Middle of Block 5

Most of my friends outside of medical school have either already had Spring Break or are just beginning it. As for me, I have a month left of block 5 before embarking on a short vacation. 😯

This block, we’ve been studying the nervous system, infectious diseases, behavioral science, and medical ethics. Each of the courses has varying levels of workload, but I’m enjoying all of them in different ways.

I’ve waded through four blocks of material to finally arrive at the study of my “favorite” system – that consisting of neurons, central nervous system pathways, neurodegenerative disorders, neurological/physical manifestations of said disorders, etc. The upperclassmen said it’s one of the best courses at Baylor Med, and their insight has proven to be extremely accurate.

Medical ethics is also pretty cool. Having a chance to work in small groups to discern the ethical appeals associated with different cases is an exercise I’m sure all physicians will encounter throughout their careers. How do we deal with respecting a patient’s autonomy while simultaneously “doing no harm?” How do we balance ethical guidelines with our humanity? Very interesting (and relevant) topics… and more to come in the coming weeks. 🙂

Behavioral science is an interesting class. In most lectures, we watch short video clips of prepubescent children responding to certain questions designed to test their reasoning skills (and thereby assess the progress of their development). We’ve learned about some important “landmarks” in a child’s development, analyzed the theories of famous psychologists like Piaget, and watched lots and lots of adorable babies crawling around on video.

Infectious disease (ID) seems to be draining the most of my time. Unfortunately, there’s no logic or rationale behind most of it. Instead, wrought memorization is the name of the game. What’s the most common cause of meningitis in a neonate? What’s the best way to diagnose treponema pallidum? What’s the recommended treatment for enterococcus? Despite the rigorous memorization, infectious disease is no doubt one of the most clinically applicable courses I’ve taken. If a patient walks into the clinic with a headache, rash, and fever… my ID knowledge will immediately consider a rickettsial infection as a possibility.

All in all, I think the block has been going well. I’m beginning to feel the stereotypical pressures of being a “medical student”, but I’ve been having a lot of fun week to week thanks to my amazing classmates. 🙂

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