Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Register
How to Survive Medical School 101: A Practical Guide for EMIG Officers
Share |

By Sarah Smetana & Lenexa Morais (UTMB Galveston Medical Students, Class of 2021)

“Island Time” – a way of life for Galveston Island locals and tourists exists from the 32-miles of sunny gulf shores to the streets of the 1850’s Strand Historic District. Instead of the relaxing mornings and beach-going afternoons; however, students from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) were busier than ever during the 2018-2019 academic year. Lead by our six-person officer team, UTMB’s EMIG has expanded its interprofessional diversity, hosted 10 speakers, held 4 skills workshops, provided many EM faculty mentoring relationships, and helped to organize mock interviews for upcoming residency applicants. This practical guide will walk you through the basics of EMIG care, staying sane while balancing multiple responsibilities, and offer you a great study break before you have to hit the books again.

1. Surround yourself with people who know more than you.
The best way to learn is to find a good teacher. Our EMIG’s proudest opportunity that we can offer is providing students a one-on-one mentorship experience with a practicing EM physician that works within UTMB’s Level 1 Trauma Center. The mentorship program provides all students with a safe and guided learning experience with patients in the ED. We are appreciative of all the physicians who take on students. They devote their time and share their knowledge so that we can build on our medical education. Under their mentorship, students have the opportunity to interview patients, assist with procedures, and participate in the various aspects of care that factors into a patient’s acute treatment.

Additionally, it can never hurt to broaden your horizons by learning more about the field. This past year, UTMB’s EMIG had the pleasure of hosting 10 speakers, who graciously volunteered their time to share their EM experiences. Travelling all the way from Fort Worth, Houston, or from here on the Island, our lecturers emphasized how to develop leadership skills, explained the different EM career paths, how they could intersect with IM or critical care, and why students should consider EM. We held both a “Post-match” panel for medical students to share their residency application experience as well as a “Life as an Intern” panel where new MD’s could tell stories of life as a resident. Lastly, UTMB faculty gave targeted residency application guidance to students of all levels during a summer workshop.

2. Make sure that your team has your back.
An EM physician needs to be adaptable, lead and delegate appropriately, and communicate effectively. Our UTMB faculty advisor, Dr. Stephen Kim, is integral to our EMIG’s ongoing success. He has mentored students, trained our SIM team, and is a strong advocate of clinical education. Under his leadership, our team learned how to work together cohesively. We clearly defined our roles, set deadlines, and held regular check-ins and debriefs. When we became officers, we learned about the many moving parts of running a student organization: planning workshops and events, coordinating schedules, and ensuring that our members benefited from our activities.

School work has always been the priority, but if one officer was getting swamped with tasks, another could step in to lend a hand. From my personal experience, as the President of our EMIG, it always helped when someone had your back when the responsibilities started to stack up. Sarah Smetana, our Communications Director, frequently took on the task to bridge those gaps. She would anticipate our EMIG’s needs and meet them head on so we had the groundwork completed. This was an incredible effort and initiative on her part, and I immensely appreciated having a fellow officer who was committed to seeing our EMIG thrive. She has continued to represent our EMIG as a TCEP At-Large representative in the 2019-2020 year.

3. Learn through hands on experience and by teaching others.
The House of God author Samuel Shem, once said, “At a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse” Taking his advice, our EMIG held two vital signs workshops for many undergraduates within EMSAP and JAMP; at the end of the day, they could certainly take their own pulse. Additionally we held both suture and ultrasound workshops for medical students; we were able to give over 40 students experience practicing these skills and performing FAST exams. These workshops were a wonderful hands-on experience; however, our most unique workshop opportunity came about because of UTMB’s contract with the National Science Foundation’s US Antarctic Program. Due to this contract our members were able to volunteer as ultrasound models and learn as a standardized patient. The healthcare providers that were trained in ultrasound later began their contract in Antarctica.

Education also expands to public health. As part of community service, our EMIG participated in a Texas-wide initiative in which medical students around the state taught hands-only CPR and bleeding control within the Texas Two Step initiative and the Lone Star Survival program. These annual workshops are supported through TCEP and are steps toward bringing greater awareness to public health and safety.

4. Take time to enjoy medical school, you only do it once!
This year we held our first ever EMIG social. One of our EMIG members, Ivan Liapin, is also the Founder and President of Sail Club, thus we held a joint EMIG-Sail Charity Social. The proceeds went to St. Vincent’s, UTMB’s local, student-run clinic for patients who may not be able to afford medical care. We sailed out of Kemah and spent the day at sea with our fellow EM classmates, picnicking on the deck of a 40ft catamaran. It was a fantastic way to take a break from school and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

5. Look to the future and plan ahead.
Working to bring this organization to life and to share our passion for Emergency Medicine with our peers has been an important part of our lives for the past year. We have plans set in motion a “Fem-in-EM” panel to support more women going into EM and to explore “out of this world medicine” when UTMB’s Aerospace Medicine residents come to speak next month about how we can take our future Emergency Medicine training to the stars. The next year is looking bright and we are excited to welcome our new 2019-2020 EMIG officer team!

(We would like to say a special thanks to Dr. Stephen Kim and our fellow 2018-2019 officers: Tang Nguyen, Zach Culp, JW Slauson, and Eric Bustos for helping us grow our UTMB EMIG and making this past year a success. And a big thank you to UTMB’s amazing EM physicians who continue to mentor students, lead workshops, and take time out of their busy schedules to speak to students about this wonderful field.)

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal