IU School of Medicine IUSM Office of Admissions

Paul Maldonado

Fourth Year Medical Student



Paul Anthony Maldonado
About Me IUSM Campus:
Northwest
Hometown:
San Diego, California
PreMed Majors:
BS in Chemistry, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Little known fact about me:
I have all of the numbers on my cell phone memorized.
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You think you know… But you have no idea.


The Adventures of Tim

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on April 2, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

Hi Everybody,

When med students enter the last 2 years of med school, it is relatively easy to lose track of friends or even stay away from med students that you do not get along with.  Given that I chose the NW campus, it was easier for me to lose a lot of people I thought were buddies.  Most people go to Indianapolis for their clinical years.  I chose Gary (a choice that I would have made hundred times out of one hundred based on my thought process 2 years ago).  At some point during this time, I realized that I wanted to go to Indianapolis to get better training in the specialty field I chose.  I also thought it would be nice to catch up with a few buddies while I was down there.

I moved to Indianapolis in May 2013.  I found out very quickly most of my friends happened to be very busy with their own clerkships.  Most of my nights were stuck in my apartment studying useful information with regards to the clerkship I was in.  At times, life can get a little lonely for a med student…  Whenever I did have a friend open to hang out, it would be a quick dinner or a movie.  It was during one of the movies when I saw one of the minions from the movie “Despicable Me” as the theater’s example of how to sit at the movie theater, which I thought was funny.

When the month of July hit, I thought it was pretty risky but I took vacation in order to study for Step 2 CK.  I wanted to separate myself from everybody and only focus on doing well on Step 2 CK so that I would have better chances at getting the residency I wanted.  I also wanted to come up with a Rocky IV montage (which will be the next blog)… 

My friend in Indianapolis got a happy meal one time at Mcdonald’s (which no longer exists) at the Children’s Hospital.  That’s when she introduced me to Tim:

photo 5 (2)

Tim is obviously a toy.  When one is studying, there will be moments in time in which one would want a break.  In moments of stress, there are moments in which one will snap easily.  Instead of putting my stress on my friends or family, I just let Tim hear about it (which in hindsight does sound very insane).  After a week Tim had another buddy, IRON MAN:

 photo 4

The helped me study for Step 2 CK:

 photo 5

After the test, I took both Tim and Iron Man with me to San Diego so they could help me out with my clerkship over in San Diego.  The patients in San Diego really liked Tim, so I kept him around.  I gave Iron Man away to a family member though.  Tim always made a good impression because he’s always smiling and raising his hand.

When we came back to Indianapolis, he helped me with my hobbies ie baking…

black cupcake

 

cornbread muffin

And he went with me to my clerkships (where he was also a hit).

 backpack tim

Professional Tim…

 knfsnfosfnweofnwoen

The thing about having a minion to walk around with is that it is always a conversation piece and it can be used for stress relief.  People have their own minions that they use, such as talking out their issues with their spouses or exercising their stress away or baking or writing or watching news coverage about a Malaysian airlines flight or you name it.  I just like to make jokes about a happy meal toy.  As a medical student or even a physician, one should take that feeling of stress or pressure away from the workplace because in the long run it takes away from giving the best in patient care.  It might be difficult find a healthy way which can dissipate your stress without passing it on to others physically or emotionally (through social media or texting), but being able to take care of your own stress can help you grow and make you a stronger person.

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!!! :)

PS. General Surgery patients like Minions also…


Military Match… And why talk about it now????

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on @ 2:10 am

Hi Everybody,

By plan, I completely gave up any discussion of any of my thoughts and feelings during the fourth year of med school.  I wanted to share my life at the end of fourth year so that I wouldn’t get anybody’s hopes or dreams for myself up and I didn’t want to come off to pretentious.  As of now, I have finished all of the tests required to graduate from IUSM and have one more elective left.  I also thought it would be a little cool to start my story for this year at a key moment in time… Military Match Day…

December 2013, Vacation Month…

During the 4th year of med school at IUSM, rotations start on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month.  Depending on how people set up their 3rd year, a student can have either 2 or 3 vacation months.  I had 3, so I chose July, December, and May.  I chose December, because I wanted to have a day for Step 2 CS and I wanted time to visit my family in Puerto Rico.

December also happens to be the same month as military match.  The date set for this school year was December 18, 2013 at 0000 Eastern time. 

Match day is a pretty big moment for medical students.  It is the day where they learn where they are going to be doing their training as Doctors a couple of months after med school finishes.  Regardless of strong performances in some clinical clerkships, a strong step 2 CK performance, and what I felt were a few good interviews, I was still feeling nervous about the strength of my overall application.  I barely had passing grades during my first 2 years and my step 1 was subpar.  In the military, it also matters a lot to have family members who actually have been in the military or to have served in the past (things which I do not have).  Still didn’t stop me from trying.

