Medicine From The Trenches

Experiences from undergradute, graduate school, medical school, residency and beyond.

Before you shadow…

As the new school year begins, I am receiving requests from premedical students about shadowing opportunities. I am happy to honor some of these requests and I am happy to pass some of them along to my colleagues so that as many students as possible get an opportunity for a shadowing experience. What can a pre-medical applicant do to prepare for a shadowing experience? I will offer some suggestions in this post. These suggestions are based on my requirements for shadowing and on some of the requirements of my practice institutions.

Do Your Homework

When you contact a physician (or physician assistant) for a shadowing experience, be sure to ask about dress requirements, paperwork and expected times of arrival. It is a good idea to contact the person (or office of the person) that you wish to shadow a minimum of a week in advance to make sure that all arrangements are in place. You want to have the best experience possible thus you need to ask about the schedule for the day, logistics of when and where you should arrive and what you should bring. Many places like for you to bring a copy of your resume (or CV), your personal statement (write one if you don’t have one ready) and a list of questions or goals for your visit. Remember, you are not going to a party where you are expected to be entertained, you are collecting valuable information as to your future career. Shadowing opportunities are become more difficult to obtain (patient privacy and liability concerns) thus you need to make the most of any opportunities that you can.

Be sure that you know something about the profession of the person that you expect to shadow. If this person is a physician, then you need know about the practice of medicine as it relates to this particular specialty. As a surgeon, I am not interested in hearing how you don’t like surgery but are only with me to get a letter of recommendation. I am likely not to write a letter of recommendation for a person who first, has no experience in surgery, other than perhaps as a patient, and who doesn’t understand that whether or not you become a surgeon, any physician needs to know something about surgery other than just not liking it. I don’t expect everyone to want to become a surgeon but I do expect every pre-medical student to have at least an intellectual interest in the practice of all aspects of medicine.

Do come into a shadowing experience with some knowledge of the process of entering medicine. Again, the time of the person who has generously allowed you to have this experience should be respected. If you have no idea of what you need, go to the AMCAS website and check out their Aspiring Docs pages. This should be the minimum knowledge in your possession before you seek shadowing experiences.  this page also gives you some ideas of what you may want to request from your shadowing physician at the conclusion of your visit.

Arrive Early

Most physicians arrive at their offices early in the morning. It goes without saying that you don’t want to be late. Do a “recon mission” and figure out traffic, driving directions, parking and the like. If something catastrophic happens, you also need to have a number where you can contact the person that you are supposed to meet. You don’t want  to be the reason for an entire day getting off to a late start. If you are unavoidably delayed, the person you are meeting may be able to reschedule or make arrangements for another person to meet you so that both of your days are not ruined. If you know that your experience is going to involve observation in the OR, be sure to arrive early enough to change into scrubs and other operating attire. It’s always better to be early and wait rather than have a busy professional waiting for you.

Proper Attire

Before you select that new outfit, keep in mind that most physicians wear business attire in the office. If you are a female shadower, wear comfortable shoes that you can stand and walk fast in. Ultra high heels with slick soles that clack on floors are not acceptable. You have to be able to keep up with the person that you are shadowing. Keep makeup, jewelry and perfume to a minimum as you may be in contact with patients who are ill. I remember a young lady appearing in platform heels and ultra-short suit with large hoop earrings ready to make rounds with my surgical team. Not only was she not able to keep up with us moving from room to room, her earrings made noise as she walked and she missed a great deal of the morning rounds experience because the rest of us were going to the next room while she was applying Band-Aids to the blisters on her feet. Moral of the story: wear comfortable, well-broken in shoes and clothing that will allow you to move. She was dressed fine for a business or law office but not for medical rounds. Minimally, wear low heeled shoes, comfortable suit (slacks) with shirt and tie (men) , comfortable blouse and jacket.  You may be given a lab coat to wear for the day so pick something that will go under a lab coat.

Follow Directions

One of my hospitals will not allow pre-medical students in the operating room but offers some of the best clinical experiences for shadowing students. If I am doing surgery at that particular hospital on the day that a student is shadowing, I have to abide by the rules of that institution. If you are at an institution that does not allow you in the OR, the you wait in the surgeon’s lounge until the case is over. I do try to avoid having shadowers if I am operating at that particular hospital. If you are allowed in the operating room, make sure you introduce yourself to the circulator, ask if this person is not pointed out. The circulator will tell you where to stand. The operative word here is stand though you may be given a stool to sit as long as you are far out-of-the-way. If you are standing, keep your arms folded in front of you or at your sides and don’t touch anything.  Most of the circulating personnel that work with me will make sure that you can see as much as possible. Eat breakfast, use the rest room and get something to drink before you enter the Operating Room. You can’t afford to be dehydrated or develop a case of low blood sugar just as the incision is underway. Often the anesthesiologist will invite the pre-medical student to sit at the head of the table. If this happens, again, keep your hands close to your sides and follow any directions. Last direction, if you feel faint, notify the circulator so that this person can take care of you quickly.  Fainting happens and most people know when they are going to faint. Just say something.

When I bring a shadower into the operating room, I usually introduce them to the circulator and to the anesthesiologist (anesthetist) so that everyone knows who you are and why you are there.  I usually give the circulator a card with your name and why you are there-for their records. The circulator will help you understand what is going on and will explain things once the case gets underway. Also, be aware that the patient on the operating table is our main concern so that you understand that we are not ignoring you but are performing patient care in a very specialized manner. When the introductory procedures are completed, scrubbing, anesthesia induction and other pre-operative procedures, people are willing to explain things. (Do keep in mind that I will have already informed the patient that you are present and sought their permission for you to be present.). Every patient has the right to refuse having unlicensed personnel in the operating room or clinic when they are being seen. Most patients are happy to be part of your experience but not all patients.

Keep in mind that sometimes things become tense  in any clinical situation. If this happens, move out of the way and allow anyone and everyone to handle the situation. There is nothing personal about this but we always have to be prepared for the unexpected. You may observe some things that are not planned and may be tragic. Under patient confidentiality rules, which many institutions will have you sign, you are not allowed to speak about anything that you observe.  The unexpected and the tragic are part of medicine more often than in other professions but keep in mind that the confidentiality and safety of the patient is our first and foremost job. We will get back to you as soon as the emergency has passed.

Take names!

