Tag: medical school

Hopkins Again Cleans Up in U.S. News Grad School Rankings

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Johns Hopkins University has unsurprisingly maintained its status atop U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of graduate programs for 2018.

Match Day is Today: Do You Know Where Your Fave Future Doc Will Land?

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Match Day 2012
Match Day 2012

Today, graduating medical students throughout the nation will find out where they will go for their residency to launch their careers. For a lot of med school students around the country — and especially in Baltimore where we have some pretty high-powered med students — it is a day full of joy and anticipation.

How the Medical School Interview Has Changed — And How It Might Affect You

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Interviews are becoming more like speed-dating. Is that a good thing?

If you look online for information about medical school interviews, you’ll find a lot of advice about how to answer questions like “What made you want to be a doctor?” and “What’s your greatest weakness?” But medical schools nationwide have been changing up their interview process to better evaluate applicants’ social skills. At these schools, candidates undergo as many as 26 (!!) two-minute interviews with 26 different interviewers. Yes, that does sound a lot like speed-dating — and no, it doesn’t sound very fun.

The Most Important Envelope of Your Life

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Match Day envelope

It was undoubtedly the tensest brunch ever.  Each of the 110 Johns Hopkins medical students had an envelope with their future inside. And they weren’t allowed to open it until noon. Until then, they drank champagne and stared at a breakfast they were too nervous to eat.

There’s nothing else quite like Match Day, the moment when all the nation’s medical students find out — at the exact same time! — where they’ll be doing their residencies, and in what specialty. Months before the big day, students rank their preferred programs, judging each by various criteria:  do they want to live in California? Do they want to work at a top-notch hospital? Where is the best endocrinology program in the country, anyway? After an anxious series of interviews, each program also ranks students. Then a mysteriously omniscient computer algorithm sorts it all out, placing students in programs that they asked for, but that also want them… thus determining a huge chunk of their future.

Social Media for Medical Students

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Often when we hear about students tweeting, it’s for the wrong reasons — the football player breaking NCAA rules by using racial slurs against an opponent; the high schooler who got in trouble with the Kansas governor for an inappropriate hashtag (#heblowsalot). But with social media an increasingly pervasive part of daily life, it would be nice if there was some way to make it work for students, instead of just against them.

Cue Meg Chisolm, a psychiatrist and professor at Johns Hopkins. She’s a fan of tweeting, both personally and professionally, and she’s hoping to use her experience to help Johns Hopkins medical students figure out where social media might fit into their medical careers.

Chisolm herself has two professional Twitter accounts; @whole_patients demystifies psychiatry for doctors and patients alike (sample tweet:  Curiosity is one of core features I look for in #meded interviews. Surprisingly rare among med school & residency applicants) and @psychpearls, where she offers clinical tidbits for psychiatrists -in-training (sample tweet:  Lack of reliability in dx of specific DSM personality d/os raises the question:  is this diagnosis or “sophisticated” name-calling? #meded). She sees them as ways to connect with her colleagues, patients, and the wider public.

But social media plus medicine can be a volatile combination, too — especially for students who’ve grown up in a low-privacy world. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found an alarming number of blogs and Facebook posts by docs-in-training that contained all sorts of identifying information. Even when patients aren’t involved, a young doctor’s social media presence might not exactly connote professionalism, depending on how many look-at-me-wasted-at-Mardi-Gras pictures s/he has up.

Which is exactly why Chisolm and her colleague Tabor Flickinger are designing a pilot study to train third-year medical students on the potential benefits and pitfalls of social media use. Other medical schools, including Brown, the University of Chicago, and George Washington, already have social media curricula; this is Hopkins’s chance to catch up.

Students in the study will post on a private blog, which will help them mull over the challenging situations posed by their medical training. “They can reflect on encounters and situations that might have bothered them, or talk about successes,” Dr. Flickinger said. “This experience will teach them skills of reflective writing, and to think critically about issues of professionalism. It’s also a proactive way to get them to use social media in a professional way before they are released into the wild, so to speak. And do so in a protected way.”

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