New Medical Student Screening Test Achieves 99.99 % Sensitivity

A Cannula Exclusive 

By Idew Wokefield

[De-identified] Hospital, Victoria – Medicine is a constantly evolving field with ground-breaking research allowing patients to be treated and diagnosed faster. Examples of such research has occurred in very stage of human history such as the 1928 invention of penicillin to treat bacterial infections, the 21st century mindfulness movement to treat burnout and the 15th century BCE ban on trepanning to treat ‘evil demon spirits’. However, despite hundreds of years of research and countless sums of money, people with disease or yet to be symptomatic from it are missed and suffer from the consequences such as a late cancer diagnosis. The Cannula is proud to report that a BMedSci student at [De-identified] Hospital has published a study that will allow human civilisation to enter a golden age akin to the introduction of pineapple onto pizza and has succeeded where countless centuries of the worlds brightest minds have failed.

The single blinded randomised control trial consisting of 300 ‘healthy’ participants utilises the ‘Medical Student Screening Test’ which is based on their unique self diagnosing abilities. When asked about how they invented this ingenious test, the unnamed BMedSci student commented ‘ I once attended an infectious diseases lecture and afterwards diagnosed myself with influenza, herpes and glandular fever. The next day I felt a little febrile with fatigue and an itchy throat and I promptly attended the GP. I told him my diagnosis and we had a 1-hour intellectual debate with him ultimately conceding that I was right and to “never come back to his clinic”. Afterwards I diagnosed my dad with colon cancer and the coloscopy removed a 0.3 cm hyperplastic polyp preventing his cancer diagnosis 40 years in the future.’ The experimental group is shown various lecture slides from the Monash Medicine Program consisting of the signs and symptoms and images of the post-mortem pathologies of hundreds of diseases. While the control group is shown first year slides displaying the Krebs Cycle. Both groups then fill in a 50-page survey, containing all the conditions known to humankind and ticking all the conditions they think they have. Afterwards every diagnostic tool is applied to them discover if they had any undiagnosed illnesses. ‘Basically, we perform an angiogram, 30 blood tests, a whole body X-ray, ultrasound, CT, plus biopsies of EVERY part of the body, a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy, a MRCP and all the physical examinations. Surprisingly the most common condition we diagnosed was white coat syndrome and hypochondriasis’ an unnamed researcher commented. Side effects experienced by the control group include, 28 participants passing out from boredom and one individual gaining an interest in biomedicine. Side effects experienced in the experimental group include 14 becoming naturopaths and 10 transferring their future care to Doctor ‘WebMD’. The results of the study show a remarkable 99.99% sensitivity and when asked about the specificity our unnamed hero exclaimed ‘it is in the 1st percentile for specificity in diagnostic tools’, a truly amazing result.

Our BMedSci student hopes to go to the Rxxxx Mxxxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx’s Hospital and to gain entry is currently working on a panacea that involves every treatment possible simultaneously because ’delayed treatment can be worse than delayed diagnosis’. The trial patients have a defibrillator applied, swallow a beta blocker tablet, inhale Ventolin, have IV Tazocin via cannula, have glycerol enema, whilst going through a meditation session with Monash HEP tutors to treat any potential anxiety. The Cannula reports that the potential panacea is achieving a patient centred approach with none of the trial patients lodging a complaint so far.

 

If you are a writer, fan, hater or corporate lawyer for [De-identified] Hospital, please send your ideas, money, hate mail or cease and desist letter to xxx1.spam.1xxx@gmail.com!

On apples, oranges and ripples

By Natalie Liu 

In an education system which intrinsically pits us against one another, which ranks us on how many marks we lost in some exam or assignment, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others.

In a high-pressure course where every single person is smart, driven and high-achieving, it’s hard not to diminish yourself when you don’t measure up to your peers.

In a world where success is praised, promoted and shared, and ‘failure’ is kept to yourself, it’s hard not to feel ashamed if you didn’t quite make it. Especially if others have.

It’s that clench in your jaw when you can’t grasp a concept that everyone else in the lecture theatre seems to get, the tension in your shoulders when you hear your friend has finished the matrix and you’ve barely begun picking your way through Cardio, the twisting in your gut when you’ve struggled to just pass the year, while others seem to sail through with ease. Thoughts like “what am I doing in this course?”, “how will I ever make a good doctor if I can’t even do xyz?” begin to swirl around; crippling doubts, fears and insecurities seep into your day-to-day psychology.

