How to maximize productivity for any late night work session.

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Unsplash, @punttim

The first thing you need to know about pulling an all-nighter is that you shouldn’t. Honestly, if you have any other options, don’t do it. An all-night cram session is never a substitute for a good study strategy. Whether you have had past success with this last minute method or not, it is always risky, both for your grades and your health. However, as a student myself I know there times when this technique though frowned upon and often ineffective is unavoidable. Midterms and exams tend to cluster and no matter how accommodating your professors may be there just aren’t enough hours in the day (or week, or semester for that matter). Fear not — I am not here to shame you for procrastinating or criticize your FOMO-induced overscheduling. I’m here to help you survive the night. …


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National Cancer Institute, Unsplash

In the not so distant past, if you needed to see a doctor you basically had one of two options. You could set up an appointment with your family doctor and be seen at their clinic or you could go to the emergency room. The former if you thought the problem could wait and the latter if you were pretty sure you needed help sooner than next week. That’s it. In it’s most simplified version, if you needed medical care those were the two entry points to the system.

Now enter COVID-19. Our modern medical system was never designed for pandemic conditions. It is not built to handle an influx of acutely ill patients. In most places, it is functioning at or over capacity at baseline. So what can we do? Initially, responsible healthcare professionals need to shift their attention and resources to respond to the new demands of the virus but people aren’t just going to stop having heart attacks or car accidents. People are still going to need their usual prescriptions refilled and to schedule follow-ups for their chronic conditions. In pandemic medicine, physicians still owe these patients a duty of care. So the question becomes how do you balance that duty against the risks of infection, incapacitation or even death? …


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Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, I had never taken an online class. Let’s be clear, I have learned things online. Actually, probably most of what I consider to be part of my core knowledge base has come from or been supplemented by one online source or another. However, until a few months ago all of my formal education had been in person. Something I didn’t realize until now that I had been taking for granted.

Just for some context, I’m a medical student (so my perspective on all of this may be slightly skewed) and until the eve of the pandemic I was actually in the clinical phase of my training. I was working in hospitals and clinics and for the first time in my life learning wasn’t confined to lecture halls and libraries. …


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NeONBRAND, Unsplash

The scientist and the writer could not appear to be more different. The former concise and rational, the latter intuitive and descriptive. Therefore, it should not be surprising that many science students, especially at the university level, shy away from any kind of intensive writing. Others still take every measure to avoid it entirely, painstakingly building their course schedules around classes that assess performance solely based on multiple choice examinations. Though this might be an alarming fact (considering that most of these young people are studying to become our future doctors and scientific leaders) it is not really that surprising.

Speaking from experience, to excel at any scientific discipline (at least in the classroom) you learn early on that memorization and mathematics are more important than coherent prose. You get marks for what you know, not how well you communicate it. One word answers are best, bullet points are rewarded and sentences unnecessary. …


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This is by no means a comprehensive list. It’s mainly what I’ve read and liked and thought was worth sharing. If there are any books I’ve missed or that you’d recommend leave them in the responses.

The House of God (Samuel Shem)

For any wannabe MD, this is a classic. It is also easily one of the weirdest novels I have ever read. As the only work of fiction on this list, its painfully real unreality often borders on the bizarre. But don’t be fooled, this book reveals a profound truth. I’m just not completely sure what it is yet…

Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death, and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon’s First Years (Michael J. Collins)
A surprisingly funny and candid account of what it’s like to be an orthopedic surgery resident at the Mayo Clinic. Collins is introspective, honest, and often sleep-deprived, but clearly passionate about medicine which makes for an enjoyable read. …

About

Veronica Stewart

MD student writing about education, art and (of course) medicine.

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