Military Match day…

I had been waiting for what may have been the longest week of my life (mostly because there is no tv to watch at my aunt’s house in Puerto Rico). 

11:00 pm December 17, 2013: I was in bed checking the military match website to see if it still worked.  This event actually happened multiple times throughout the day on December 17th… and let’s face it, the entire week leading up.

11:30 pm December 17, 2013: I texted my Navy buddies wishing them luck.  I also checked facebook for any random status updates about the match.  Apparently somebody took 40 minutes to go through a map that he found online, then I clicked on that link, then I stopped after 5 min due to lack of interest.

11:55 pm December 17, 2013: Wondered why I chose to go to Puerto Rico because 0000 Eastern time is equal to 0100 Puerto Rican time.

12:10 am December 18, 2013: Tried to take a nap. #epicfail

12:55 am December 18, 2013: Pulled out my laptop to connect to the internet (yes it’s odd that she has internet without tv, but that’s a story for another time).  Couldn’t connect to the internet.  Panicked.  Tried the internet on my phone.  Phone died.

1:00 am December 18, 2013 Panicked because my phone is charging.

1:02 am December 18, 2013 The moment of truth.  The page was loading on my phone, and I was going to see where I matched.  It felt like I was waiting all of my life for this.  I worked so hard in med school to get to this point and I was finally going to see what’s the next step in my career.

 

I MATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

TRANSITIONAL YEAR – NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER PORTSMOUTH

 

So exciting… Although Transitional year is a hodgepodge of multiple specialties not unlike going through the 3rd yr of med school all over again, it fulfills the requirements of going into anesthesia or dermatology or even radiology.  According to some numbers that I pulled off of google, Transitional year is relatively competitive to get into:

 

COMPARING STEP 1 SCORES FOR RESIDENCY MATCH IN 2009 TO 2011

 

U.S Seniors

Specialty

Matched 2009

Matched 2011

Unmatched 2009

Unmatched 2011

Anesthesiology

224

226

206

203

Dermatology

242

244

231

227

Diag Radiology

238

240

220

211

Emergency Med

222

223

206

207

Family Med

214

213

196

201

Gen Surgery

NA

227

NA

207

Internal Med

NA

226

NA

210

Internal Med/Peds

NA

230

NA

219

Neurosurgery

239

239

224

218

Neurology

225

225

206

212

Obstetrics & Gynecology

219

220

208

202

Orthopaedic Surgery

238

240

221

225

Otolaryngology

240

243

223

232

Pathology

227

226

212

195

Pediatrics

219

221

206

206

Physical Med & Rehab

214

214

191

195

Plastic Surgery

245

249

232

238

Psychiatry

216

214

205

198

Radiation Oncology

238

240

228

217

Transitional Year

236

NA

228

NA

         
         

Early Match 2009

Matched

 

Unmatched

 
Urology *

235-240

     
Ophthalmology

235

 

212

 

*Estimates Based on Averages from Student Survey

   

 

I am so glad to have matched somewhere in the Navy; however, the moment itself was pretty bittersweet.  I told everybody in my family.  I told my friends.  Everybody’s response was one of confusion and apology.  I’m going to have the opportunity to paid to do what I love to do (helping people), and people are feeling bad for me.  Why????

I’ve seen a couple of movies lately that sort of go back and forth in timelines within them, and I wanted to write my blogs in that type of sequence.  Thus the answer to this question will be answered in a couple of short blogs.

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!!! :)


Keep on Blogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on September 9, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

Hi Everybody,

It has been a while since my last blog, and I’m sure that all 5 of you readers out there want to know about what has been going on with my life… Or at least you want to spend time doing something else. 

In response to my last blog, I’ve reached the following conclusions:

  1. Sleep is very important; however, there is a struggle between actually reading the must know material and the amount of sleep you can allow yourself…
  2. I was tracking my function for a while, but 5,000 calories a day is not good when combined with a sedentary lifestyle, 10 hrs of work and minimal sleep.
  3. My project is a good idea for a person with slightly more free time.

I wanted to bring up something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.  I think one of the hardest things to do in medical school is writing one of these blogs.  Considering that everybody has to go through the same tests, the same changes in the way medical education is managed, and other similar obstacles, the blog sort of adds on to that stress. 

When I started writing a couple years back, I was pretty cavalier about what went on.  I shared my rant about robots and medicine, I shared my own failures (epic and otherwise), and I really didn’t think much about the effect of those things on others.  I blogged with the mantra that I would share whatever happened regardless of how nice or mean it may seem to portray myself or others because of the fact that it was my experience in medical school. 