Bring a card so that you can write down the names of everyone who was part of your experience. It’s a nice gesture to write a short note of thanks to the office managers, operating room personnel and others who have helped to make your day as informative as possible. Most professionals who are in health care are happy to provide information to people who are cordial and interested in joining their ranks. A short note of appreciation is very welcome and let’s them know that you appreciate what they do.

Enjoy yourself!

A shadowing experience is a chance to see health care professionals do their jobs. Enjoy the experience and learn as much as possible. Actual work in medicine is not like what is on the telly or in the movies but is fairly routine for us who are there every day. While things are never routine for the patient, they are our main focus. We are all happy to have you learn and join our ranks but keep in mind that we enjoy our routine days. The best surgical experiences for me are those where everything goes according to procedure and the patient’s outcome is excellent. Take in everything and don’t take any comments personally as that is never the case. Some people are stressed on any given day and may not be a cheerful as you would like but are capable of teaching you something new and exciting. Make sure that you are in a position to learn which is why you are there in the first place.


9 August, 2013 Posted by | application, medical school preparation | | 2 Comments

Match Week (and the Scramble)- This information is outdated as of the Match 2013! Please look at your Monday letter for information on the SOAP process!

Most fourth-year medical students are eagerly awaiting noon on Monday of Match week to find out if they matched. If they didn’t match or matched to a second-year position but not first-year, these is a process called the “Scramble” that they will be taking part in if they do not have a PGY-1 position. The majority of US medical school seniors will match if the process has worked well. By process, I mean that they have ranked places that interviewed them  and the places that interviewed them, have ranked them. The computer attempts to match the applicants highest choice with the place that ranked them the highest. Most of the time, the process works out fine but sometimes it doesn’t and an applicant will know on Monday if they need to actively look for a position.

There will be a scramble list published on noon of Tuesday that will include programs that didn’t fill all of their PGY-1 slots. Some programs will elect to offer positions to people who applied outside of the match. This means that you need to be aware that many programs that you might have applied to will fill from people who have either applied and are eligible to accept a position outside of the match which means that those programs may show open slots but those slots are filled (usually by FMGs who have already signed contracts). The only way to find out that a slot on the scramble list is truly open is to call the program on scramble day and find an open slot. You also need to have your application materials ready to fax/send by e-mail thus you would need to be next to a fax machine or have your materials in electronic form and ready to send if requested.

On scramble day, programs that didn’t fill (and want to fill) will have the program director and a couple of faculty, reviewing applications received and ready to make an offer of a contract on the spot. This is why is makes sense to be at your medical school (most schools will have a scramble set up) and have your materials ready to send. On scramble day, some programs that show openings will be literally deluged by unsolicited faxed applications from commercial services for applicants who didn’t  match. Most of those folks will receive an e-mail that stated that the program will not review unsolicited applications.  Some unmatched applicants will spend literally hundreds of dollars with commercial services that will sent applications but be aware that unless you have spoken to a program, they are not likely to review your application.

Many very high-powered and excellent residency programs may not fill for a variety of reasons from clerical errors to not interviewing enough candidates. Every year some places that have national reputations may have openings. Most years, the preliminary spots at many programs will not fill completely because not enough people applied for those slots. This means that a US grad (who is at their medical school on scramble day) stands a good chance of getting into one of those unfilled preliminary spots. Many programs will call deans looking for unmatched candidates for slots which is a great way to snag an open position at a top-ranked program.

The scramble situation is very stressful for those who go through it but the worst case scenario is that an applicant spends one year in a preliminary position and enters the match as stronger candidate the next year having done one year of excellent work. If a candidate accepts a preliminary position, they have to work very hard to be sure that they get good letters and good experience to take into the Match for the next year. Most good program directors will help a preliminary candidate find a categorical position for the next year if they have done an outstanding job with the preliminary year. In short, doing a prelim year isn’t the end of the world and can provide valuable time for making good contacts with programs that interest you for the next year. If you know that you will be going into the Match after a preliminary year, be prepared to make sure that your letters and application materials are sent to your medical school for uploading as early as possible. You don’t want to risk not matching a second time.

My other piece of advice for anyone reading this post who receives a letter on Monday that says they are  going to scramble, is that you need to immediately contact your dean of students at your medical school. You don’t want to try to go through the scramble from a remote location without having the advantage of experienced people to help you through this. You need to learn as much about the process as you can in the 24 hours before the scramble starts. Positions, even the preliminary ones, will go very quickly. If you find that you don’t have a PGY-1 position after the first 24 hours of the scramble, you are going to need to contact your medical school to let them know. Again, programs that don’t fill (or who have open positions) will contact the deans at medical schools looking for candidates first. You want to be sure to let your school administration know that you are looking for a job.

To those that match, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are inferior because you didn’t get your first or second choice. If you didn’t have to scramble, you are definitely more fortunate that those who end up with no position for the next year. If you ranked the places that you would accept a job and you received a position, you are ready to start your residency. No one who goes through the scramble would ever say that the situation is wonderful but it’s part of the experience and with that experience comes wisdom.

11 March, 2011 Posted by | application, residency, scramble | 3 Comments

I can’t (and maybe don’t want to) get into medical school

Medical school has been the ultimate dream profession for many people (or their parents) for many years. In some cultures in this country, only four professions exist; medicine, law, dentistry and engineering. If a person didn’t get into one of those professions, then they were seen as a professional failure in the eyes of their parents. For some unfortunate students, not only are they not going to enter one of those professions, they are not interested in the subject matter or practice of one of those four professions. Almost weekly, a parent will enter my office stating that they will “disown” their child if I don’t “let” them into medical school. Many of these students  will say that they have little interest in the sciences (unacceptable to the parents who are paying tuition bills) and even less interest in medicine. When questioned closely, many of these undergraduates will reveal that their parents would never “allow” them to seek other professions and that medical school is the only choice.

In today’s climate of grade inflation and very high tuition costs, the sheer magnitude of maintaining the medical school  matriculant average undergraduate GPA of  3.7 is a burden that many are not able to carry. For some students, a very poor freshman year can mean the end of being able to get that uGPA into the average range let alone a competitive range. For others who might enter university poorly prepared in math and science because of attendance in a poor secondary school, getting their academics off to a strong start and keeping them there may be problematic. Along those lines, I encountered a young Latina woman who was valedictorian of her secondary school class (inner city). While she had maintained a very strong academic record at her secondary school, the quality of instruction was extremely poor.She would be the first in her family of very hard-working immigrants whose dream was for her to become a physician so that she could come back to the neighborhood for practice. This was a huge burden for this young lady who was determined not to let her family down.  She came to our university will poor study skills, poor reading skills and deficient math skills. He school had no IB or AP courses and offered few academic courses that would prepare her for becoming a biology major in preparation for medical school.

