Monday, July 25, 2011

The Pat Tillman Foundation

We are all familiar with the tragic story of Pat Tillman. However, not everyone is aware of The Pat Tillman Foundation, which was founded by his Wife, Marie Tillman, in 2004. The Tillman Foundation invests in veterans and their families through education and community.

The Foundation recently recognized their 3rd class of Scholars and a fellow contributor and myself were fortunate enough to have won scholarships. We are now Tillman Scholars and have joined a community of fellow, like-minded individuals who have a desire to serve their fellow man, community, and society, not only while in pursuit of our educational goals, but to continue that mission well into our careers.

I just returned from a three day summit in Maryland and I am having trouble expressing in words just what the experience meant to me. Everything was so well organized, timely, and the entire PTF staff was so friendly and professional. I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing veteran-scholars with their own stories of challenges and adversity, how they have turned their experiences into success, and what their future goals are in terms of continued service to their communities. The entire weekend was one I will never forget and I believe that it has already started shaping my future views on my role as a Pat Tillman Scholar within my community. I am honored to be a Tillman Scholar and pledge to continue to honor Pat's Legacy.

You can find out more about the Pat Tillman Foundation below. There is information on the application cycle, The Tillman Scholars, The Tillman Foundation, and ways to get involved (Pat's Run, donations, etc).

Also, here are some links to other organizations that partnered up with the PTF during our summit:

PJ Golf Sierra sends...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Medical School Burnout

In addition to my catharsis, the following posts will address a very real issue. The goal of posting these is not only to generate discussion of the topic of burnout but also to make us aware of the factors that are associated with it. I, like so many, went into school with an "Idea" of what I thought it would be and of what I "knew" I was going to do as a Physician and somewhere along the way I was faced with reality. It is a reality that (I argue) every medical student realizes at some point.

Here is a NY Times article for starters: Medical Student Burnout and the Challenge to Patient Care

Read on to the following posts...

Does medical school destroy empathy?

You may not like the answer. Read here

Relationships between Medical Student Burnout, Empathy and Professionalism Climate: A Challenge for the Medical School Curriculum

Chantal M.L.R. Brazeau*, Robin Schroeder*, Sue Rovi* and Linda Boyd** *UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and **Medical College of Georgia

Purpose: Medical student burnout is prevalent and there has been much discussion about burnout and professionalism in medical education and the clinical learning environment. Yet, few studies have attempted to explore relationships between those issues using validated instruments.

Methods: Medical students were surveyed at the beginning of 4th year using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy-Student Version (JSPE-S), and the Professionalism Climate Instrument (PCI). The data were analyzed using SPSS (statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and Spearman correlation analysis was performed. Results: Scores indicative of higher medical student burnout were associated with lower medical student empathy scores and with lower professionalism climate scores observed in medical students, residents and faculty.

Conclusions: Development of medical school curriculum interventions to address burnout and burnout prevention programs may result in improvement of empathy and desirable professional behaviors by students in the clinical learning environment.

Longitudinal Assessment of Empathy, Cynicism, Burnout, Stress, Cohesion, Psychological Safety, Learning Environment, Quality of Life and Residency Preference of Medical Students.

Rollin W. Nagel, Catherine R. Lucey, Daniel M Clinchot, and David Way Ohio State University

Purpose: There is insufficient information about empathy and related constructs in medical school matriculates. When do students change from being empathic and humanistic to being cynical or do they? The purpose of this longitudinal assessment is to measure the level of empathy, cynicism, burnout, stress, cohesion, psychological safety, learning environment, quality of life and residency preference as students progress through medical school.

Method: On‐line assessments of OSU medical students using end‐of‐year (EOY) surveys and at entry are solicited. The surveys include student empathy, personal distress, and perspective taking (Interpersonal Reactivity Index), exhaustion, cynicism and personal efficacy (Maslach Burnout Inventory Student Survey), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), emotional climate, nurturance, student‐ student interaction, meaningful learning experience, flexibility (Learning Environment Questionnaire), cohesion (Perceived Cohesion Scale), 10‐item Quality of Life, Psychological Safety, and top residency specialty choices. Two‐way repeated measures ANOVAs have assessed changes among classes and across time.
Results: These assessment instruments have previously demonstrated reliability and validity. Currently two years of data from three classes at OSU have been collected. Many of the ANOVAs demonstrate significant interactions (P<.05; differences across time among classes). Example post hoc analyses for entry to EOY1 indicated significant (P<.05) increases in distress, stress, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and personal efficacy. In addition, there was less exhaustion and more personal distress for EOY1 to EOY2.

Conclusions: Many of the analyzed differences were a result of changes from medical school entry to EOY1. Future EOY assessments may clarify class differences and be used to study the impact of major curricular changes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Design Competition

Design our new PJ Docs flash and we will proudly display it on our site and T-shirts. It should be a combination of the rescue angel from the PJ flash and the rod of Asclepius (single snake). Send it to us and we will use it as our logo!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blog Question

Dear Sirs,

I'm a Peace Corps volunteer about to end my two-year assignment in Micronesia. I've had a long desire desire to get into Pararescue, but at 27 years old, I feel I also need to plan ahead for a future outside of the military. My desire is to become a physician in pediatric emergency medicine, but I understand I can't pursue that while in Pararescue.

My questions, therefore, are:

1. Could I take my science prerequisites while in Pararescue? (I have a BA in History, and I need some more science courses.)
2. Should I be separated from Pararescue training, could I obtain an honorable discharge from the Air Force in order to pursue medical school? Please don't take that as a hesitancy on my part to do my absolute best in training; I just want to plan responsibly given the amount of time it would take to obtain a medical degree.

In general, attending school while in pararescue is not an option, especially during your first 4 years as a PJ. Attending school is possible (but very difficult) after completing 3-4 years of initial PJ training, either by doing online courses or by securing an assignment as an instructor where you would be stationed at a site that would allow you time to attend college. In the later, you would not be an operating PJ but instead an instructor at PJ school. PJ Golf Sierra from the blog is one PJ who took online courses while in pararescue but he did this years after he had been in and was far removed from training. He is an exceptional case and I wouldn't suggest trying to do what he did.

You need to consider your age and where you want to be in ten years. I waited until I was 34 to start Medical School and I figure I will be in my 50's before I pay off student loan debt. Remember that both of these careers take dedication and a lot of time. From the start of Med School (not including undergrad/prereqs/MCAT) you will spend at least 7 years which includes residency. Add undergrad to that and you have 11 years. In my case I will spend 15 years of undergrad, med school and residency. It is a long road.

Good luck