After a while, I didn’t know whether or not people wanted to read because they wanted to see me do poorly or say something out of character or what have you.  When I wrote about how bad I had it, the school did not like it and I had to have conversations with IUSM on how to keep my blog afloat.  When I wrote about how good I had it, my buddies in med school would tell me that I’m showing off (anything in the middle was also considered a cry for attention).  It is tough to sort of keep a balance that makes everybody happy yet still bring up issues that I believe are somewhat important and relevant to medical school. 

I still choose to keep writing a blog though.  It means more to me than just sharing a bone to pick or showing off.  To me it means being able to share my experience for the next person to read and know how 1 medical student feels about his experience.  As a blogger, I am putting myself out there.  As an IUSM blogger, I am representing the school of medicine and have to be aware of it when I type these things. 

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!! :)

PS.  Any changes in the tone of my blogs have mostly been because of my own personal growth as opposed to anybody pre-reading (and yes, I’ve turned super boring). 

PPS.  The act of typing a blog is not difficult, it is the constant negative feedback on top of everything that is required of a med student that makes it tough…

PPS. I’m 4th year now, soembody please change that on my picture!!!


My New Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on May 29, 2013 @ 7:36 am

Hi Everybody,

I’m currently in that fun time period between 3rd and 4th year of med school (yes, I made it…) and I would like to take a moment to discuss a project that I’m working on.  The idea for it grew from watching too much television and being around so many patients.  It revolves around analyzing everything I do through a biopsychosocial standpoint and figuring out how to improve efficiency for myself on certain aspects of my life that I do want to improve. 

During my 3rd yr of med school, I had seen many people come into the clinic with problems that generally can be avoided with easy, not-so-expensive measures.  My issue with that isn’t that generally don’t know how to fix their problems (that’s why there are people out there who can help teach them how), it is that they always look for an excuse.  The most common excuses that I have seen are when people blame their thyroid because they have weight gain or are feeling tired all time, when really it is more likely that they may be consuming more calories than they use or have poor sleep hygiene.  With that mentioned, all this free time that I have had during this fun time got me to think about things in my life that I don’t feel are the way that I want and the excuses I use as to why they aren’t the way I would like.  For instance, 2 yrs ago I was in pretty good shape according to my standards (and no, I am not claiming to be an athlete).  15 pounds and many trips to taco bell after that, I’ve found myself in subpar physical shape.  I always told myself during that time that I’ll worry about that later, that I would rather focus on studying, that it is so much easier to go out to eat than it is to cook, that working out is a big time expenditure that could be used doing better things (and that thyroid thing, which didn’t really pan out).  Those excuses sounded good to me, but those are EXCUSES.   

I think it is time to take control of the problems that I have and see where I can improve.  In fact, not only will I take control of my problems, I will look at them through a physiologic, psychocological, and financial basis based on the current knowledge that we have on human performance.  I want to share my journey with you guys because I think these issues are common enough that people can see what I do and sort of apply it to their lives.  (In other words, practice what I plan on preaching???)

I decided to work on Sleep Hygeine, Weight Management, School/Work productivity, and Financial Planning.  These are basic things that everybody has to deal with.  This is the way the project works.  I essentially keep a running diary of what I do in all of those aspects and at the end of every week I look at how I did and see where I can improve (and this is where the excessive tv watching comes in).  I saw how this one Puerto Rican boxer hired a Cuban coach with a PhD in pedagogy (which is essentially learning how to learn in a changing environment) and a masters in sports science, who then studied the boxer’s physiology and was able to improve his performance.  Then that got me to thinking about other moments in tv history, like Todd Marinovich, who was trained by his father based off of techniques that his father put together and if it weren’t for some bad choices he would have been ok, and the Russian guy from Rocky IV who was trained by science and if it weren’t for that one guy from Philadelphia he would have been ok.  The point is that I know that there are places where I can improve my own efficiency.

The following are some of the tables I put together to use during my study of myself:

 

Week 1:                  
                   
Time Spent (hrs) Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Totals  
Sleeping                  
Working                  
Studying                  
Driving                  
Exercising                  
Miscellaneous                  

 

Sleep Hygeine Week 1:                  
  Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday   Totals Average
Time Sleeping (hrs)                  
Sleeping With TV                  
Sleeping With Light                  
                   
                   
Caffeine Consumption Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Totals Amount of Caffeine
Coffee in cups                  
Starbucks Coffee (Venti)                  
Cans of Monster Energy                  
Cans of Diet Coke                  
Diet Coke (Large Size)                  
Total caffeine consumption that day:                  

 

Energy Expenditure Week 1:                  
    Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday    Friday  Saturday    Sunday  
Height (in):                  
Weight (lb):                  
BMI:                  
Basal Metabolism:                  
Calorie Requirement:                  
Exercise Calories Spent:                  
Calories Consumed:                  
Net Calories:                  

