From the moment you enter medical school, you look forward to the day that you get your first stethoscope. Like a wand to a wizard, the stethoscope is the symbol that you have arrived, and that you can finally start using your hard-earned skills in the real world.
Your first stethoscope is an important decision; here’s what you need to know to make it right:
When the time comes to finally buying your first stethoscope, the confusion arrives. You see different doctors wearing different stethoscopes, your seniors give different bits of advice, your friends search in google and come with conflicting reviews, you yourself search and get confused. In the end, it becomes a massive dilemma as to what to buy.
First thing first, you have to decide whether you are buying your stethoscope for temporary use or for a long-term use. Some students decide that they will buy a stethoscope to use while they are in college, and they will invest in buying a good one when they are actually out there in the hospitals. So you have to be very clear as to what is the purpose. Is it long term or short term?
You need to know what your budget is. You have to make up your mind on how much you want to spend on this and again this connects with the decision you take as to whether this is a long-term or a short-term investment. If it’s a short-term investment, then you don’t have to go for a big budget. You can manage easily. So this is an important decision you need to make.
Most importantly you should remember why you need a stethoscope in the first place. We need it to hear the sound of the heartbeat or the sounds inside a patient’s body. The first thing you need to do when you’re testing a new one is to listen to your own heartbeat and see how loud it is. It should not be like whispering. It should be like someone talking next to you. There is a critical difference because if you can’t hear clearly you want be able to make accurate diagnoses.
If the tubing of the stethoscope is stiff that is not a great sign. Hang it vertically and see whether there are any bends. Squeeze it and see whether a bend stays there permanently or whether it is flexible enough. If there is an issue with the tube that can affect the long term functionality of the equipment.
When you are a doctor you’ll be wearing your stethoscope for hours on end, so it’s important that the ear-tips are comfortable. Check whether the ear-tips hurt you and if they do then means it will make you uncomfortable over time and that’s the last thing you need at the end of an 18 hour shift at the emergency room!
You should be able to adjust the headset so that it fits and it’s comfortable. You should be able to gently squeeze the ear-tips and adjust the headset so that it fits comfortably and does not hurt you.
It is important that your stethoscope is light. If it is too heavy when the days are hectic it will be a trouble for you. So try to go for a lighter stethoscope.Ok, now it’s up to you to make your own choice! The wand may choose the wizard, but as a doctor you need to make sure you have the right equipment for the job. Hopefully this list of criteria will help you choose a first stethoscope that you will be able to wear with confidence and pride.
Have you all ever heard the phrase: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? To what degree is this true? When it comes to medical knowledge, it makes perfect sense–specially by considering the amount of info involved.
Each med student has many tasks to deal with so keeping up with the updates and refreshing one’s core knowledge doesn’t seem that easy. Yet, it isn’t that hard if you integrate it into your lifestyle. In view that what works for some doesn’t work for everyone, I’ll present a few best practices for you to decide wisely.
In fact, learning should be a lifelong practice; just like the lifestyle changes you’ll be asking patients to make when they are diagnosed with a chronic condition. Let’s put it simple: make it a habit naturally incorporated into your daily life and then it won’t look so overwhelming.
If you are not the kind of student who likes sitting down with a pile of books in a room at the end of the day or during breakfast/lunch/dinner, you might be one of those who prefers learning while being on the go. For example, you could do it on the elliptical machine at the gym or on your daily bus/tram commute. As you sweat it out on the machine, you’ll absorb relevant information that could be beneficial afterwards.
While exercising, you could also listen to specific podcasts. Some suggestions are the New England Journal of Medicine podcast with Steve Morrissey or the one with Joe Elia: NEJM Journal Watch, as well as general news podcasts from NPR or The Economist. It’s not about listening to them all every day; just some of it.
For instance, you may read Journal Watch content in general medicine, hospital medicine, diabetes, etc. This method might be interesting for those who hear something once and don’t have it down cold, so they need to reinforce the information they get (e.g. some of the daily headlines from First Watch get explored further in Journal Watch stories).
Others are more of visual learners and for that, I would recommend using some question banks as you’d be able to go through a great deal of questions at a manageable pace. You’d also have more time to review what you didn’t answer right. Speeding up your test-taking skills is as critical as increasing your knowledge, as advised by Judi Kesselman-Turkel & Franklynn Peterson in their bestseller work Test–taking Strategies.
Keeping up with the latest information is just part and parcel of the job, and that’s when Qupi enters the game. It makes students review essential topics; the core medical info that is to be constantly reviewed if you want to be a respectful clinician right after your med studies. I believe that is your main goal, isn’t it?
Yet, it’s not really the case. It amounts to maybe 15 minutes a day (or a bit more depending on your availability). Just put in a little time up front by signing up for alerts from products like Qupi and it will all come to you. My advice to someone who thinks this is too much work: start small, and build a habit. Don’t bite off more than you can chew (:
For example, Future Doc House explains medical issues and shares the knowledge he gained through his medical studies. You can also find material linked with microbiology via easy-to-understand and straight-to-the-point practical videos. In this way, you’d benefit from the net.
Go find the sources that suit you better and discover your personalized routine (remember not to compare yourself though, as per my previous article). Once you set it up, sticking to it turns out not to be that tough.
Does any of the recommendations above make sense at all? If so (or if not) please leave your comment or any doubt/question below. A last phrase I’d like you to remember: practice makes perfect, so keep trying and assess your own outcome as you move forward. To subscribe to Qupi, click on the link that follows => Continue with Facebook
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