The End of Another Quarter

FullSizeR (2).jpgFall quarter has come to an end. I feel like I always say this but time flew by so fast! Second year so far has been very, very busy. Compared to first year, it wasn’t necessarily hard per say…just a LOT more work to accomplish in such a short period of time. I finally understand how and why medical students lose contact with the outside world while in school. I was constantly studying for quizzes/exams and trying to make the next deadline for class assignments, and it resulted in neglecting communication with family and friends (especially towards the second half of the quarter starting with midterms). However, I MADE IT! I (barely) survived hell week round #2, and now I’m free (if only for a little while)! Here’s a round-up of my final exams:

    • The final NCDI exam consisted of 98 multiple choice questions, true/false questions, and “choose one or more” questions. It was cumulative, so all the content from every lecture of the quarter was fair game. We covered HEENT (head/ears/eyes/nose/throat), hematology, lab diagnosistics, and dermatology.
    • For Bot Med lab we didn’t have an exam but we did have to complete a final project and present it to the class. We had to create two products – one that could be taken internally e.g. tea (infusion/decoction) and one that could be applied topically e.g. salve – using the techniques learned from labs throught the quarter. Since I really love skin health I decided to make a “Skin Glow” tea containing hibiscus, cinnamon, burdock, and dandelion, and an acne serum with some cold oil-infused herbs and essential oils.
    • Throughout the quarter we practiced giving each other HEENT and skin/nail/hair exams. We practiced one physical exam each week (e.g. ears exam one week, then nose/mouth/throat exam the next, etc.) and usually charted our PE findings then submitted it online. For the final, we had to perform all of the physical exams on a partner within 20 minutes, then chart our findings on a piece of paper within 20 minutes (without the use of a laptop). SO INTENSE, but then again maybe if I had studied every day the week before like I should have I wouldn’t have been so nervous…
    • So for each subject (pathology, immuno, and infectious diseases) we had separate exams, which means there were 3 final exams for IPIID. The pathology exam was around 150 questions and only covered the second half of lectures from the quarter (Hemodynamics, RBCs, WBCs, Neoplasms, and Skin). The Immunology and Infectious Diseases finals were around 40-50 questions each and also covered the second half of lectures from the quarter (Cytokine Regulation, Immunodeficiencies, Immunotherapies, Anti-Tumor Responses, HIV, Skin Disorders and Pathogens).
    • The final practical consisted of several components. For the postural assessment portion, we had to randomly/blindly choose a “faulty posture” (e.g. anterior head carriage) out of a bag and describe what muscles were affected (tightened/stretched) and how we would treat it. Next, we had to randomly choose a section of the spine (C1-C7, T1-T12, or L1-L5) and perform flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation mobilizations on our partner.Lastly, we had to randomly choose two muscles and describe/perform the trigger point therapy we would do for each muscle.
    • Homeopathy is very interesting but very confusing. You don’t match the remedy to the patient, you match the patient to the remedy. There are general symptoms (i.e. fatigue, chills, fever) and there are characteristic symptoms (i.e. certain food cravings, time of day that symptoms worsen). With homeopathy you choose a remedy based on a patient’s characteristic/key symptoms. These are the really bizarre, out of the ordinary symptoms. For instance, sulphur patients can have diarrhea that drives them out of bed at 5 A.M. So specific and unique, which is what makes it a key symptom! The final exam for homeopathy basically consisted of case style questions where a patient with signs/symptoms would be described and we had to choose a homeopathic remedy that we considered the best option for the patient. We needed to know 17 remedies for the final – sulphur, lycopodium clavatum, calcarea carbonicium, pulsatilla, nux vomica, arsenicum album, natrium muriaticum, ignatia amara, staphysagria, phosphorus, sepia, lachesis, mercurius solubilis, aurum metallicum, silicea terra, thuja, and causticum.
    • Integrated Therapeutics  consists of two courses really – Pharmacology I and Botanical Medicine I. Thus, we had two final exams all together for this class. Pharmacology I final exam covered anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs and SAIDs), bronchodilators, anti-coagulant, anti-fungal, anti-histamines, anti-gout, and anti-anemic drugs. Botanical Medicine was cumulative and covered every single herb mentioned in lecture…I think around 40 herbs or so. We had to know the common and latin names, actions, primary uses, contraindications/side effects, special dosing if any, and characteristic features. We also had to know plant taxonomy of the most common families, and how to write a prescription for herbal preparations (i.e. tinctures, teas, herbal powder).
    • Unfortunately, I had to re-take gross anatomy because I had failed my first year. The second time around was SO much better. It was all like review for me as I dissected the cadaver (one last time…thank god). As I studied over each bone/bony structure, muscle, artery, nerve, and vein, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “why didn’t I get this the first time? This is so easy!” Honestly, during my first quarter I was still trying to adjust to the workload and figure out how to balance my life with school and family. I focused more on the major science courses like biochemistry or physiology lecture rather than gross lab, and I thought that if I just studied for anatomy lecture I would be ok with gross anatomy lab. I was very wrong. Another resource that I had this year, but didn’t have last year and really wish I did, was the Color Atlas of Anatomy textbook (by Rohen). That is literally the best book to study from for gross lab. This quarter I think I went in to gross lab outside of class time like once to study for the midterm. I didn’t even go in to study for the final and I completely studied out of this textbook and managed to pass the course (although I wouldn’t recommend that especially if it’s your first time taking gross anatomy). Using this textbook in conjunction with going in to lab to study outside of class time will definitely help you do great on the lab practicals.

Now that the quarter has ended I can finally RELAX and get into the Christmas spirit! I’m actually writing this post from Barcelona, Spain. I’m here on vacation for 5 more days then I’m off to Upstate New York for Christmas with my family! This is my first time in Europe, and I’m absolutely loving Barcelona. Keep an eye out for future posts about my trip!



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