Monthly Archives: February 2016

HOW TO CURE WILLFUL BLINDNESS

Willful-BlindnessThis article originally appeared on The Wealthy Physician Blog.

What is willful blindness?

Willful blindness is a term used to describe when a person knowingly ignores facts about a difficult problem in order to not have to deal with the particular issue at hand.

Here are two important examples of willful blindness that affect many aspiring doctors.

1) MEDICAL SCHOOL

Every year medical students across the country apply to the residency match in the hopes of securing a coveted residency spot. Unless you’re actually a medical student this process is probably not familiar to you.

Most people assume that getting into medical school ensures that a medical student will become a doctor once that student graduates, however, this is far from the truth. Getting into medical school is a huge accomplishment but it is only one step in a gruelingly long, arduous process to becoming a doctor.

Matching into residency is the culmination of medical school and the next step for a future doctor but still not the final one. The problem with the residency match process arises when a medical student who applies to the residency match fails to actually get a residency spot.

Unfortunately, this is a common reality for many medical students that occurs at an absurdly high rate. In addition, many medical students match into a residency spot that they don’t really want just to make sure they end up somewhere. Doesn’t sound like what most people would imagine what it is to become a doctor does it?

As you’ve probably heard a great deal about in the news lately there is a shortage of doctors in our country. Despite the media coverage this issue receives there is confusingly nothing being done to correct it.

No new residency spots are being created and whats even worse is that there are new medical schools opening up each year creating an even larger gap between the number of medical students and residency spots available for them to match into and doing nothing to fix the doctor shortage!

There are more than forty thousand medical students who apply to the residency match each year and this number is growing because of the addition of new medical schools. Since many of these medical students will not match into residency at all or will match into an undesirable residency spot Docs of Tomorrow was developed to provide expertise and guidance to medical students to help them match into their top choice for residency.

Docs of Tomorrow is also speaking up about the problem with the residency match on behalf of all medical students so they can spend their time focusing on what they need to do to secure their top residency choice.

2) FINANCIAL PLANNING

When it comes to planning for the future nothing is bigger than finances, however, many doctors don’t have the slightest clue how to manage them. Doctors spend years learning medicine but this often leaves them with little time to learn about money.

With the rapid increase in student loans and the lessons from the financial crises in recent years it is very clear that ignoring one’s finances is a problem that can’t be ignored any longer. There is no such thing as starting financial planning too early.

Although medical school is very challenging in its own right this is often the time when financial problems first arise because of the initiation of large amounts of student loan debt to cover the rising costs of medical school. It is also a time when finances are typically tight because of lack of income.

Now this lack of income means medical students have less money to spend it also means they have less to lose. The reality is medical school is actually the ideal time to start learning about financial planning.

Medical students should take advantage of the opportunity to learn how to manage their finances before becoming a doctor rather than waiting until they are one. Just like how becoming a doctor requires years of learning and practicing medicine financial planning should be approached in a similar way.

One can’t expect to simply jump into difficult financial decisions without any financial knowledge like one can’t expect to perform open heart surgery with no medical and surgical training.

Chandler Advisors, the parent company of The Wealthy Physician focuses on educating and helping doctors manage their wealth. They advise on retirement and investment planning, insurance protection, and wealth management strategies.

Doctors are targets because of their reputation in society as wealthy individuals, regardless of whether or not this is even true nowadays. As a result, every future doctor should acquire financial knowledge early on with the help of qualified professionals much in the same way medical knowledge is acquired in medical school and residency training.

In this way future doctors will be appropriately prepared for how to manage their career earnings, ultimately achieving financial success and happiness in life.

WHAT MEDICAL STUDENTS SHOULD FOCUS ON IN THE NEW YEAR

WHAT-MEDICAL-STUDENTS-SHOULD-FOCUS-ON-IN-THE-NEW-YEAR-1

This article originally appeared on The Wealthy Physician Blog.

In this article we detail key points to focus on in the new year for each of the four years of medical school. We recommend reading about the year you’re currently in first, but the information for the years ahead of you (if applicable) will also be helpful.

FOURTH YEAR: THE MATCH

If you’re a fourth year medical student interview season is winding down this time of year. Sending post-interview thank you letters should not be forgotten. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when preparing them:

1.  Make sure to send thank you letters to anyone you came in contact with during your interview.

This is important because each program has a different process for creating their rank order list so you never know who will have a major influence in where you match!