 

Study Week 1:                
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Totals
Time Spent Doing Questions                
Time Spent Reading Material                
Time Spent Studying for The Clerkship                
# of Practice Questions Done                
# of Questions Correct                
Percentage of questions Correct                
# of Questions with Correct Thought Process                

 

Financial Expenditure Week 1:                
  Monday       Tuesday        Wednesday        Thursday        Friday        Saturday     Sunday     Total
Money Spent                

 and of course the boxes did not copy and paste the way I wanted…

I consider this to be a preemptive strike.  Many patients are forced to keep an eye on their own health after they’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes or hypertension…  Why not keep an eye on health to prevent problems from happening?  I’ll share my progress on this project on a weekly basis and every aspect will also be discussed on the blog one by one.  The first topic will be the importance of sleep… I mean… whenever I get the time to write it.

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!!

PS. This takes GS3 to another level.

PPS. When I told this idea to my dad, he told me to get a hobby.  Lol, but seriously…


Thick Skinned

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on April 5, 2013 @ 2:20 am

Hi Everybody,

I know I haven’t written to you guys in a while, and that’s mostly because I’ve been working hard with my rotations, but something has come up recently and I thought it would be a great time to discuss the topic.  My sister called me last night around 8:30 pm (Chicago time) very distraught about what a coworker told her earlier.  That coworker told her that because of the fact that I was in medical school and she was just a nurse, she was the “disappointment to the family”.  Based on my current understanding, this coworker doesn’t know my sister that well; therefore, it was a pretty big shocker to me that one person in the health (helping) industry would say that to somebody  without even knowing that person.  Of course I told her to not worry about what people say and that everybody in the family is proud of what she was able to accomplish (and that coworker is a meanie).   This story though brings up a good topic though.  In medical school, how do you deal with criticism that is neither constructive nor nice?

Over the past three years, I’ve had to develop some thick skin.  With all the information that we have to learn and understand, it is difficult to have the time to get to understand the perspectives of other classmates.  Because of that fact, a lot of actions get misinterpreted and misunderstood.  I really do think that’s what happened to me.  During my first two years of medical school, I tried my best to include everybody I could in the Muncie campus with everything I did.  I handed out candy and valentines on Valentine’s day.  I shared my candy around test time.  I asked questions when I found information counterintuitive.  Most importantly, I tried to help whenever given the opportunity. 

When my peers at the Muncie campus evaluated me, the comments I received were not as good as I may have wanted.  Somebody thought it was a good idea to describe me using words like “malicious”, “offputting”, and “rude” in the same sentence on 2 different categories.  Somebody was offended by me “in a very personal manner”.  Finally, somebody mentioned that I had “a lot to learn about social interaction and how to work as part of a group”.  If I thought I was trying to be nice and the people around me make comments like that, how am I supposed to think about myself?  Such things can be devastating to one’s self esteem, and they did hurt.  I didn’t know who said that about me.  I didn’t know why the person who was personally offended did not decide to discuss that with me directly.  Going to class with people who thought of me that way became very uncomfortable because I thought that I was being nice, and some anonymous peers in that group got me to question that.  

None of those comments happened to be constructive though and the fact that they did not bear any weight as to whether or not I made it to the 3rd year of medical school forced me to sort of try to forget them and move on with my studying.  When I finally did reach the 3rd year; however, I was a little nervous about how I would be perceived.  I know that my personality had not changed much and maybe I was a little behind in the knowledge department compared to where I felt a 3rd year medical student should be at.  After a few rotations, I began to see comments written by physicians that included “compassionate”, “gentle”, “pleasure to have in the office”, “excellent medical student”, etc…  They all also included the constructive phrase “keep reading”.  That happened to be very reassuring to me because I do care about people and have been working hard to build on my clinical knowledge.

After a little while of this, I came to the realization that people will have their own opinions about me.  They can think that I am malicious or offensive or gentle or compassionate.  What really matters at the end is that I know that I have put out the best effort that I can to gain the knowledge and skills I need because I know that I do care about people and it does show to somebody at least.  It is something that I remind myself everyday.  It took me until the 3rd year of medical school to realize that it is more important to not worry about what people think about me and focus on how I can best help the people I care for as a future physician. 

With all this in mind, I asked my sister if she did her job yesterday… she said yes… then if she did it well… she said she got a kudos from the boss yesterday… then I said that’s all that matters…

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!! :)

PS.  Why am I the face of admissions?

PPS.  If you guys didn’t get it, the advice I gave was that as long as you know that you care about what you do and you try your best, then don’t worry about what other people think of you.


Peds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on February 28, 2013 @ 4:11 am

Hi Everybody,

Today I wanted to go over some of the things I’ve thought about and noticed from having gone thus far into my Pediatrics rotation in Gary.  When I started my rotation, I was sort of nervous because I figured that this was the rotation that I can finally be as childish as I normally am but I did not know how the other physicians would accept that.  I had these little jokes saved up to use (since I was 8 years old… I don’t think anybody in my age group has fun with the joke about walking into the bar and saying ouch) and I had this toy that I wanted to share with difficult patients (mickey mouse key chain).  I walked into the first room with the physician for a 15 month well child.  At some point in time, she handed me the otoscope and asked me what the ear looked like.  The child proceeded to cry.  I handed the otoscope back to the physician, pulled the toy out of the pocket, washed it, handed it to kid, asked for the otoscope, and got a clear view into the ears.   The fact that the physician did not question my use of the toy must have meant that she was OK with it.  A few weeks after that, I brought in valentine’s day cards for the patients and the physician did the same thing.  That’s when I knew that I was at least meant to do my peds rotation in Gary. 

One of the rotations that I really liked before starting peds was psych.  Although I personally do not see myself going into psychiatry, I really was hoping to get some psych experience during the pediatrics rotation… and I did.  Many times to this point, I have gotten stuck wondering about the concept of nature versus nurture and how it has affected the patients.  From the nature aspect, I’ve heard family histories of men and women with psychological illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, recreational drug abuse, and other undefined/diagnosed personality or  learning disorders bringing life into the world multiple times and not knowing how to care for their children.  From the nurture aspect, the stories I heard ran the gambit from aunts and uncles sharing drugs to the most intense cases of bullying in school I’ve ever heard about to parents encouraging fighting between neighborhood children to relieve childhood anger to parents completely abusing their children without remorse.  Sometimes it has been a combination of both nature and nurture.   The sad reality of it is that it is a significant portion of patients that I have seen which is why it is important to ask not just about how the patient is doing, but also about how the mom and dad or parental figure is doing and what they are doing for a living to care for their family. 

This rotation has also shown me what is like to be a physician in the urban setting.  Through what I see, being a pediatric physician in the urban setting really does require being a community leader.  They really have to know the school system, the teachers in it, study programs that are out there to help students, the community programs for children, the different churches and religions practiced, and various other parts of the community.  The physicians also must be known by them.  All of that has to be done because when the children reach school age, besides a few broken bones or previously known pathology, the big issues then turn psychological.  Certain conditions such as ADHD and other learning disorders seem to be the biggest concerns.  The current system used to diagnose a patient with ADHD is pretty ridiculous to me.  Although Vanderbilt and Connors forms is an acceptable way to get the ball rolling, questionnaires end up being mindless forms in which people circle answers.  I highly doubt that people like reading about 50 questions and then having to choose between “not at all”, “just a little”, “pretty much”, and “very much” for each one.  I would rather get to know the teachers in the community, have them take notes during the course of a week of the behavior of the child, have the parents take notes of their child’s behavior, and evaluate from there.  Whenever there is an issue with regards to learning, the physician has to know the programs that there to help because he/she may be the first person that the child and the parent has ran into who actually knows where to get the help.  She/He also has to offer encouragement to both the parent and the patient to help the patient the best way possible.

The people in the urban setting seem to consider the physician as a family member, the incredibly smart one who always has an answer to every question (they also have to be given the respect of a family member).  I walked into a room about a week ago was asked 6 different unrelated diseases that the patient and his brothers had by the patient’s parent (that parent had no idea that she was testing my knowledge) because she wanted to know everything about the diseases in layman’s terms.  If I had been asked about pityriasis rosea, Osgood-schlatter, molloscum, ADHD, pyloric stenosis, and asthma on the spot around this same time last year, I probably would have panicked (so there is still hope for second year med students… and first years).  In the concept of being the family member, you have to be like a parent to both the parent and to the patient.  It sounds sort of odd to be a parent to the parent, especially because as a young med student I am not any older than the parents; however, they believe and trust in everything that I say and use the advice that I give (of course the advice I give is based off of everything I was taught by the physicians and everything I read).  In terms of being a parent to the patient, you have to be stern with them, but fun and respectful.

Being in Gary, I’ve noticed a few things that can and probably should be changed.  The first of which is the capacity to hold pediatric patients that need a lot of help in the neighborhood.  In the past month, I’ve seen at least 8 patients sent out to Riley or Southbend.  There is nothing wrong with those institutions.  The issue I see is that we are not allowed to send out patients to Chicago.  Gary doesn’t have the staff or equipment needed to take care of certain conditions even though the physicians are very capable of taking care of those ailments.  Just because there is a border separating states also apparently means that instead of going about 25 miles to the closest facility that can help, the patient has to go at least 75 miles to Southbend or 150 miles to Riley.  I’ve also noticed throughout medical school the classes in medical Spanish, but I don’t see any physician working in the area who knows medical Spanish nor have I seen a nurse or ma with proper training in medical Spanish (just Spanish from life).  I would like to know where are the people who received medical Spanish training because they definitely need to go to a place like Gary if they want to actually use those skills.                

