Thursday, August 23, 2012
MSU CHM Orientation Day 5: Short and Sweet
And the fifth official orientation day has come and gone. In case you need to get caught up, here are days 1-4:
This morning was spent almost entirely on discussions of debt, budgeting, and management of debt and budgets. We were given a lot of information on the different types of repayment plans that we should consider, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. We were also told about how, if you work for a nonprofit 501(c) (3) business for 120 months (10 years) and make the minimum monthly payment under the income-based repayment plan, any debt you have left over gets erased. Oh, and guess what? Almost all hospitals are classified as this type of nonprofit organization.
There's just one problem.
I'm interested in Emergency Medicine. You might say, "But Justin! That's not a problem. Hospitals all have emergency departments, so it seems like a great fit!" But you'd be wrong. You see, from what I learned today, ER docs and Radiologists work almost exclusively for external groups that are sourced in to operate the hospitals' emergency and radiology departments. This means that the external physician's group is signing their paychecks - NOT the hospital. Things are set up this way because the hospital makes the money off the lab tests assigned by the ER docs and Radiologists. If they also worked directly for the hospital, it opens the hospital up to claims of "conflict of interests."
So, the legal loophole which allows almost all other kinds of doctors to work for a hospital for ten years, making minimum payments before having the remainder of their debt forgiven, pretty much leaves ER docs and Radiologists high and dry. Well, relatively speaking, I guess. After all, they're still all making salaries
roughly exactly equal to that of an ER doc or Radiologist, respectively...
After that talk came lunch, and after lunch came Basic Life Support (BLS) certification training. That's right - I am now certified in life support for infants, children, and adults. Circulation! Airway! Breathing! It used to be ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation), but they did some studies and found that people were getting so caught up on checking the airway and breathing that they were delaying the restoration of circulation via chest compressions. As it turns out, restoring and maintaining circulation is the most important part of basic life support. The oxygen storage capacity of your blood is such that as long as your blood is pumping through your tissues and organs, enough oxygen will be delivered to make a significant different in quality of life post-trauma, even if artificial breaths are less emphasized than chest compressions.
So, we did that, then we had a Health and Wellness Small Group Discussion. Basically, we focused on maintaining our mental health and wellness by having a very chill hour-long chat session mixed in with a game in which we found out more about everyone else in the group. It was fun, and a nice, easy end to the bulk of orientation week.
After that, I got some dinner from Zoup and had a long conversation with a friend who was having a hard time with the anticipated stress of next week. Personally, I think the faculty and staff may have overemphasized the monumental nature of the stress and hard work that we're going to be experiencing in the coming weeks. I could be wrong, but it feels like after a point, it makes it more difficult to hear over and over about how hard things are going to be when there's absolutely nothing you can do about it at the moment.
After that quality and productive discussion, I took the Biochemistry waiver exam. Alas, I did not pass. I was closer than I thought I would be though, and that felt GREAT. I didn't really expect to pass, especially since I kind of quit studying last Friday (Saturday? I can't remember...) and just decided to wing it. I feel like I'm more than adequately prepared for Biochem this semester, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the medical side of it. We'll see how it goes starting bright and early Monday morning!
Tomorrow will be an interesting day. I signed up to be a member of the team of Admissions Ambassadors. I don't know in what aspect I will be helping out (giving tours? interviews? on a student panel?), but I know that 1.) It feels incredible to finally be on this side of things, 2.) I want to do what I can for the incoming interviewees because I very clearly remember what it's like to be in their shoes, and 3.) We get a free lunch! After the meeting, the whole Grand Rapids class will be heading to Lansing for more end-of-week festivities. There'll be a student organizations fair as well as a Big Sib / Little Sib mixer. Basically, it's a big get-together between the second-years and the first-years that they signed up to take under their wings. We get to do everything in the Spartan Club, which overlooks the Spartan Stadium. Very cool.
Almost done here, but this next bit is very important. Wife got her blood tests back, and there's no autoimmune disease! Hooray! The only (small) downside is that this leaves us with no clue what's wrong with her eyes. She gets her tear ducts plugged on Monday, so hopefully that will help them stay better hydrated and (therefore) less infected. The docs are now convinced that the cause of her vision problems is a bacterial infection. Why they think this now but didn't think so a week ago, I have no clue... Whatever, hopefully their treatment starts to work soon!
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