During her first semester, she proceeded to achieve a 2.0 GPA which lead to much discouragement and frustration. When she came to my office for assistance (she was in danger of losing her full-ride scholarship), I immediately contacted the school administration to allow her to shore up her academic skills before proceeding to lose her scholarship. She had determination and discipline but lacked guidance in being able to navigate the academic world (common in many students who are the first to enter higher education). She was allowed to spend the next semester working on basic writing, reading and math skills. Fortunately, she has and always had very strong problem-solving skills which is why she sought assistance when her performance was working in the first place. While she hadn’t failed any courses, those “C” grades would not be enough for medical school.

In the next semester, she excelled in her academic remediation. She was able to make great strides and shore up her deficiencies. She learned to put her drive and determination into her studies but she also learned that she was not particularly interested in science and math. Over the course of the remediation semester and summer, she became interested in psychology which she pursued with vigor over the next fall semester earning a 4.0 GPA for that semester. Her reading and writing skills were excellent along with a very strong interest in studying her population in terms of achievement. In short, her interests lay not in medicine but in helping her community and those in her community to be able to achieve in the academic world. She went on to earn a degree in psychology and entered graduate school to earn a Ph.D in psychology. While her family was not happy, she continues to research, study and write articles which have been the cornerstone for closing the gap in Latino achievement in academia. Her most recent achievement was tenure in her department at the state university where she teaches. In short, if medical school is not your dream, all of the drive and push from your parents and family will not provide what you need to get into medical school and practice well in medicine.

Another undergraduate student had come from a family where his mother and father were both physicians. He freshman and sophomore years had ended up netting a uGPA of 2.5. He loved the university life and spent many hours with his fraternity brothers working on extracurricular activities. His father brought him to my office so that I could “talk some sense into him” before he destroyed his future. After a tumultuous weekend with his parents, this student returned to my office resigned to “dig in” and get his work done. As we calculated what he would need to do in order to raise that uGPA, he said that he just didn’t have that kind of  drive.  He said that he would “do his best” because he didn’t want to let his parents down. He said that it didn’t help that his brother was in medical school and was very critical of his undergraduate performance.

Over the next couple of semesters, his academic performance improved but not enough for him to get his cumulative uGPA above 3.2. He became more and more discouraged. At one meeting, he expressed interest in looking at other careers besides medicine. He decided that he would look into becoming a physician assistant which didn’t take as long but would enable him to have a career in health care. While his family wasn’t pleased with his choice, after making the decision not to pursue medicine, he was better grounded and had more direction. He finished his undergraduate degree in biology with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and entered a masters program in physician assistant studies. Today, he loves his job and loves that he can travel while practicing his craft.

I do not advocate trying to become a physician assistant because you can’t get into medical school but it is a profession that is worth exploring if you have a strong interest in the practice of medicine but can’t spend the minimum of 7 years above undergraduate school in order to enter the profession of medicine. In terms of love of their work, physician assistants have the highest job satisfaction in healthcare and earn a very strong salary which is quite appealing for people who have families whose needs won’t allow an additional four years out of the workforce. In terms of academics, the same strong academic skills in reading, writing and math are needed by a PA that would be needed by a physician. I would also caution that the academic achievement to become a physician assistant is just a bit lower than what is needed for medical school with the average uGPA of the PA class that entered our state university being 3.6. In short, getting into PA school isn’t that much easier than medical school but the training is shorter which is appealing to many people who have an interest in medicine but do not want the long training period.

Other careers worth looking at are anesthesia assistant which is a physician assistant who does anesthesia and perfusionist. The training programs for this profession are quite competitive but as with PA, the job satisfaction is very high. Anesthesia assistants work with anesthesiologists and provide anesthesia care in a variety of settings. This particular profession seems to attract people who have no interest in nursing and going the CRNA route but have a strong interest in working the operating room environment with anesthesia.  The perfusionist runs the heart-lung machine (and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenator ECMO) which is used during cardiac surgeries such as coronary artery bypass grafting or valve replacement. If ECMO is used in a nursery, it is the perfusionist that maintains that machine too. Perfusion technologists earn a very high salary and enjoy very good job security. There are a limited number of perfusion technology schools (and training slots) in this country but for many people who find that medicine is not for them, perfusion technology can be a very good healthcare profession.

For the undergraduate who has applied to medical school more than twice, the chances of getting into medical school will not increase and are likely to decrease. Just reapplying is not enough to achieve admission as whatever kept you out in the first place has to be corrected and upgraded.  Every year, the medical school matriculant average goes up along with the matriculant average score for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  To continue trying to raise an otherwise undistinguished uGPA (graduate doesn’t count) with one class here and there is a long and expensive process. One poor year as an undergraduate can be overcome but multiple drops and repeats of the pre-med courses (especially organic chemistry, calculus and general physics) do not bode well for medical school admission success. There are just too many medical school applicants out there who have completed their studies without drops and repeats. There are also many applicants who have very competitive uGPA/MCAT scores who will be admitted ahead of those who have  a less distinguished record. No amount of research or extra curricular activities will off set a poor uGPA; nor will a high MCAT score do the same. In short, the admission process into medical school is long, unforgiving and quite expensive with little guarantee of success in any given year.

Multiple retakes of the MCAT with final scores less than 30 are going to be problematic for many who desire to enter medical school. One retake of the MCAT if you were ill (or severely distracted) is warranted but several mediocre scores with no or a 1 point improvement will no work will. Not releasing scores on more than one retake with mediocre scores is not a sound practice either. Students who have a less-than-distinguished academic record can’t expect to “ace” the MCAT and get into medical school. This is why it takes both strong academic achievement and a strong MCAT in order to achieve admission success. Medical schools want to accept students who show evidence (by undergraduate achievement and scores on the MCAT) that they are able to master a very competitive curriculum. It is far from a certainly that once you are accepted into medical school, that graduation will happen. In short, medical school is a very strong academic challenge that many of the strongest students find daunting at first. It takes a consistent and high level of scholarship to achieve the performance in medical school that is needed to become a physician. Also keep in mind that USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) steps are not retaken which means that multiple retakes of exams such as the MCAT do not bode well for USMLE success.

