Before Starting Your Clinical Years Do This

“The life so short, the craft so long to learn. ” ― Hippocrates

Medicine. It takes your whole young adult life to grasp.  Always a Practice.  Rarely mastered.
Looking back on my journey to this place in my life, I can honestly admit to myself and to anyone if asked that if I had to do it all over, I wouldn't change anything about it.

I can not seem to contain my excitement for the new academic year as we will begin our ward rotations and subjects in the clinical sciences that I just enjoy! I'm not looking forward to our never ending examinations but that comes with the territory and I'm sure I'll adjust just fine. As this is my last summer to myself, I scribbled down a few things that I would like to do before my clinical years begin and I no longer have the flexibility in my schedule as I grew accustomed to these past two years.

4 Things To Do Before Starting Your Clinical Years

1. Travel 

Whether it be a three day weekend to a neighbouring island or country. If you can afford it, pack your bags and go somewhere. Experience a new culture, catch up with friends who live out of state or out of country and enjoy the new found freedom you now have. 

You will cherish the memories you make traveling and any photos taken from your trip can serve as motivation to your next reunion with your friends or just inspire you to save up for a nice graduation trip. 

2.  Gather Your Tools

During the pre-clinical years, you rarely utilize basic tools such as a stethoscope, patella hammer or even a pen light. These years are spent hunched over textbooks and lecture material in order to grasp and understand the basics of medicine. Now that you have a few weeks or more off between the pre-clinical and paraclinical years, take this time to shop for all of your necessities and supplies. 

If your school offers a list of suppliers where you can receive a discount on items, use them. If not there are numerous sites where everything can be purchased together with the option of engraving. I personally used mainly because friends of mine recommended them. 

In addition to your tools, you will also need new school gear and to restock your index cards, highlighters, notepads and binder stash. This is a fun way to get excited about this next step. Choose items that will last throughout your remaining years of school. It may require spending a few extra dollars for a pair of Danskos, but your feet will thank you later and they're an item you can use as you start residency as well. 

3.  Catch Up On Your Hobbies

Yes you know those things you use to do before you found yourself consumed with schoolwork. Last summer I dabbled with painting. It was quite the stress reliever and it introduced me to an artistic side I didn't know I had. Whatever your interests are OUTSIDE of medicine, find some time doing those things. 

It may be a while before you ever get to enjoy some of them once the academic year begins.  

4. Review Material You May Have Forgotten

If you're anything like myself, then you'd like to start this new page somewhat prepared. Or at least familiar with the material that may have become so foreign. 

Take an hour or so each day to watch videos, read through BRS books for the subject of your choice or going over lecture notes. It may be wise to try and find information pertaining to the pathology of organ systems that you have already covered and do your best to integrate the material. 

I've found myself utilizing apps such as  Figure 1, Visual Anatomy and Essential Skeleton 4 when I'm not in the mood for reading a textbook. The Figure 1 app allows me to follow cases and their discussions and learn all at the same time. For cases that I find most intriguing I favorite the image, make a note of it in my book or on a notepad I use when I study to look up later when I'm reviewing that organ system. It's a good way of becoming exposed to things you may (at some point) see and staying abreast of various diseases and ailments.

Is there anything you're doing differently this summer to help in your pre-clinical to paraclinical transition? Which apps are you using? 

I am an ambassador of Figure 1. By downloading the app with the link provided on this site, my class will be eligible for a free catered lunch and I will receive promotional products. I am not affiliated or associated with all, Visual Anatomy App or Essential Skeleton App. The opinions above are my own and not influenced by any payment from these companies. 

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