Any physicians or physician assistants ? Some q's about school

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kellen, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    So I just found out I got into a school in Philly. Really excited. Starts in ~7 months.

    My questions are if you would suggest brushing up on any subjects. What classes did everyone find difficult?

    Any other suggestions? Things you would do different or things I should prepare for? Anything you could not live without?

  2. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I'm in medical school now in Chicago.

    Bottom line: enjoy yourself while you can. You won't do much good trying to "bone up" and get ahead of the curve by studying course materials. I tried, and several others in my class tried. It doesn't make much difference after the first round of exams. If you can, get some time in clinic, or do some shadowing, to practice speaking with patients.

    Spend this time reading about the health care system, about the business and philosophy of health care, and if you have an overabundance of time, read a little history of medicine to get you into the context of what you will be doing.

    I find most of the classes pretty manageable, but they require different types of learning. Anatomy is memorizing and visualizing; physiology is reasoning and problem solving; biochemistry is similar to physiology with the added joy of memorizing reaction maps. Most people here hate anatomy the most. Try to get used to studying a lot every day because that's what you will do. Practice putting your own personal desires and vocations on hold for school occasionally, as I often find that I need to put stuff off until school is done.

    Buy only the books you are convinced you will use as if they were the Bible. Most everything else is electronic, and class syllabi are generally pretty good. Get a copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step I and begin using it immediately, day one, and build that habit of studying for Boards all along the way. This pays off in spades later.

    My most useful books:

    Rohen's Color Atlas of Anatomy: for cadaver dissection.
    Netter's Atlas of Anatomy. Avoid Grant's atlas, it sucks.
    Lippincott Illustrated Review: Biochemistry. It's all you need, period.
    Board Review Series: Physiology. The best.
    Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease. Memorize this beast and you'll be king.
    Katzung and Trevor's Pharmacology. Drugs.
    Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple.
    Clinical Neuroanatomy Made Ridiculously Simple.
    Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases.

    Other books may be useful or not. Having a Harrison's isn't a bad idea, but it is pricey. Online sources can suffice. The most single useful resource for anything on the fly: Wikipedia. Don't laugh. Everyone, with no exceptions, uses it here for something. Just don't rely solely on it, and you'll be cash.

    Psychological considerations weigh more heavily than practical ones for most students. Depression, isolation, frustration, nihilism, and rage are more difficult to deal with than course work. You will love it and hate it. Get a good mentor, someone to talk to and even to vent to, and school will go smoothly.

    Get a book, or read up, on the financial side of medical school. I recommend Financial Planning for the Young Physician by Lefebvre, MD. This book has it all.

    Learn to bring a lunch to school, it saves thousands a year. Use caffeine sparingly so the firepower is there when you really need it.

    Get plenty of sleep. Drink lots of water.

    Anything else, PM me. I'd be happy to lend a hand.

    Good luck! It is the best profession in the world.

  3. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Wow thanks.

    Nervous that I won't be able to cut it and excited about what the future holds.

    Trying to alleviate some of the nervousness with preparation, but I know I can't learn it all before school.

    I guess my main concern is how much you remembered from undergraduate going into school. I feel I have the patient side down pat, but may forget some "easy" bio/chem/anatomy that is taken as a given.

    I know schools say that they teach from the bottom up, assuming a good base in undergrad and that some forgot this, some forgot that, but I am nervous either way.

    Thanks for the insight.
  4. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    1. I had a Master's degree before coming, as well as an undergraduate degree. Didn't mean squat. Don't worry about it.

    2. Don't place too much stock on undergraduate preparation, as it probably won't be immediately usable.

    3. Don't let performance in physics, biochem, etc. from undergrad discourage you if you didn't do perfectly.

    4. Everyone can hack it. Less than one person out of two hundred actually packs up and quits. Most, if they are having serious trouble, take another year, but the schools WANT you to pass and do well. Abundance of resources are available.

    5. Don't worry too much about anything. Getting in = hardest part. The rest is doing the dance for four years before you learn the real nuts and bolts of medicine.

    Good luck. I wish you all the best in the world.
  5. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks again. Ill probably PM you with some questions.
  6. debroglie macrumors 6502a


    Aug 19, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm a first year at Drexel's Physician Assistant program in Philadelphia. I think you are going to be at Phila U, right?

    I would say my biggest tips are:
    Don't let other people stress you out. There will be people that cannot handle stress or a high workload, and that stress becomes contagious in a PA program. Take care of yourself by not getting infected.

    Don't freak out about grades. If you got in, it means you probably got great grades in undergraduate, but this doesn't happen for everyone in PA school. In the end, employer's won't ask you about your GPA, so instead of worrying about that, just make sure that you are a good PA - and part of that means avoiding picking up psychoses from stressing about grades.

    Exercise. You'll be extremely busy, but realize that taking the time to be active will help you with everything else. Also, lots of water and (some) sleep.

    Make simple choices to save money. Don't immediately buy all of the books (at Drexel, we have a mentorship program where we are paired up with second-year students and can ask them questions such as what books are used - maybe PhilaU has something similar?), don't blow all of your money on eating out, and bring a lunch to class. You don't want to be paying student loans for the rest of your life.

    Take things one day at a time.

    How much you take out of PA school and life during PA school is all about how you approach it. Just have a good sense of humor and you'll be golden.

    As far as moving to the city, I'd try to get as close to PhilaU as you can. It's in a fine neighborhood. Otherwise, make sure there is public transport to get you from your apartment door to your classroom door (It looks like the R7 train runs near there). I wouldn't suggest driving.

    In particular, I would urge you to not live in Center City. IMHO, its waaay too expensive to live there, and there are nicer places to live near PhilaU. Now, if you were going to school in Center City, it'd be a different story.

    I hear good things about PhilaU's program. I applied/interviewed there but decided that Drexel was a better fit for me, but I did like it there. Also, one of your profs, Bob Emery came and spoke with us at Drexel, and he is a good guy.
  7. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the info. Kind of puts me at ease.

    I got into Philly U's program. Waiting to here from Drexel too.

    I'm sure I will pm or bump this thread a lot as the day gets closer to me leaving ( mid July).


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