If you find that you are not successful in gaining admission into medical school, you need to do an objective and thorough inventory of why your application didn’t work. After your inventory, you need to figure out how and what you can upgrade that will ensure successful admission. If you are on a waitlist, I strongly advise getting the application together for reapplication for the next year as soon as possible with updates and reworking of things such as your personal statement. In the intervening time, upgrade anything that is within your power to upgrade and apply early (exceed every deadline). If you didn’t get any interviews or waitlist, then your application need a thorough upgrade (might take more than one year). If you can’t upgrade your uGPA (t0 a competitive range) significantly in one or two years, you likely either need to look into a Special Masters Program for credential enhancement (if you enter one of these you need to do well) or look into another profession. Getting a Masters of Public Health (MPH) isn’t going to offset a poor uGPA or MCAT nor is entering a Ph.D program as most medical schools require that you complete any graduate work that you start.

6 January, 2011 Posted by | application, can't get into medical school, medical school, medical school admissions | 1 Comment

Working and college at the same time…

Potential lethal combination?

Many students find themselves in the unenviable position of HAVING to work and attend college at the same time. This a a potentially lethal combination in many ways. First of all, when something starts to suffer, it generally isn’t the job and second, burnout is a strong possibility. Both of these problems can be potentially avoided if you cut back on your coursework if you find that you must work full-time. If you are a full-time employee at most jobs, you have minimal time to study in between and thus, you can’t take on a full-time course load that includes pre-med lab courses. Decide that you are going to take your time and do well in your courses while leaving yourself plenty of time to rest from both coursework and employment.  No medical school admissions committee is going to give you “brownie points” for trying to do a full-time course load along with full-time employment especially if your uGPA (or postbacc) work has suffered.

Recharging your batteries

You need time to digest and assimilate the material that you are learning in your pre-med coursework. Rushing through these classes with last minute “cramming” is not going to leave you with enough time to get the material in your long-term memory so that you can apply it on the Medical College Admissions Test. You need to be able to see the subtleties of what you are studying in addition to having some time to let your brain just rest. Again, rushing through your coursework makes MCAT review on the other end a total chore instead of a progressive process that will lead to success. Take your time, recharge your brain (even take a semester off if necessary) and then come back refreshed and ready to work at very high level.

Damage control

If you are retaking courses or attempting to take additional postbacc work to enhance your application, you need to do well without exception. You can’t keep posting mediocre grades and retaking courses with the expectation that eventually you will get that A and get into medical school. If you have significant prior poor coursework to overcome, take your time and remediate one course at at time. Pair a more demanding course like Physics with something less demanding like English/Psychology. Again, if you have prior poor coursework, you can’t afford to either do poorly in your recent coursework or drop courses because you have overloaded yourself. Slow, steady excellence will bring the success that you seek.

Keeping some perspective

If you have a family to support and take care of, be sure that you allow plenty of time for them. Working, attending class and then diving for a nap on the sofa or heading for bed is not going to do much for your relationship with your loved ones. They need your undivided attention and you need to interact with them for your sanity too. Let your loved ones be your much-needed and much-desired break from your schedule. They generally don’t expect your to be on your best behavior but only want you in your basic form. Allow them to see you, hang out with you and take you away from the grind of work/study on a regular basis. You grades will be better, you will be happier and you can keep yourself reminded of why you seek your goals in the first place.

Setting goals and achieving them

The whole key to finding success in the medical school application process is keeping your eye firmly on your long-term goals. I have stated in other posts that the process is like having 100 pounds of weight to lose. It isn’t going to happen overnight and you must take small steps on a daily basis to stay on track. It’s easy to get off track by the demands of work but you can’t achieve your goals by letting this happen. This means total organization and total commitment to the task at hand, be it work your studies.

If you are at work, you give your work your full attention. When you attend class, you give your classwork the attention that it demands. It’s neat to be able to multi-task but most people are not able to work at a high level and achieve those A grades that you need for medical school admission at the same time. Again, if you work full-time, don’t expect to attend school full-time. If you attend school full-time, don’t expect to work full-time. The end result is that you wind up doing both things at a mediocre level which won’t allow you to achieve your goals.


There are no “points” for getting this process “almost” right. The level of academic achievement that is demanded of a potential medical student is getting higher every year. The MCAT is getting more competitive as many students are taking prep courses and spending more time preparing for this exam. You can’t expect to be competitive next year with this year’s work because the bar will move higher. If you are attempting to upgrade your credentials, then you need to do a complete overhaul and put up some good academics (even one course is better than nothing).

Don’t expect to be the exception to any of the rules in this process. You are not generally in a position to be objective about yourself and your abilities. Make sure that you get some honest and objective advice. Trying to self-evaluate is like asking your Mum if you are a great kid. Of course, she’s going to answer in the affirmative but it’s far better to get someone who doesn’t know you, to look over your things (like a good academic adviser who knows the pre-med climate). Allow plenty of time for getting your work done at a high level and you will see movement toward your goals without sacrificing your employment records, your sanity or your soul.

29 March, 2009 Posted by | academics, application, medical school admission | 1 Comment

When Do I “give up” on medical school?


I was speaking with a group of undergraduate pre-med students who asked me when I thought someone should “give up” on seeking admission into medical school. My first inclination was to say that if medical school and medicine is your “dream” you should never “give up”. I thought a bit about what might be behind the question and I thought it might make a good essay topic for my blogs.


I have never been a person who dealt in “shoulds” in terms of what might be the best situation for anyone’s life and life pursuit. If you want something and if really desire something, then pursue that “something” and make sure that you are in the best possible situation to achieve your goal. Any realistic (and the emphasis here is on realistic) goal is achievable in taking small steps daily toward it. Certainly, you cannot possibly reach anything if you are not moving “toward” it.


The pursuit of admission to medical school and medicine is a bit like having more than 100 pounds to lose. You have to be consistent with your work on a daily basis or you are not going to see results. This means that everything “counts” and you can’t afford to “slack” or you won’t reach your goals. You can’t “let up” or you will find yourself behind quickly. Your undergraduate work is an opportunity to set yourself up with solid and disciplined study skills that can take you into medical school and beyond. It is also an opportunity to learn how to learn and master coursework. Just as daily exercise and diet modification will lead you closer to losing that 100 pounds (ounces at a time), daily preparation/study and mastery of your coursework will lead you closer to your goal (one semester at a time). As you have probably heard, this is not a “sprint” but a “marathon” and like a marathon, you can’t just lace up your running shoes and expect to finish a 26.2 – mile race without some daily training and preparation. If you are not comfortable with long-term goal achievement, then use your undergraduate to obtain the characteristics that will make you comfortable with long-term goal achievement.