As a medical student, I don’t have all of the knowledge behind the politics or the reasoning behind the way things are.  I only know what I have seen.  There may be studies out there that show a different significance to the pediatrician in the urban setting than what I have discussed.   I am so glad to do my rotation in pediatrics in Gary.  It is an honor to be able to see and work with all the pathology and psychology that I have seen.  I hope to finish this rotation strong…

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!! :)

PS. It may not be the best written blog, but I put it on because of the various ideas I brought up.


Oh POLYCOM… How awkward art thou?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on January 30, 2013 @ 3:52 am

Hi Everybody,

Do I have a story to tell you guys…  During the 3rd year of med school, there has been a lot of ups and downs, lefts and rights, awkward and non-awkward moments alike.  The best of the awkward moments can only be described in one word POLYCOM.  For those of you who do not know what polycom is (yet are still technologically savvy enough to get to my blog and read it), it is the form of video conferencing used at IUSM.  In the advent of the Medicine megablock, which included neurology, psychiatry, and internal medicine, came the polycom lecture circuit.  Being up in the Northwest campus (and please stop calling it the Gary campus because you don’t have to live in Gary to go there) forces us to use the polycom to get into the lectures.

The first rotation that I was in with the polycom was Neuro.  This was a time for learning how to use this futuristic software.  My classmate and I were told that some of our predecessors had a bit too much fun with freezing their faces on the screen, so we were forbidden from doing that.  The only issues that we really had initially were that since we live in the same time zone as Chicago, we had to have lunch during the polycom lectures and that the lectures really took a lot of time away from having the experience of seeing patients.  The issues then changed quickly.  We tried to use the laptop software at the clinic, but the internet at the clinic was not strong enough to keep connection.  At some point in time, we decided to do all polycoms at the NW campus (30 min away) for better connection.   I realized after a while that everybody who polycommed from the outside campuses were in the screen in Indy (and that they had us set up in a Brady Bunch style).  I really wanted to set up a way so that we could have an actual Brady Bunch moment and that it could have been appreciated… did not happen the whole megablock, but I do hope somebody attempts it someday while somebody videotapes it and shares it with me. 

During these polycoms, the feeds from the Indy campus would cut off and we would be frantically contacting the people down there to get it back on.  After a while of that happening, the other campuses would just talk for a little bit to each other and call it a quits for that day.   One time, the the feed from the Indy campus did not cut out, but the screen went black.  Suffice to say, the other campus students did not like it and the Indy campus students and the lecturer sort of overheard the conversation that pursued.  The text messages that I got from my buddies down in Indy telling me to tell the whole group to stop talking were priceless.  I made it my mission from that point on to make sure that the microphone was off everytime we went on polycom. 

In terms of Indy lecturers using the other campuses as participants, I strongly recommend it to anybody lecturing with polycom.  If I know that I have to sit down and listen for 3-4 hours and my name will not get called, I will lose complete interest in lectures that even I think are interesting.   This is sort of a double edged sword though… There is a definite delay of at least 15 seconds between what is said in Indy and what is heard in the NW campus, so work with it accordingly.

The second rotation I was in that had polycom was Psych.  This is the one where the girl fell asleep on camera and everybody tried to get her to wake up… then decided to leave her alone because she looked peaceful in her sleep.  When I asked her about it later, she told me that she thought the camera was far enough away that nobody would notice… I’m unretiring this for a moment, but that was truly an Epic Fail.  That still was not the most awkward moment during this rotation.  Somehow, the Northwest campus was the only thing on the screen.  My classmate took the liberty to zoom onto my head at which point my face covered the whole screen in that classroom in Indianapolis… priceless. Also, for some weird reason, the microphones from the Indy campus were not working well in this one; nonetheless, I asked the lecturers politely to sort of speak louder or hold the microphones closer to their mouths.   This rotation was actually the smoothest in terms of polycomming overall through lecturer and student compliance.

The last rotation that used it was internal medicine with the grand rounds.  The outside campuses have been accustomed to doing polycom to this point, but the guys in Indy who went to the Lafayette campus brought in a new bag of fun.  During one of the grand rounds, I remember one of those guys making a sandwich on camera.  I think everybody who saw that wanted a sandwich also.  They also did not know how to turn off the microphone.  I think everything that they said was broadcasted to the VA at least.  For us at the Northwest campus, we had to deal with the using the laptop because the hospital was a bit too far away from the campus.  The connection was again still weak.

