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.

Continue reading

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”.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Rest and Recalibrate

By Faye Liu

As the weather gets colder, the financial year draws to an end, and post-exam crammed knowledge slowly escapes our brain, most of us would have entered our mid-year breaks – the perfect time to rest and recalibrate. For some, this may be a long awaited period after a busy first semester, for others, the perfect time to make a trip back home.

Continue reading

The Finish Line: On the race that is medical school and where we go wrong

By Erin Stewart

From the moment we enter into medical school, we have entered a race. We are constantly achieving remarkable things, but do we ever really stop and appreciate them before the next stage of the race begins again? Where is there time to slow down and appreciate all we have achieved? Entry into medical school, exam results, fun clinical placements, an internship spot..?

Continue reading

Medical school vs. friendships

By Sherihan Goni

Med school is tough. Between the crazy influx of information, long hours of study trying to keep up, many many cups of coffee and the all-consuming, exhausted sleep that follows, often it becomes hard to maintain a social life. It becomes really easy to isolate oneself from people, to hide behind a laptop and piles of books, until one day you sadly realise you’re better acquainted with the grooves on your desk than actual people.

Continue reading

On Suicide: Let’s Start With Honesty

By Grace Scolyer

“If more people talked about what leads to suicide, if people didn’t talk about it as if it was shameful, if people understood how easily and quickly depression can take over, then there might be fewer deaths.”

-The wife of Dr Andrew Bryant, Brisbane gastroenterologist who committed suicide three weeks ago

I have only ever admitted to three people in the world the deepest extent of the depression. All three of them forced it out of me, asked me at points where I was too weak to lie, to scared not to admit it, terrified of how they would react but even more terrified of what I could do to myself if I kept it in any longer.

Continue reading