Medical schools have traditionally used letter grades for their students, but to decrease the competitive atmosphere between these prospective doctors, some of gone with a simple pass-fail system. Does it matter? A recent study suggests the answer is no. When comparing two groups, one who was graded "A-F" and the other pass-fail, there was no difference in absolute test scores, as well as no discrepancy in board scores or getting ...

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Stanford's Abraham Verghese challenges readers to solve his medical riddle, without using Google. These exercises, when thought through, offer the student the opportunity to "formulate hypotheses, go to the book, research and eliminate possibilities . . . and come to the answer," and can be a valuable learning experience. But with the dawn of Google, many arcane answers can simply be looked up, often at the expense of thinking through a problem. So, ...

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Many medical schools are in the midst of purging pharmaceutical companies from their halls. But can subtle marketing tactics can influence perceptions of prescription drugs? It depends on where you trained. A recent study looked at fourth-years, some of whom were exposed to pharmaceutical-branded clipboards and pens. At the University of Miami, which has a less restrictive policy towards drug companies, students preferred the brand name cholesterol medication Lipitor over its generic ...

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When teaching his students how to feel for an enlarged spleen, physician-educator Abraham Verghese recalls the first time he managed to become proficient at the technique.

The best teachers know that, although the material they are teaching can become repetitive, it's the first time it's being heard by the student. And when talking about his own mentor, Dr. Verghese notes that, "Every single time he said the phrase, ...

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For years, medical schools only accepted those who scored highest on the MCATs or received top grades.

But, in an era where working with others is becoming more essential to patient care, whether future doctors can function as a member of a team is becoming increasingly important.

To that end, Maggie Mahar asks whether those who score the highest grades really are best suited to become doctors. ...

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As an alum of Boston University Medical School, and having trained at Boston Medical Center, this is truly sad and disturbing news.

The so-called "Craigslist Killer," who was the target of a national manhunt, is apparently a 22-year old medical student at Boston University:

Boston police tonight arrested Philip Markoff, a 22-year-old Boston University medical student, in the murder of 26-year-old Julissa Brisman at the Copley Marriott last week ...

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Nothing makes a new medical student more nervous than answering a series of medical questions from their attending, known as pimping.

There is a definite art to the tactic. Ask too many questions based in triviality, it can be interpreted as intimidating. However, used correctly, it can be a valuable learning tool.

Over at orthopedic blog Them Bones, we have a detailed history of medical pimping ...

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How dramatic.

But it's also true. Stateside, we're already dealing with the repercussions of restricting residents' work to 80 hours per week or less.

The UK is going several steps further, but restricting all doctors to no more than 48-hours of work a week.

First off, there are no studies that suggest restricting work-hours improves patient care. Whatever patient safety gains are made ...

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The purging of drug companies from continuing medical education courses continues.

Psychiatrist Daniel Carlat points to what's happening at the University of Wisconsin, where company-funded CME lectures conveniently left out side effects of the medications that were mentioned.

For instance, in a Pfizer-sponsored course on smoking cessation, not one of Pfizer-marketed Chantix's many side effects were mentioned.

CME is a big money industry, and in the ...

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Second Life is a "virtual" world where users act and communicate using avatars.

A medical school in the UK is experimenting with the platform, where "students [via their avatars] enter a patient's room and their work begins. Because their assignment takes place in a respiratory ward, they can access recordings of real-life patients' breathing to help with their diagnoses. And if students decide that X-rays are needed, they ...

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