To Embrace the Dying Light

By Victor Senthinathan
Honourable Mention, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 2: Tell us about an encounter with a patient that has significantly shaped your understanding of medical practice or changed your worldview.

I always thought of hospitals as unpleasant places. It was a place where sick and dying people congregated, where white walls stretched out aimlessly and there was the ever-present promise of a registrar quizzing me on something I had just forgotten.

On this day however, my hospital seemed idyllic. It was the type of day where sunlight didn’t just stream into rooms, but cascaded off walls, golden glitter veiling the room. It was the type of day where every ward held smiling patients with easily identifiable differential diagnoses. It was the type of the day where your clinically appropriate shoes can’t help but skip into a room to find a patient for your case report. This is where I met Mary. I would be amiss as a medical student to not mention that the patient has been de-identified to maintain patient confidentiality.

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Changing Climates and Curricula

By Cecilia Xu
Honourable Mention, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 3: Describe an aspect of medical school or medical practice that we do poorly, and discuss how we could best remedy this.

In 2009, The Lancet published a landmark report declaring climate change to be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century (1). It was the first report published in a medical journal of this calibre to draw attention to the effects of climate change on human health, both now and into the future. These included water and food insecurity, extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods, and increased burden from infectious, psychological, and cardiorespiratory diseases. In 2015, a follow-up report was released (2). Unfortunately, projected outcomes were even more severe than originally anticipated. We are now in the midst of a global health emergency.

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Memories from the Bed

By Conor McDonald
Preclinical Winner, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 2: Tell us about an encounter with a patient that has significantly shaped your understanding of medical practice or changed your worldview.

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My wife, Margie, sat to my left as we ate our dinner. A few grey strands peaked through her long dark hair. She had brown eyes and she was beautiful. Next to her was our 5-year-old son George. He looked a lot like me. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a chubby face with flushed cheeks. Our family filled me with pride. Whilst the ‘energy saving’ lights my wife had begged me to get made me feel like I was in a hospital – a place for the sick and dying – we managed to bring life to our cosy little home.

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Speaking the Language of Medicine

By Jason Ha
Clinical Winner, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 2: Tell us about an encounter with a patient that has significantly shaped your understanding of medical practice or changed your worldview.

“There’s an angsty patient out there—”

“—So impat—“

Over the hubbub in the nurse’s station, I could barely paint out a coherent description of the patient. 82 years old. Surgical Post-Op Clinic.

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Year 4C: The Premiership Quarter

By Jeremy Cheng

The third quarter of an AFL match has traditionally been coined the “Premiership Quarter”. The quarter where title contenders rush out of the blocks and build an unbeatable lead that brings enough momentum to carry them to victory. The quarter where champions, time and time again, somehow muster the determination and verve to bring out the very best of themselves. The quarter where prior mistakes can be remedied and forgotten. The most important quarter where teams set themselves up for success.

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Your One Stop Self-Care Shop

By Grace Scolyer

There was a stage last year where if I heard my therapist use the term “self-care” one more time, I would have actually screamed. It was such a vague, elusive term that brought to my mind bubble baths and facemasks, green smoothies and 5am runs – a bunch of things that seemed so beneath what I considered to be effective ways of dealing with my symptoms. I didn’t see how adult colouring books were meant to fix my cloudy brain, and I didn’t have the energy in me to give it a go, or the resilience to deal with it inevitably failing to cure me.

So if any part of that resonates with your relationship with the idea of self-care, perhaps this guide will be of some help to you. Self-care isn’t all 10pm technology curfews and yoga; it takes many forms, depending on your experiences, what your busy schedule permits, but most importantly, what you need for yourself.

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OSCE Debut

By Rashid Elhawli

Ask any medical student about exams and two things should pop up; written exams and OSCEs. Most are familiar with the drill behind written exams, but less are aware of the awkward OSCE experience.

OSCE is short for Objective Structured Clinical Examination, which is a fancy way of saying that you are simulating a real-life doctor-patient encounter. The first official experience with this kind of examination was at the end of our first semester, when we had a practice run. The day was set-out so that it would be as similar as possible to the real thing.

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An Antidote to Toxic People

By Monique Kowitz

We’ve all encountered them, be it the boss who bullies and demeans you, the colleague who revels in making you look bad, the difficult neighbour, the family member who brings drama every time you see or speak them, or the best friend who constantly flakes on you. What all these people have in common is toxicity. They exude negativity – either consciously or unconsciously – and do nothing to enhance your life. In fact, they do the opposite – they create unnecessary complexity, conflict and, worst of all, stress.

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