Rebuilding after burnout

By Rebecca Stone

Every medical student has a simmering pot filled by the stress of long hours, perfectionism, and a seemingly unscalable mountain of study to be done. So I guess it isn’t too surprising that every now and then we can let it boil over. This may result in the triad that any true acolyte of Hassed is well aware of: depersonalisation, emotional exhaustion, and lack of personal accomplishment. In short, the criteria defining burnout.

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A penny for your lifestyle change?

By Emily Feng-Gu

Everyone knows that if you’re in an OSCE station the first-line management for a chronic disease is lifestyle modification.

Lifestyle choices contribute to many of the chronic diseases that are topping the list of Australia’s causes of mortality, including cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of cancer.1

Behavioural change is difficult, and a lot of how we approach the challenge of motivating patients is rooted in patient education. We lay out the benefits and risks, we set SMART goals, and we hope that information is enough to spur patients into action. That is, we assume people are perfectly rational – but maybe we shouldn’t.

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On the merits of intermitting

By Grace Scolyer & Meg Kent

It is always difficult for medical students to admit they are struggling or not coping with the demands of the course. But it is even more difficult to admit that is has become necessary or important to take time off. We as medical students struggle with self-care, vulnerability and perceived failure so very deeply; where possible, we take part in self-care provided it doesn’t come at the cost of our academic progress. In this piece, Grace and Meg discuss why, sometimes, it is okay to take a break from medicine.

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Breaking the news that no one wants to hear

By Erin Stewart

Today was the day someone’s whole life changed. Not my own, no — for me, today was a routine and pleasantly sunny day. But for Mrs B, her life would never be the same. For Mrs B, her day was well below average, and I doubt she even took notice of the weather at all.

“Oh, wait. Let’s check her pathology before we go in” said the senior doctor on ward rounds, standing outside her door, unlocking his phone. Mrs B had recently had an operation to remove a suspicious mass. The doctors suspected the mass was benign, and that thought was extended to the patient and naturally Mrs B was not concerned. Just annoyed every morning that the sun was too bright coming in through her window.

“Oh shit, that’s bad”, the only explanation given by the senior doctor. “Oh shit, that’s really bad”.

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Death: A Medical Student’s Perspective

By Yung Chong Soon

This Wednesday morning started like any other day on the general medical unit as a final year medical student. I looked through the ward list, and noticed that Mary, a patient who I have been closely monitoring over the past three days, was no longer on the list. I was hit briefly by a moment of disbelief. Fearing the worst, I proceeded to ask my registrar, who was on his usual routine of checking bloods prior to the ward round. He turned around from his office chair and calmly mentioned that Mary had passed away in the early hours of this morning.

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More than High Yield

By Tamara Hall

“That’s really high yield, focus on that!”

“SUPER high yield.”

“This topic is very high yield…”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “high yield” perhaps I wouldn’t be facing such a looming HECS debt upon graduation! I know that people are well-meaning, that we need to focus on what’s considered most vital if we are to get through medical school and not drown in the sheer amount of content it covers. It helps to have a structure to base study around and not lose sight of the forest for the trees. Yet I’ve started to feel quite jaded about the phrase.

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In Your Head: Being a bystander to mental illness

Anonymous

Mental illness is a demon that exists only in the mind. The intricacies of this internal struggle can only be intimately known by the person experiencing it. To add to the difficulty of articulating one’s thoughts and feelings, the social stigma associated with it only exacerbates the situation, leaving many feeling isolated, silenced and trapped in their own heads. Mental illness is real, a living reality that many have to struggle with and accept. In Australia, just slightly less than half of us will experience a mental health condition over our lifetimes.

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