Is it impostor syndrome? Probably. Med student type A personality? Definitely. The good news is, if all this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Not at all.

We all have defining moments in our lives. Like ripples in still water, they travel unchecked and gradually affect every part of our lives. I’m not sure exactly when or where I picked up the habit of comparing myself to others, but it was making me miserable, and I wasn’t even aware of it.

My epiphany came one fateful afternoon during a delightful Digilab on neuroanatomy (that one where Lazarus maps out all the cranial nerves and their function). I was sitting with a friend – let’s call her X. As X and I struggled to keep up, the other members of our table seemed to pick it up just like*that*, and cruised through. Again, that prickling feeling of panic and frustration began to rise within me; soon enough, I wasn’t even taking in what our professor was saying. I glanced over at X, and was completely shocked to see that she was smiling. I questioned her about the little grin, to which she replied, “all these people are so smart! It’s inspiring, I want to be like that.”

Mind. Blown.

To X, what she’d said was probably just a comment in passing, but to me, it formed the basis of a completely different psychology. It got me thinking- why not let these moments inspire you, rather than highlight your deficits? Why compare yourself to someone whose brain is wired completely differently? Or to someone whose life and circumstances are entirely different? Isn’t it like trying to compare apples and oranges?

And just like that, I created my own ripple, and consciously directed it towards something more positive and self-accepting.

So, here we are, almost a year later. Breaking down habits, especially ones that’ve been rooted within your mindset for years, is like bulldozing a mountain. But I continue to chip away at it at my own pace, and hope I’ll build a new one, with a sunnier view.

At last, here’s my guide to combatting those moments. Can’t say I’ve mastered it, but I’m trying at least.

  1. Acknowledge: When you feel that panic start to rise again, acknowledge it. It’s normal. And whether you believe it or not, everyone else around you is probably feeling the same deep down.
  2. Breathe: Take a deep breath in and out. Let that tension dissipate.
  3. Mantra: At this point, I’ll say to myself- “apples and oranges”. (But if your thing is tacos and quesadillas, well, you do you.)

 

Then, put those blinkers on and move forward.

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

-Theodore Roosevelt

A Monash Love Letter to the Jaffies

#8519

Clayton/Medicine/Being a first year

 

Scrolling through Monash Love Letters has become a part of my daily routine. Reading through the sad breakup messages and hopeful love letters to strangers with the excitement that maybe one day I will come across one for myself. It’s funny how I treat it as light-hearted banter, until I read one that I can personally relate to.

 

Over the past semester, several letters written by first year Medical students have appeared on my newsfeed, many hitting close to home. Starting university was most likely a daunting process for many of us. Even having grown up in the area and living close to campus, the thought of having to leave my old friends and start a new chapter of my life amongst strangers in a course I was interested in yet uncertain about was nerve-wrecking.

 

First year is the start of a long journey, and as a second-year student looking back, I too remember the feeling of not quite fitting in. I remember feeling disconnected from my peers as they greeted each other every day with hugs and excitement. As someone who is naturally introverted, I often felt uncomfortable around large groups of people I did not know well, mostly whom seemed extroverted and enthusiastic. As many students know, compared to other university courses, Medicine can be ‘cliquey’ and as semester passes by, it can seem difficult to make new friends once everyone has settled into their own groups. If you are in the same shoes as I was, it is easy to use study to escape the insecurity and anxiety associated with the stress of the course.

 

Eventually, I decided I would be the one who had to actively get to know my peers, even if the thought of making small talk was something I dreaded. I did not want to make superficial relationships just for the sake of making friends in my course; rather, I decided to get to know people who I felt I could ride out my medical journey with. When you find people you can click with you don’t feel the need to change yourself to fit into ‘the group’, rather you feel comfortable being your complete self around them. Thankfully, I have a small but close group who I can study, party and have fun with. Get involved, stick around after classes and lectures, go to events and even if it seems lonely, you are not alone with this feeling.

 

It is important to note that medicine can be one the loneliest professions. It can be difficult to maintain long-lasting friendships while studying full time at university for long hours, continuing into residency and clinical training. As much as it is rewarding, medicine is a demanding and competitive career where much of your study is reliant on working and spending time alone.

 

We all know medicine is a hard and stressful course, so we have to do everything we can to look out for one another. I encourage you all to check up on your friends and to be inclusive and welcoming. Although you may be comfortable in your bubble of friendship, go to events and get to know new people, approach your peers if they look like they would like some company and shoot your shot with the person you wrote a MLL about, because we are all in this long journey together.