Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Again, High Hopes

I think the interview went well. I had been specifically applying to a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) pathway, and the majority of the questions seemed to make sure that you were well suited for it. The questions, as expected, were centralized around communication skills, ability to lead a group and handle stress. I'm pretty confident my answers made me come off as a good fit for such a program.

The only question they really grilled me on was "why osteopathic medicine?" I told them how initially I was attracted to it because I agreed with their treating philosophy, but now it has more to do with the emphasis on primary care and closer and more personalized relationships I've seen osteopathic physicians have with their patients as opposed to the allopathic physicians. The "bad cop" then continued to say but why osteopathic medicine? It sounded like he wanted me to start hating on allopathic physicians, but I wouldn't go down that road. I simply stuck with what I said. I really don't know what else there is to say.

They asked how I like to communicate with people and give an example. I told them that when speaking with people I always like to actively engage them. When with new people I ask lots of questions and try to relate myself to them because I think it brings us to a quick level of comfort. I then supported this with a story of how I turned the quietest person I ever met into quite the talker, at least when around me. And that I'm able to reach a lever of conversation I haven't seen him have with many other people that he's known for as long. On top of this, we also have very few similar interests. I then also related my skills to patient contact. I told them how I find patients to feel very comfortable around me and that I'm often able to get plenty of information out of them without them possibly even realizing.

When it came to my leadership skills I told them that I don't see the job of a team leader to tell the group what to do. I see it as a job to coordinate an effort. I also went on to say how I think it's important to, again, engage everyone by asking them their opinion of how to go about solving a problem and then come to an agreement on the best option. I stressed the importance of having a diverse pool of perspectives. I was also asked how I would handle a disagreement within a group. I said you can't just throw out someone's ideas just because you don't agree with them. You have to go through the reasoning behind their conclusion even if it means going through it in excruciating detail. They kind of grilled me a little on this one too asking what do you do if the person will absolutely not compromise. I mean what are you suppose to do in that case? I said I generally end up just going along with the other person's plan until I see it going just slightly off course and am then quick to point out the flaws manifesting into reality.

After the interview we sat through a two hour PBL session. This. Was. Awesome. The intensity of everyone trying to figure out what was going on in the case was simply overwhelming. There were 8 people in the group, plus one facilitator and easily 40+ 5'' thick textbooks covering the desk. I was also completely blown away by the knowledge that these early OMS II's had. The whole time I felt like I was listening to a foreign language. I mean I'm by no means medically illiterate, but this was like me listening to spanish and getting excited when I recognize a phrase. And the jumping between subjects every second was awesome. Learning each subject in relation to the others makes so much more sense to me. One second they're going through lab results, then they're flipping through their histology atlas to identify a lung tissue sample, then they're talking about the physiology of the lungs and what could be leading to this disorder, which then brings them to their microbiology and pathology text books to identify the causative agent. Then when they realize it's a common bacteria they look for what gave this opportunistic organism the upper hand. So they looked at other symptoms that probably weren't so much caused by the disease, as much as signs of lifestyle choices which gives an idea of what the patient is at a greater risk of getting. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. I thought sitting through the class was going to be the worse part, but it was easily the best.

Sorry Dr. Panda, but you're dead wrong about PBL.

Basically I now have this school as my number one choice, (and funny enough my only possible current choice!) even though I won't have access to the rotation sites I want, but that's fine. My mom and friend both said I need to write a thank you e-mail to the dean of admissions or someone like that. I'm normally completely against this cause I despise all forms of ass kissing, but I think I should really get the point across that PBL is something I'm committed to and that after that meeting it unexpectedly went to the top of my list.

Thoughts anyone?


The Angry Frenchie said...

I'm glad to hear that it went so well!

As far as PBL goes, I've always been a huge fan of it. The school I'm going to tends to mix lecture and PBL and sometimes I regret not going to the school that was emphasizing PBL (but then I remember all the debt I would be in if I did and don't feel so bad)... In PBL you have to actively learn, and I honestly feel that's the best way to learn something is to be just be thrown into the thick of it, and then forced to find your way through the maze.

Excellent job on not falling for the trap and bashing the allopathics - you never want to bash anyone that could be on your future health care team during your professional career.

Anyway, do write thank you letters to all the docs that interviewed you - this isn't asskissing, it's polite. If you wish, you may write a letter of intent to the Dean later on, but it's probably too early for that at the moment.

Once again, congrats!

Dr. K said...

I have only enough time right now to add my quick comment of: *don't* send thank-you letters.

If you can hang on for one more day then I promise that I will find more time tomorrow (is that Wednesday? What day of the week is it?! haha - welcome to my world) to elaborate on this.

But for now: do not send any letters.

brandoncfi said...

Good Luck
Did you get a chance to see the new House yet

Dr. K said...

I'm so happy to hear that the interview went so well - it's a good indication if you are feeling that it went so well! And it's terrific that you will hear so quickly; two weeks is a really short time compared to most medical schools (mine, for example, takes about three months to offer admission).

As for sending letters, here is my opinion. Others may have different views on this but this is based on my experience. When we train the interviewers at my medical school we explicitly tell them that they are not permitted to accept anything from any of the applicants - including thank you letters and/or cards.

So it is officially frowned upon at my medical school. At best it will be received very neutrally and at worst it could be received negatively. It really is seen as a sign of "sucking up".

I did a mini-survey of some of my colleagues today and they all agree that applicants sending thank-you letters should be actively discouraged.

After all, we already know that you are thankful for the interview -- show me a medical applicant who isn't!

As I said, this is based on my experiences but I do think that it's a good policy for all involved.

Pending, P.A. said...

My mom is insistent that I do it because the dean of the clinical psychology PhD program that she's in said they look for the letters to show real interest.

The letter would be more than "thank you" I was also going to comment on how much faith I really have in PBL. If you had met the dean of academics who developed the PBL program I think you would agree that he looks for people who are as equally excited by PBL as he is.

I also asked my advisor today and he said that from what he's been told by admission committees it's looked at favorably.

My mom also refers regularly about how a family friend got into Georgetown off the waiting list basically because she constantly e-mailed them.

Sooo I think I'm going to write to them, but make sure not to sound like I'm ass kissing too much. Trust me, that's my number one priority. Thank you for the advice though I do highly regard your thoughts. :-)

Pending, P.A. said...

And yes, I did see House! I thought that was a really twisted ending. I actually yelled "WHOA THAT'S FUCKED UP!" aloud when it happened.