Overcoming difficulties

There are plenty of physicians out there who didn’t start off strong as an undergraduate. Perhaps they had some maturity problems or perhaps they just didn’t have the academic skills for the pre-med coursework but the important thing is that they kept their goals in mind. If something is not working for you in terms of getting your coursework mastered, then change it. You can decide at this very minute -even if you are on the verge of dismissal- that you are going to turn your academics around “by any means necessary”. The process of doing this “turn-around” can be a huge asset in terms of making you competitive for medical school but you have to be successful. Just thinking about getting your academics together (like dreaming about losing 100 pounds) won’t make it happen but taking some active steps toward changing your methods will get results.

Many students have gone from extremely low undergraduate performances to getting themselves competitive but the process is not easy or short. Again, it’s back to the daily and consistent work with constant checkpoints to make sure that you are keeping on track. Enlist the assistance of any study skills courses at your school; enlist the help of peer tutors; enlist the help of a good academic adviser. In short, get help from any resources that you can find. Often, your school’s counseling service can help you identify resources at your school that can help you. You have to take the first steps and be willing to make some changes and stay with the changes that you have made. You also have to be willing to let go of your “ego” if it is keeping you from achieving your goals. Either your study (and mastery methods) work for you or they don’t. Everything in medicine is about new experiences and incorporation of those new experiences into your knowledge base. You can begin this process as an undergraduate and make this process as familiar as a comfortable pair of shoes.  Just remember,  undergraduate “GPA damage control” is a long and expensive process. If you know this going in, then you can prepare yourself for the long haul. Again, medicine is not a sprint, it’s a long-term goal. If you find yourself in need of  “damage control” take action immediately and not when you find yourself in a situation that is too deep to “dig out of”.


There are some things that are very, very difficult to overcome. These “deal-breakers” are where I place things like academic dishonesty, felony convictions and substance abuse problems. Most medical schools, even if you are sitting there with a uGPA of 4.0 and an MCAT of 45, are not going to be very interested in you with these things in your background. If you have a substance abuse problem, get it taken care of long before you anticipate entry into medical school. There are excellent substance abuse programs out there and you can’t hide from your problems forever. Medical school on any pharmaceutical substance (other than pharmaceuticals prescribed by a physician within the guidelines of established medical practice) is expensive and heading for a crash either physically or legally. Neither of these are things that a  prospective medical school would like to deal with. In short, take care of what you need to take care of and educate yourself so that you can handle life without drugs of any kind. If you “think” you have a problem with tobacco, alcohol, uppers, downers and any other illicit substances, then you have a “problem”. Get your “problems” solved as soon as they are identified.

Living in the “Real “World

You are going to read (and hear) stories out there about John or Jane X who got into Medical School A or B with a GPA of 2.5 and an MCAT or 20. Those John and Jane X’s are very, very unlikely to be real people. The  average uGPA for medical school matriculants in 2007 was around 3.65 and the average MCAT was around 31. This means that the further from those average on the low side that you are, the lower your chances of admission. Admission to medical school with a uGPA of 2.5 is not impossible but it is improbable since the uGPA averages have been increasing every year. Get your uGPA as high as you can period. Get the highest MCAT score that you can period.

There are also folks out there who would believe that if you are an URM (Underrepresented Minority) in medicine, that you can get into medical school with drastically lower GPAs/MCAT. This is simply not the case because you have to have something in your application that shows you are capable of mastery of a challenging medical curriculum. If you are a URM and far below the uGPA/MCAT averages, then you likely don’t have a competitive application. Do what you have to do, to make yourself competitive and be prepared to take some years to get this done. I don’t care what your ethnicity/race is, you still have to be able to get through medical school if admitted. Admission is no guarantee that you will complete medical school. If you uGPA/MCAT is low, get yourself competitive by whatever means you have at your disposal.

But when do I “give up”?

You must answer this question for yourself. Preparation, application and matriculation in medical school is a very expensive process. How much time and money do you have? If you are a re-applicant, what you have you done to significantly improve your chances of admission? Just reapplying to medical school to “show them that you really, really want this” is not enough. You have to make some improvements on your application before you spend that money to reapply. Again, take a realistic look at what might have kept you out and get it improved.

If your application didn’t work this year, rework everything that you can rework before you submit for a future year. If you are reapplying to the same schools, you especially need to change and improve everything about your application that can be changed. Get fresh letters of recommendation, rewrite your personal statement (I don’t care how wonderful you believe it is, it didn’t work) and take more coursework if your uGPA is very low. Retake the MCAT if that is holding you back. (Beware though, retaking the MCAT and scoring lower can be a death blow). What ever you do, be sure to make it an improvement and not a change for the worse.

Looking at other career options

Some people believe that if they explore other career options such as physician assistant, nursing or physical therapy, that they are somehow giving up their dream. Nothing could be further from the truth. Explore other careers and have a realistic appraisal of how competitive you are for those careers. You may find that one of those careers better suits you in the first place from the standpoint of time of schooling to what your actual interests/motivation for medicine might be.

I am not advocating for anyone to seek to be a physician assistant, nurse or physical therapist because they “couldn’t get into medical school” but I am advocating that you should have a career back-up that you can love and pursue. You may not be competitive for physician assistant, nursing or physical therapist or you may not be interested in these great careers but you can’t make an honest decision without career exploration first. You may find again, that these careers are a great option for you and a better option than medicine.

Parting thoughts

Finally, be willing to let any of your advisers take a long and hard look at your competitiveness for medical school. If you don’t get in, get input from any and every excellent resource that you can find. Your goal is success on reapplication and you want to do everything that is within your grasp to ensure your success. Only you can tell when it’s time to move on to another career option and it’s YOUR life to live as you wish. Enlist any and all help that you can to get what you both need and want out of life.

The pursuit of becoming an excellent physician is a long goal. There will be people along the way who will tell you what you “can” and “cannot” accomplish. If you know yourself, and have faith in yourself, you know that you can accomplish anything that you want. You have to be willing to “run your own race” and take care of your own “needs”. There are as many routes into medical school as their are medical students.

