About 3 weeks ago, I set a goal to publish an essay. Yesterday, I submitted it to the New England Journal of Medicine for publication. For some reason, it was a bit nerve racking to hit the submit button. I'm sort of just waiting to see how fast it will get rejected. I just hope they don't laugh as me as they read the essay and my simply cover letter. "Silly medical student, haha, what a naive little nincompoop!" I do think it's a pretty good piece, but the NEJM is definitely a long shot. I'm trying to post it as a perspective piece, and it seems really rare for there to be anything from the point of view of a medical student. Maybe that is what will make it unique enough to get published. On the other hand, it's probably more likely that not having an MD after my name yet will make them think (rightly so?) that my perspective isn't worth very much. There's nothing wrong with trying, though! I edited it over and over again, and it's probably about as good as I can make it. I'm tired of working on it, and if they don't take it then I will probably have a better chance of success at a less prestigious journal.
In part of my essay, I reflect on some of the experiences I've had with standardized patients. A lot of people hate standardized patients, since you're basically just seeing someone who is pretending to be sick. Role playing is never fun, and all of us have an instinctive tendency to label the exercise as stupid and to not try. Since the standardize patient is not really sick and they're also not a doctor, I think they sometimes get in over their head and don't know how to answer questions very well. This is probably one of the most irritating things about it, because if that happens and it becomes obvious they have no idea what they're talking about it's like their cover is blown and the charade is over. Nonetheless, I've had some helpful experiences.
Now that that's done, I can focus a bit more on studying. We have almost finished discussing all the different pathogenic bacteria and are starting to talk about antibiotics. I have found it is a bit difficult to bridge the gap between applying all the science facts behind the bacteria and applying it in clinical situations. Yesterday, 2 hours of lecture were devoted to discussing clinical infectious disease cases and 2 hours were focused to discussing clinical neurology cases. The neurology cases were easy, but infectious disease was much more difficult. When someone presents with diarrhea or pneumonia, there are just so many different things that can be wrong with them. There's not just one test you can order to figure it out, either. Applying the sciences to actually helping patients seems like it will be the most challenging part of medicine, but of course the most rewarding. This point illustrates the kind of higher-level thinking that it takes to be a doctor, and it's a bit intimidating.
I am a medical student at BCM and all thoughts are my own. I am not a doctor. Please read the disclaimer.
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