Looking for answers, advice, and opinions

Hiya everyone,

Tomorrow is my last day at the corporate job, and I am going to enjoy my time until I start school in Spring-2011 for pre-med. Thanks to OPM folks who helped me discover my “guts”. I don’t miss it already.

Here are few things I am doing for the next 2 months:

  1. Volunteering at 2 different hospitals in the following departments: a) Day Surgery b) GI/Endoscopy c) OB/Gyn Clinic d) Neuro e) Cadio Rehab f) ER - Few of these positions I am still interviewing for, so praying it will all work out.

  2. Reviewing math, chemistry and physics.

    Besides the above, I would like to pick up few good reads on medicine, something interesting on the doctor-patient relationship/interation, or a book that describes “situations”/short-storie s in a hospital/clinic setting: embarassing, fun, touching moments.

    Any other recommendations for activities, or reading to make my med school applicant profile stronger.

    Just something to share: Today they had 44 surgeries at the Day Surgery deptt, of which 24 were General Anesthesia … I love watching the anesthesiologist putting people to restful sleep. The staff loves the way I describe their activities (over-simplified and romantic: but we all get to laugh).

    Also, there was a surgery for achilles tendon repair … gosh, I so BADLY wanted to see it: I am a runner, yikes I can relate to that pain. Ouchy! I wish! I wish!

    OK - I am digressing now … looking for suggestions.


A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I am so envious–to think…tomorrow…you are walking into a new chapter! Congratulations!!!

I have to keep my job through my entire pre-preq phase up until the last minute before I go to medical school… hopefully, that will be August of 2013. If I have a baby between now and then, factoring for maternity leave, that means I have a grand total of 21 months left in Corporate America. Not that I’ve counted or anything… =)

I think your volunteer opportunites sound amazing–to have such a cross section of exposure will make for a very cool story.

As for readings, while it’s certainly not “fun” by any stretch of the imagination… you may want to use some of this time to read up on healthcare legislation and reform. It’s not going anywhere, and so much of what you hear “out there” is someone’s opinion of something someone else heard or read (since when is Talk Radio a valid reference??)… so it would be nice to actually go to the source documents and find out what’s really being proposed.

You may already be an expert on the topic…but just thought I’d throw that out there. I feel pretty behind on that particular subject, and it’s one that is going to smack me square in the face on many levels in the months and years to come! I feel like most of what I think I know is probably skewed because it was filtered through someone’s opinion… so before I form my own opinion, I really want to read it all for myself!

Again, congratulations!!! Enjoy the next few months… do something fun!!!

Atul Gawande writes in an engaging, entertaining style – not quite “breezy”, but definitely geared toward the popular reader rather than the specialist. He is a surgeon and writes on medical topics. Your local public or school library will have several of his books; all are worth reading. You may not always agree with his social or political viewpoint – he’s definitely way to the left of me – but he doesn’t beat you over the head with his politics like so many writers can’t help but do, and he brings up relevant and useful ideas.

His buddy, Malcolm Gladwell, also writes highly engaging books, though not with such a medical focus. Same sociopolitical caveats, though also with the same general disclaimers; he isn’t out to make you a True Believer.

The hands-down most enjoyable book I ever read was Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Doug Hofstadter. It is not by any stretch of imagination a medical book (although he does discuss genetics a fair amount); it’s more a teaching-through-demonstr ation meditation on how the human mind works. It cannot hurt you to have read it, no matter your field of specialization. But be forewarned; it’s not a breezy, light, Gawande-ish romp. It takes some real concentration to mine its information. But it is well worth the effort.

I highly recommend the book “A Piece of My Mind” by JAMA. It’s a collection of short stories, essays and what-not written by doctors, patients, family members and med students. Every story captures your attention.



Thanks so much for the suggestions. I am absolutely open to read the books for personal growth as well.

Logging in to check library catalog after this message.


“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was a great read. Genetics, racism and medical ethics all rolled into one.

I agree - read Gawande. We got a short list in my program of extra reading and that was one of the emphasized suggestions.

Also, I think reading Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder about Dr. Paul Farmer is a must-read.

I haven’t finished reading this book, so I can’t vouch for it per se … it’s called “Gross Anatomy,” and it’s about exactly that: a semester of gross anatomy at med school. There are some non-trad students in the class, if memory serves (I started the book and then got side-tracked and didn’t finish it, not for lack of interest, but for lack of time). I’m hoping to go back and finish the book. I think it’d be a good read, too, and some insight into what we’re in for!

Thank you I have found all of the books at the library. Time to have fun this weekend and start reading on Monday!

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is an interesting read. It follows the story of a Hmong child who suffers from seizures and the differences in her families views vs western medicine’s view on how it affects her and how it should be treated.


This book was a required reading assignment in my 1st year of medical school (specifically the Introduction to the Physician-Patient Relationship portion of Clinical Skills I).

I just finished reading the book titled This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes and I thought it was fabulous. That book addresses charity care, community health, TB of the spine, and a fabulous doctor who runs a clinic in Ethiopia. I also read the Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks and agree with Emergency that it was an excellent book.

  • terra_incognita Said:
I haven't finished reading this book, so I can't *vouch* for it per se ... it's called "Gross Anatomy," and it's about exactly that: a semester of gross anatomy at med school. There are some non-trad students in the class, if memory serves (I started the book and then got side-tracked and didn't finish it, not for lack of interest, but for lack of time). I'm hoping to go back and finish the book. I think it'd be a good read, too, and some insight into what we're in for!

Based on your recommendation, I checked this book (Body of knowledge: One semester of gross anatomy, the gateway to becoming a doctor by Steve Geigerich) out from the library and read it today. Very worthwhile read for anyone considering medical school.

Finished part-1 of HeLa! (The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks) Thumbs up!

I am just going by the due date of my books.

Also, got to CLEP Economics (both Micro and Macro)- the week after - glad I taught my little sister all those subjects that I will be Clepping! Yay!!