If you should decide that you don’t want to pursue medicine, then that’s the best decision for you. Don’t let your life’s dream be anyone’s other than your own. It takes a fair about of courage to stand back, take a realistic appraisal of where you are and make the decision to move on to something else.

The other thing to consider is that getting into medical school does not have an age limit. Just because you decide not to continue with the pursuit next year does not mean that you can’t do something else and revisit medical school application three, four or even ten years down the line. As long as you have the desire, the stamina and are willing to earn competitive credentials, then give yourself a couple of years to decompress before you dive back into this process.  If something doesn’t “click” for you in 2006, it might “click” in 2009 because you are a different person with a different perspective.

20 January, 2008 Posted by | application, failure, medical school admission, medical school preparation, reapplication to medical school | 73 Comments

Shadowing Me

Some people have asked what may be expected of a pre-med student who is shadowing a physician. I thought that I would write a bit about what I provide and expect on this shadowing experience. The expectations of the physician and the experience of the shadower definitely vary but I hope that this description provides those who have not shadowed with some things that might make the experience better.

Legal Matters

I have a confidentiality sheet that all pre-medical and medical students must sign before shadowing me. It outlines the confidentiality rules such as you may not disclose the name, condition or any other identifying information of any of the patients that you encounter during the shadowing experience. It also outlines that your may not write on any patient document while in the hospital and it outlines that you will observe all rules and regulations as you are directed by the staff of the hospital. These rules are for protection of the privacy of my patients and are pretty clearly outlined before you come to the hospital.


I ask that shadowers dress in business attire for the experience. This includes suits for males and suit or dress and jacket for females. I don’t ask for white coat because I seldom wear one. I have a badge that identifies you as a Student Observer that you will wear on your jacket along with a name tag.  My patients expect that you will be professionally dressed and they are made aware of your presence. If I am going to be doing any procedures that you will be observing, I obtain their permission before you are allowed to observe anything. The staff is quite aware that I have shadowers from time to time and are very helpful in terms of making you feel comfortable. They understand the process and are happy to help me make sure that you have a good experience.

What I expect you to do

I expect you to have some expectations of what you want to achieve in participating in this experience. You should write down a few objectives and have these ready for me to go over with you. Are you there to learn about my specialty? Are you there to learn about the practice of medicine in 2008? Are you there to discuss your chances of admission into medical school? Are you there because you need an additional letter of recommendation for medical school? In short, jot down a few objectives for your visit and have them handy.

I expect you to bring a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (resume). If you have a photo attached, so much the better but I take a digital photo of you and place it with my copy of the signed Confidentiality sheet. If I am writing a letter of recommendation, I like to look at the photo and make sure that I remember the person correctly. Sometimes people will ask for a letter several weeks after their shadowing experience and I like to make sure that I remember the person.

I also like for you to bring a copy of your Personal Statement (PS) and the medical schools that interest you. I usually read your PS before we begin the day and I often offer tips for making the document stronger. I also can provide some information about specific schools that might be helpful to you. I can also suggest particular schools that might be a good fit for you too. Again, I add your PS and schools list to the folder that contains the documents that I have mentioned above.

The Day

I usually have people shadow on a day that I am in the hospital ,clinic and teaching. While it’s a long day, it usually gives the shadower a good experience. I usually have folks come on the day when I am not on call and have a lighter procedure day. I want to you see some cases but I also want you to have plenty of time to ask questions and understand as much about my practice as possible. I also will send you a list of the cases that I have scheduled and a brief description should you want to do some research before you observe.

Over lunch, which I provide, we usually discuss your career plans and I answer any questions that you might have. Again, I usually have taken a look at your CV, PS and schools list. If you are yet to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), I usually offer some tips about preparation for this very important exam. Since you will likely sit in on one of may classes, I usually give you a copy of my lecture notes so that you can follow along. The class is a great time for you to meet some of my pre-clinical medical students or some of the third-years that are on my service. They usually have loads of hints and suggestions about application to medical school.

When the day is done, usually about 5 pm (just before evening rounds), I usually go over any questions that you might have and any expectations that you have of me that we haven’t gone over during lunch. If you need a letter of recommendation, I ask that you provide a deadline for me so that I can make sure that you letter is out in a timely fashion.

Most shadowers get a chance to participate in morning rounds, a few cases, in my clinic and sit in on a class or lecture. I think that while the day is pretty full for you, it gives you a fairly realistic idea of what this profession involves. After all, this is your shadowing experience and you have a short period of time to make the most of your experience. I also feel that you need to have exposure to the daily routine of what I do so that you can compare your shadowing experience with me to others that you might have. Again, this gives you a more realistic experience.

Finally, I do have people who come back for a second day sometimes. These folks usually have shadowed me early in their undergraduate career and now want to spend a little more time working on buffing their application before they submit it. I certainly do not ever have a problem with this. I definitely recommend that people shadow at several stages in their undergraduate career as sometimes the shadowing experience can hone your desire to pursue medicine if you were unsure the first time around.

Good sources of names of physicians who will allow you to shadow are the local medical societies in your locale. Most local medical societies will have lists of physicians who will work with you. I know that in many large metropolitan areas the city medical society will make all of the arrangements for you. This was how I was able to shadow several physicians before I entered medical school.

Another source of physicians who will allow you to shadow would be any medical schools that are nearby. You might contact the individual clinical departments of the medical schools which may be able to match you with the name of a physician or two that would allow you to shadow. Other resources are your family or personal physician who may provide this service or know a colleague or two that might allow you to shadow.

The important things to do are:

  • Have a list of objectives that you want to accomplish on this visit.
  • Find out what the dress code will be, what time you are expected to finish and what the daily agenda will be.
  • Have a copy of your CV, personal statement and list of schools if possible (attach a small passport-sized photo) to your CV.
  • If you need a Letter of Recommendation, be sure to provide a deadline, an address as to where the letter should be sent and if the letter is going to an individual or a committee.

The last thing is to enjoy your experience being mindful of the person who is allowing you to shadow them. This means being mindful of the confidentiality of their patients and send a letter of thanks when you are done.

6 January, 2008 Posted by | application, medical school admission, physician shadowing | 6 Comments

What do you do if you don’t get into medical school?

