

5. Q&A: CBC’s Dr. Brian Goldman

“The most important piece of advice I can give: if you have a tendency to blame yourself for mistakes, if you’re a perfectionist and have a hard time meeting your own high standards—give yourself a break. If you want to be kind to others, be kind to yourself. If you want to empathize with others, the first person you have to empathize with is yourself. Treating yourself as a vessel filled up with good stuff to give to other people is a recipe for burnout. What you actually need is a recipe for continuous regeneration—and you can only achieve that by taking care of yourself, forgiving yourself for mistakes, and treating yourself well. That should be the golden rule of medicine: if you don’t nurture yourself, you can’t nurture others.” Read Part One and Part Two.

4. Tips: Start Your First Year of Med School Right

Yes, you probably have some long days in the lab and nights in the library ahead, but as the assignments begin to roll in and the deadlines pile up, it’s important to take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being. That will help you to navigate your first year successfully and to build a productive and fulfilling career as a physician in the years to come. Read the full article.

3. How to conquer imposter syndrome in medical school and beyond

While imposter syndrome can affect professionals in just about any industry, those in medicine could be particularly susceptible to it, perhaps because the necessity to excel as a physician is literally seen as a matter of life and death. According to a 2018 Canadian study, imposter syndrome is an “inaccurate self-assessment” that becomes a problem when it begins to affect physicians’ receptivity to real feedback. Even if a physician is completely qualified and performing well, ill-founded self-doubt can de-motivate them and hamper their productivity. Read the full article.

2. Why Climate Change Matters

When we talk about climate change, it’s often in the context of the environment; how global warming is affecting the atmosphere, how pollution is affecting the landscape. But the toll that these changes are taking on human health across the world is just as malignant. Because of course it is: we live in these landscapes, we breathe this atmosphere. So, how should future physicians prepare themselves to address the health issues that climate change brings? And how can med schools help? Read the full article.

1. The Burrito Budget

One of Leah’s clients had a particularly unique way of forcing himself to see his finances in a new light. When he thought about the thing in his life that he couldn’t live without – the thing that really made him happy – he discovered it was…burritos. After a long night of studying, he energized himself with a burrito. While waiting for (and worrying about) exam results, he relaxed with a burrito. For him, the promise of a nice hot burrito got him through the day, and he started to weigh the costs of things in his life based on his very own “Burrito Budget”. Read the full article.