Connection: the unsung cure

By Pravik Solanki and Susie Westbury

Dear reader, we live in strange times. We’ve been told countless times of the evils of sugar, the perils of experimenting with drugs, and the hazards of straying from the Mediterranean diet. But there’s an important warning that’s never a part of these conversations, something that has an even worse impact on mortality than obesity: loneliness and social isolation.(1)

Continue reading

Do Better: On the pursuit of perfection

By Mary Crabtree

Do better. Be better. Think better. We are relentlessly slammed with this pressure to do and be and think better. It comes from inside our own heads, and from an illusion that medical students should be able to ‘handle it’. We are inflated by those fleeting moments of praise from a consultant or an inspiring patient encounter, but this feeling is too often swiftly replaced by an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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