Let’s say that you have submitted your application and it’s late in the year. You have received no invitations for interview and since it’s now April, your chances of getting invited for interview and gaining acceptance are getting slimmer and slimmer. What are you going to do now? Since the day that you entered undergraduate studies, you have contemplated the study of medicine but at this point, it’s looking like you are not going to be a member of the upcoming year’s starting medical classes. What are you going to do?

Your current application

The first thing that you need to do is pull out a copy of your current application and take a long and objective look at it. Was your personal statement well-written and an accurate reflection of your goals in medicine? Did you illustrate strong extracurricular activities that showed your interest in your fellow humans? Was your undergraduate GPA competitive within the context of the schools that you applied to? Were your scores on the Medical College Admissions Test competitive within the context of the schools that you applied to?

What can you do about improving your application?

If you contemplate reapplying for next year, the first thing that you have to do is upgrade any and all things that were a liability for you in the current year. This might mean taking a course or re-taking the MCAT and making sure that your score is significantly higher. This means reworking your entire application including revamping your personal statement. If your application didn’t work for this year, it’s not likely that it is going to work for you next year. Don’t let laziness creep into this process. You have to be proactive and willing to do anything and everything that will increase your chances for success next year. The major reason that people do not get into medical school is overestimation of their competitiveness within the context of the pool of applicants to the schools that they applied to. Be sure to take a long and objective look at yourself and your competitiveness. Being less competitive does not mean you are a “lesser person” but it does mean that you may need to do what works for you and not what “hype”  or “wishful thinking” tells you. At this point, you have to get into medical school to become a physician. The reputation of a school that does not accept you will not help you achieve that goal.

The applicant pool

Every year since I have been working with medical school admissions, two things have been generally true. The undergraduate GPAs/MCAT scores of the applicant pool have been increasing and the number of application to my two schools have been increasing. We attribute the increase in the number of applicants to the generally poor economy and we attribute the increase in academic scores to both grade inflation (at some colleges ) and an increasing number of folks who use test prep companies for the MCAT. We are well versed in the undergraduate schools that practice grade inflation and we look very carefully at the patterns in the MCAT scores.  Larger applicant pool and higher uGPA/MCAT scores mean that we are using much of the entire application to make our decisions as to whom we will invite for interview.

The URM myth

Both of my medical schools have about 1% URM representation in any given class. It is entirely a myth that being an Underrepresented Minority in Medicine is an automatic entry into medical school no matter what is on your application. We just don’t “hand out” seats in our freshman medical class for having a certain ethnicity. One of the prime forces for us is making sure that every student who is admitted will successfully get through four years of a very tough curriculum. The material to be mastered knows no color or ethnicity. In the past, with our admissions formula, we have been pretty fortunate in that our graduation rate in four or five years is greater than 99%. In general, those people who graduate in five rather than four years have some extenuating circumstances that have prevented them for continuing with their class not because they were not well-qualified in the first place. Some of the five-year graduates have been URM but are not.  The greatest thing that URM confers is that URM physicians are likely to work with URM communities which in today’s world, is a good investment. Make no mistake, while some URM acceptees may have lower uGPAs and MCAT scores, they generally have “smoked” other applicants in things like personal statement, letters of recommendation and volunteer experience. With few exceptions, our URM graduates have gone on to distinguished medical careers and strong service to their communities.

Feelings that you are somehow inferior

This turns out to be a huge factor in whether or not a re-applicant will be successful on the second try. There are far more applicants than seats in medical school period. If you don’t get in, it is generally because you were not a good “fit” for the year in which you applied or you made some poor decisions in terms of the schools that you applied to again you were not a good “fit”. You can reassess your situation, change the things on your application that you can change and reapply stronger. There is very little difference in a student who is accepted and a student who is not accepted in any given year. You would be quite surprised to learn how close many “rejected” students actually came to an acceptance. Those folks who are wait-listed were definite acceptances but were a bit further down the list in terms of being offered a seat. They are definitely “alternates” but we just felt more strongly about the people who were offered admission.

Graduate school

In general, if you are NOT interested in graduate school, don’t undertake a graduate degree to enhance your application. If you have developed a passionate interest in Public Health or Business and you can complete your degree in one year or so, then obtain an MPH or an MBA but don’t look to these degrees to make you more competitive for medical school if your uGPA/MCAT was low.

If you elect to enter a Special Masters such as the Special Masters in Physiology (offered at many colleges/university), you can definitely enhance your chances of admission if you perform well in this type of program. In addition, you will have some graduate training that can be used if you don’t enter medical school. These Special Masters generally have you taking the same coursework as medical students and can show that you are capable of handling a tough medical school curriculum. These programs are ideal for candidates who are just a bit below average (3.2-3.5) uGPA range or those who had a great deal of difficulty with the MCAT but higher uGPAs.

Retaking the MCAT

If you scored below that magic “30” or had a severely lopsided score say 13 in PS, 12 in BS and a 5 in VR, then retaking that exam with solid preparation and remediation in your lower scoring areas might be a good idea. One of the things to consider is that you must shore up your deficiencies and be sure that you have done something major before you re-take this exam. Nothing can tank your application faster than several mediocre MCAT scores. While some schools will take your higher scores at each re-take and use a composite, most schools (including mine) do NOT do this. If you retake, make sure that you are going to score higher period. Also remember that most people do not accomplish a higher score so you definitely need to do something different in terms of prep in order not to wind up with a lower score.


It is definitely true that the earlier you apply, the better your chances. Meet and exceed every deadline and in the case of reapplication, be early period. You can’t procrastinate on this one. As soon as you have decided to reapply, start getting your materials together for an early submission of your application. Most of the time, the difference between waitlist and acceptance is the timing of the application. Resolve that you are going to be proactive about getting your application done and that you are going to upgrade everything that you can upgrade within the time frame that you have between application cycles (this is not an infinite amount of time)

Reapplication time is also a good time to explore other career opportunities outside medicine especially if you are well below the averages for accepted students. One has to be realistic about their chances of acceptance if you are sitting on a uGPA of  2.9 or an MCAT score of less than 28. Sure some students in the past have gotten into some schools with those scores but most applicants with these numbers are automatically “screened out” of many medical schools.As the years go by, those uGPAs of 2.9 become less and less distinguished no matter what else is in the application. Right now, a total uGPA of C+ is very, very low for medical school acceptance no matter what schools you are applying to.  The other thing is that everyone is NOT going to become a physician no matter how great the desire. There are just too many applicants for seats thus having a strong “desire” without significant upgrading of your application will not get you into school if you don’t do the work to make the upgrades.  Make no mistake, upgrading a failed medical school application takes work and planning thus prepare early and get the work done if you are going to reapply for next year. Reapplication with no changes/upgrades won’t put you up the in competitiveness.