Overall, the polycom has had its awkward moments but there were so many positives to come from it.  I actually did feel a lot more connected to my classmates in Indianapolis and the outside campuses.  I did not feel short changed on the didactics and I felt like I had a lot of free time after the lectures.  I still love the whole polycom experience and I do believe in it.  The big caveat is that It will definitely be a while before it gets perfect or at least to a point that it goes a lot smoother.  I would definitely recommend a briefing to medical students on how to use the polycom and a maybe a briefing to lecturers to understand the time lag and use of the other campuses (I wouldn’t mind helping organize something like that).

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!! :)


GS3 v3.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on January 3, 2013 @ 3:58 am

Hi Everybody,

It has been a few months since I’ve last written to you guys, the fact that all 5 of you still read the stuff that I put together means that this must be good enough to not currently study (and any excuse is a good one).  In all seriousness, I’ve been pretty busy with my third year of med school.  Much of it has been spent relearning material that has been mostly forgotten and working on some interviewing/ physical exam/presentation skills.  Although there is much to discuss in terms of “the awesomeness of the polycom”, “my ineptitude at reading the minds of attendings”, “how much I dislike the chief complaint of chest pain in somebody with COPD, CAD, and GERD”, “people having allergies to everything but Dilaudid”, and “the glorious moment where I took advantage of the fact that I can interview Spanish speaking patients”, I’ve opted to discuss with you today the greatness that is GS3… version 3.0

When I created it (with the help of a Sebastian Cousins… and yes I used your name Sebastian… I’ll buy you a hamburger later), it was a simple concept.  Gym, shower, study, sleep.  It took me through the rest of the first year and helped out with the ODS.  It was a solid system, until I reached the second year of my medical education and things got a little sticky.  The stress from the need to perform on tests during that year outweighed the need to go workout out.  Nonetheless, around the end I found myself some time to GS3 part 2.  That involved working out at 7 pm and studying until 4 am on most nights, but somehow I made it through.

Now that I’ve grown as a medical student (and possibly an adult but the jury is still out), my GS3 has evolved 1 more time to the latest version.  As with anything in life, people must learn how to adapt.  GS3 still stands for gym, shower, study, sleep, but there a few twists behind the reasoning for certain things.  First, the sleep has increased with a purpose, which is mainly to retain a lot of what I’ve read the night before.  Secondly, the study is occurring because I want to understand what is going on with the patients as opposed to abstract imaginary patients.  The shower is still the same… fyi irish springs and selsun blue.  Lastly, the gym is a place I go to separate from the world around me.  There is no way that I could describe the significance of GS3… except for maybe lol.     

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!!!! :)

PS. When I wrote the blog about it, I made mention of an epic fail.  I would like to retire the phrase “epic fail”.  It was an improper use of the phrase back then and it would currently be an improper use of the phrase.  I’d like to apologize to anybody affected by the 2 sentences of that blog.  I meant that as a comedic relief at the time (you know… as an it is funny to watch people worse off type of thing), but it got blown out of proportion.


So We Finally Meet…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on August 18, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

Hi Everybody,

Yesterday was the first of many meetings with both the third and fourth years up at the Northwest Campus in order to discuss the “Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) Northwest Patient Centered Urban Health and Health Care Disparities Curriculum”.  Before I go on with sharing some of the points that were discussed in the meeting, I wanted to share what this program means to me and what I expect to gain from it.  I want to begin by mentioning that just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I want to be like Gandhi or Mother Teresa.  I know I’m not the best med student, I know that I may not be on the same wavelength as my peers, and I know that I may not come off as a nice person; however, anybody who knows me knows that I can become very worked up or passionate about certain topics from time to time. 

What really fires me up is about anything that has to do with the underserved or the poor in the community such as certain ideas like “healthcare reform”, “the economy”, or even language barriers.  For Example:  (Healthcare reform) In what world do a group of people start with the idea of giving everybody free healthcare (like in Canada or Cuba or England), and then all of a sudden change it so that people get punished for not paying for their own medical insurance?  (The economy)  It is not right that my friends who I grew up with and still hang out with whenever I go back to San Diego can’t afford to get sick because that’s a day cut off the pay check.  (Language Barriers)  People came from different countries to the US because they believed in the ideas of prosperity, freedom, and a better lifestyle.  They did not know how hard it was going to be as soon as they got here to get any sort of help, for shelter, for food, or even for some money.  The least a physician should do is try to learn another 2 languages besides English.  A lot of people who come from different countries not well educated or very intellectual (obviously I am not talking about the students from different countries that go to university in the US).  My argument for language barriers:  Physicians and Immigrants work equivalent amounts of time.  Who is going to learn a new language faster, one of the brightest people in the US or a not very well educated immigrant?  I can keep going on and on about these issues, but I am not out to write a book based off of my opinions.  I can also keep talking about why I care for the underserved; however, I have no idea how myself as a student or future physician can actually organize something to help the cause for the underserved populations. 