2.  Make them personal whether you send hand-written letters or emails.

Start with a template, but be sure to address each letter by the person’s name you’re sending it to (double check spelling!). Also mention a unique component of your interaction with that person in your letter to personalize it further.

3. You can usually obtain names and email addresses of the people you came into contact with on your interview day in the packet supplied to you by the program.

If there is anyone you would like to send a thank you letter to who’s contact information is missing then contact the residency coordinator who ran your interview day to request it.

4. Feel free to use an online service to streamline the letter-writing process and make things easier on you during this hectic time.

A simple Google search will supply you with a few quality options to choose from.

THIRD YEAR: AUDITION ROTATIONS

This is the time of year for third year medical students to start scheduling audition, or showcase, rotations. These are a critical aspect of your future since audition rotations serve multiple important functions including the following:

1. If you’re on the fence about what specialty to choose then doing audition rotations in different specialties will provide useful information to help you decide which specialty to pursue for the match.

Keep in mind we recommend applying to just one specialty for the match as the NRMP match data shows that applicants who don’t match typically apply to more specialties on average than those who do match.

2. Many programs will automatically grant guaranteed interview offers to students who rotate with them. Enough said.

3. Gather additional information about programs.

Audition rotations are not just a way for you to shine at programs you’re interested in to increase your chances of matching there, but they also provide you the significant opportunity to gather additional information about the programs that you won’t get in just a single interview day.
Think of it as your chance to conduct an extended interview of the programs (which is exactly what they’re doing to you!). This additional information may be a major factor when it comes to ranking programs.

As an example, what I anticipated would be a lock for my number one program on my rank order list dropped to number two after I rotated there.

Check out our podcast episode Audition Rotations  for a more detailed discussion on this topic.

SECOND YEAR: BOARDS

There’s no way to deny the importance of doing well on the boards. Whether you’re an allopathic or osteopathic medical student your board scores are the number one determining factor for getting into residency.

Residency programs put more stock in your board scores than any other aspect of your application. Your board scores will also dictate which specialties you should think about applying to.

As a result, you need to focus as much of your energy as possible to doing well on the boards. Here are some tips for how to do just that:

1.  Start Studying Early

Starting early allows you to get your feet wet without the stress that comes later. It also allows you to try multiple ways to study and find out which one will work best for you.

2. Pick a Single Strategy

Once you’ve tried different ways to study (see number 1) you should choose the study plan that will give you the best chance to rock the boards.

3. Study with Others

Studying for the boards is even harder than studying for your classes, so be sure to have people around you that are supportive and know what you’re going through. Find at least one other classmate you can study with to stay motivated.

4. Take Breaks When You Need Them

Studying all day every day for at least six or eight weeks straight without a break will surely wear you down.

Take a day off here or there and do something fun to take your mind off studying when you feel like you really need it. It will serve to clear your head and rejuvenate you.

5. Don’t Get Discouraged

Stick with your plan and keep plugging away. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t see good results from studying early on.

If you’re studying enough and correctly then you’ll eventually get to where you need to be in terms of your score.

Check out our podcast episode “How to Rock the Boards” for a more detailed discussion on this topic.

FIRST YEAR: START THINKING AHEAD

After completing the first half of my first year of medical school I started the second part with my summer vacation already in mind. Now that’s one way to start thinking ahead!

However, there are definitely other important ways to plan for your future as a medical student so lets break down what we really mean here:

1. Volunteering, research, and shadowing are all excellent ways to gain additional experience outside of the classroom that can go a long way in helping you choose your specialty, match into residency, and ultimately shape your future.

2. Getting good grades and board scores are everyone’s goals in medical school, but you will also need to figure out other ways to stand out when you apply to residency.

You will make yourself a stronger candidate for residency by developing unique extracurricular experiences that can go in your application.

3. Make your time off worthwhile for you as a person, not just a medical student. If you need some time off from studying to travel and experience new things that you’ve never been able to do, then do it!

If you’re interested in combining travel with a CV builder then consider doing a study abroad program to gain experience while traveling.

4. Medical school is just one part of your life’s journey. In order to achieve true happiness you should think beyond just medical school.

Even though it’s often difficult to actually do this when you’re bogged down with studying for tests and preparing for rotations, keeping this perspective in mind will help you focus on the real reason you’re in medical school in the first place – to become a doctor and live a successful, meaningful life.

What exactly this means is totally unique to you so think about what your ultimate goals for your future are and start planning on how you’ll achieve them.