Also do not make the mistake of thinking that you will become a Physician Assistant or enter Nursing as a substitute for medicine. While these are great careers, they are not the “same” as medicine. These careers can be extremely rewarding and satisfying but enter these careers because you have decided that they are a good “fit” for you and that you will enjoy them. Getting into Physician Assistant school is quite competitive and not a stepping stone into medicine. It is far likely that if you were not competitive for medical school, you are not going to be competitive for PA school.

Above all, if medicine is your dream, you will do whatever it takes to accomplish it but you need to be sure that you are upgrading your application with  re-application  and that you are being realistic in terms of your competitiveness. Just reapplying does not increase your chances of acceptance in itself. Most people who reapply and are successful in gaining admission do something significant to upgrade their application. Make sure that if you elect to reapply, you do the upgrade.

23 December, 2007 Posted by | application, reapplication to medical school | 281 Comments

Working on your application to…

I am in the “thick” of application to fellowship and I thought I would write a few notes on the process. The application process is quite similiar be it for medical school, residency, fellowship or whatever else. Though I am done with the actual applications and interviews, I will reflect on the process.

Once you have decided that you are going to apply for something, you need to take a look at the criteria that will be used for evaluation of your application. For medical school, this means your undergraduate grade point average, your score on all sections of the Medical College Admissions Test, your extra curricular activities, your letters of recommendation and your personal statement. For residency, the players change to your grades in medical school and your scores on USMLE/COMLEX exams (Steps 1 & 2) and for fellowship, your evaluations during residency and scores on in-training exams.

You need to look carefully at what you bring to the application process. You cannot change your grades so if you are an undergraduate and reading this, you need to get the highest grades that you can possibly achieve. Do whatever it takes and make thorough mastery of your undergraduate subject matter (along with your pre-med coursework) your major priority. Contrary to popular belief, great letters of recommendation or wonderful extracurricular activities will not erase a poor undergraduate performance (nor will obtaining a graduate degree). You have one shot with your coursework so make the most of every opportunity to show your excellence.

As I have written elsewhere, you need to thoroughly prepare for and take the Medical College Admissions Test. This test should be taken after complete knowledge and preparation using the same manner of questioning as on the actual exam. Do not believe that you can take this exam once for practice and then once for “real”. Nothing sounds an application “death-blow” like more than one mediocre MCAT attempts (or several attempts unreported). This is not an exam for “practice” but a measure of your suitablity for medical school. Whether you believe this test is valid or not, it’s a stepping stone that is quite important.

Once you reach your sophomore year, you should have a good idea of where you stand in terms of preparation for medical school. If you have taken the pre-medical courses in sequence, you should be done at this point. You should start writing your personal statement too. The reason for this is that when you request a letter of recommendation from your pre-med science professors, you should include a copy of both your CV (curriculum vitae) and personal statement. These two documents allow your letter writer to get an idea of you and your outside of class achievements. You should also include a deadline and waiver of inspection of the letter. For most undergraduates, these letters should be sent to your pre-medical advisory committee/office where they will be stored in your folder. (If you have not made contact with this office, you need to do so as soon as you know that you want to attend medical school).

During your junior year, you should be solidifying your knowledge in your undergraduate major and preparing for completing your AMCAS/ACOMAS application. This usually involves obtaining unofficial transcripts from every institution that you have taken courses at since secondary school without exception. Even if you took a typing course at a local community college, you need to request and obtain a transcript because that course needs to be listed on your application.

Choose your medical schools in early fall of your junior year and make sure that you have taken 0r are scheduled to take the required coursework to make application. Some schools require courses like genetics, biochemistry or calculus in addition to the traditional pre-med courses. A consult of the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) should keep you informed on these additional requirements.

In terms of a choice of what major is best for you, choose the undergraduate major that interests you most. It is a huge chore to attempt “engineering” because you “heard” that it was more impressive to members of a medical school admissions committee. Nothing is more unimpressive than a mediocre undergraduate performance in a major that doesn’t interest you. I often say to myself, if I had it to do over, and I knew that I would be going straight to medical school, I would have majored in American Studies, minored in Spanish and took my pre-med courses.

These thoughts are only fleeting because I attended college with the notion of preparing myself for a career in scientific research (not medicine). My undergraduate majors of Analytical Chemistry and Biology with minors in Physics and Math were my preparation for graduate school. I also loved and was quite passionate about those subjects. I enjoyed hours of working on problems in applied differential equations class and higher algebra/advanced calculus. If these courses are not for you, head into something that DOES excite you. After all, you are spending thousands in tuition dollars so you might as well get your money’s worth.

I also cannot emphasize the importance of exploring the nature of your fellow human beings. College is a great time to gain exposure to a diversity of ethnicities and ideas. Immerse yourself in another culture by spending a semester or two abroad or studying the art, language and music of another culture. These experiences are easy to find on the campuses of universities and are a great source of stress-relief. There are literally millions of ideas out there to explore and enjoy even if the experience makes you a bit uncomfortable. Your life will be richer for the experience.

Application for residency closely parallels application for medical school except the deadlines are more unforgiving. In the allopathic system, the ERAS (electronic residency application service) deadlines have to be exceeded or you miss out on interview opportunities. You have to be thinking about your choice of residency shortly after you complete first year.

The reason why I give the end of first year as a deadline, is that you can use your summer between your first and second year as a means of exploring some of the specialties. Do not choose a specialty because you believe it will be prestigous or pay loads of money. Dermatology is often sought after as a prestigous and highly paying specialty but I would be a miserable dermatologist. I enjoy my colleagues who pursued this specialty but it was not for me. (See my posts on why I chose surgery).

Don’t choose a specialty because you believe it will be in demand. Demand in terms of specialty comes in cycles and by the time you are applying for residency, the demand could be poor. I remember when I started medical school, the demand for anesthesiologists and anesthesia residency was pretty poor. Now, this specialty is fairly sought-after and in a couple of years, the field will be saturated. (Anesthesia is not a rapid turn-over specialty).

Choose a specialty because you love it and you can’t imagine doing anything else. Sounds just like the reasons that you choose to apply to and attend medical school.

26 February, 2007 Posted by | application, medical school admissions, medical specialty selection | 2 Comments