After listening to Dr. Bankston talk about urban disparities for even 5 minutes over the phone about 6 months ago, I could tell that he has an idea of what he wants see happen for the underserved and he had a lot of people all over Northwest Indiana convinced of it also.  That and a campus visit are what sealed the deal for me to go up to this campus in the first place.  A lot of what I plan on doing in terms of this program is just paying attention, taking notes, actively listening to what he says and does, and implementing whatever idea they choose to share with me.  I want to learn from the experience, take aspects that I like from it, and use those in the future wherever I may end up.     

As for the meeting, it was the first time that everybody involved with the program was in a room.  It involved an overview of what will happen in future meetings, a discussion the possible electives, and the roles of the students in the program.  What excites me about the future meetings is that there are a diverse group of people with different experiences lined up already who can bring us as medical students a better idea of things to be aware about for the underserved.  At the end of the meeting, I realized that my role up here as a med student was to first and foremost do well on the rotations, then work on the program, and then be some sort of ambassador for 2nd year students who are thinking about what to do for their 3rd year of medical school (recruiting for the cause). 

I’m looking forward to future meetings, yesterday seemed to be very productive.  I’ll try to keep you guys posted on the progress we come up with.  Hopefully this turns out great.

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!!! :)

PS.  I already got my St. Vitus (“Med School Prom”) tickets 5 months in advance.  Don’t know who I’m taking, but I do know that I’m not missing it this time around.  That doesn’t make me lame at all…


Transitions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul Maldonado on August 12, 2012 @ 3:35 am

Hi Everybody,

About 2 months ago, I moved to a special part of Indiana. One that people hold dear to their hearts… Northwest Indiana. To tell you guys the truth (and yes, all 5 of you readers will finally know the truth), it has been a little bit of a transition process. Different city, different people, different expectations, different hospitals, and different type of studying. These rotations sort of force you to be on your feet all day, go home, then study until you pass out (easier said than done because the bed is one of the best parts of the day… and tv). One of the transitions in my daily life is the amount of driving I do. With the help of Google maps, I shall show you what I mean. Every once in a while, I have to drive down to Indy. This map shows my location as compared to Indy. This drive is about 140 miles and about half way through, I end up going back to the future (1 hour into the future to be exact and you don’t need to go 88 miles per hour).

Not really a daily thing though, so let’s focus in on that box.

In the past two months, I have physically been in these locations to see patients (except for the one smack dab in the middle of Gary… that’s the IUN campus). In fact, I’ve been in Gary 4 times since moving up here and they were mostly because I needed to do something at the IUN campus. On the last map, the points with the stars were the places I’ve been to the most to see patients. A normal day for me would include a trip to a medical office in 1 city and a trip to 2 different hospitals in different cities (there’s a lot of gas stops). This happens to be a big change from going down the road, turning right, then going down the road and turning left (the only directions I needed to know for 2 years).

The biggest transition though has been the separation from the friends I made down in Funcie. It is one of those things where the people I struggled with through med school for the past 2 years are all of a sudden no longer around anymore. I don’t see them every day. I don’t really talk to them every day. It is definitely a weird feeling. It feels similar to when I graduated from middle school, high school, and even undergrad (when everybody from those groups went their own ways); however, I’m only half way through med school. Even when I do talk to them, it is hard to sympathize with their struggles now. We are not all doing the exact same rotations, the level of competitiveness is different, and the experiences are different. Back when we were doing the same thing it was easier for me to be more believable when I would say things to support my med school buddies. I really care for the wellbeing of the friends I made, but now I truly can’t know what they are going through. I don’t know about them, but I’ve been enjoying my time in 3rd year. I get to talk to people all day, I actually get to see certain things that seemed abstract before, and I get quizzed all day (something I actually have fun with for those of you who don’t know me well).

I have fun stuff to say about surgery (the rotation I’m currently on), but I may have to wait until I can describe in a way that is “PC”. So until then…

Keep on Reading and Keep on Studying!!!!!!! :)

PS. To all you cool kids that are starting med school, especially the ones in Muncie, I wish you the best of luck. It will be tough, but they accepted you into medical school because they believed that you are capable of becoming a physician. It is definitely going to be an uphill battle. Believe in yourself, work as hard as you can, and you will do great.

PPS. If you do go to a center campus, I’d recommend not meeting somebody new who is completely awesome, gets along with you well at orientation, and goes to a different campus… Some things just cannot realistically work out.


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