ASMPH MD/MBA: Four years and counting

It’s the first Monday of e-nternship. This is a life update post.

Transition from medical clerkship to internship

It feels like it was just yesterday when I wrote an incredible long post on the nine things I learned in clerkship. Quarantine time is weird. March is both seven years and seven minutes ago.

Every year, Batch 2021 has a “red brick wall” photoshoot to commemorate the start of the academic year, as organized by our batch officers, directed by brilliant photographers, and edited by creative minds. This time next year, I’m hoping to have a grad photoshoot ready to post.

This is now my fifth year in medical school. My peers from other schools are post-graduate interns making their way through internship in their preferred private or public hospital. It is still probably online though.

(The Commission on Higher Education’s advisory dated May 24 2020 states that institutions using significant face-to-face or in person mode can open no earlier than September. The same policy is echoed by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Guidelines for the National Internship Program dated July 31 2020.)

The transition is anti-climactic. Under non-pandemic conditions, moving up to internship means being more involved in the management of the patient. We’d be performing more bedside procedures, writing on charts, drafting prescriptions, and suturing in the OR.

E-nternship, or online internship, is our reality for the next four-and-a-half months. I am itching to go back to the hospital and community, but I understand why it’s not feasible. It doesn’t make it any easier.

But I can only imagine how much worse it is for people who are truly racing against time: athletes whose prime years are swiftly passing by, those who receive pay on a day-to-day basis, non-COVID patients who can’t receive proper care. Zoom fatigue seems paltry in comparison, but no less valid.

Studying, time management and online productivity

I previously mentioned making it into the Community Enhanced Internship Program (CEIP). I’ve been excited about this program ever since I heard about it last year from a Batch 2020 intern.

Since Family Medicine is one of my main considerations, and non-residency and public health work is still a top contender, I really wanted more exposure to general consults with long-term follow-up. There are so many other reasons why I wanted to be part of CEIP, which I hope to validate with my own stories experienced throughout the year.

CEIP is a pilot program of ASMPH now on its third year of implementation. While regular interns have a hospital-based internship for most of the year, the twelve CEIP interns have a practice-based generalist experience serving the community health center for half that time.

With distance learning in place, this has been temporarily translated to more community-oriented small group discussions, lectures and online activities –on top of the other learning activities for the regular rotations. But I am still excited to review different subjects at any given time.

After fixing up my schedule for this first week, I was really tempted to search for a real world time-turner. For the first two days I was absolutely dead. Today I learned to make myself a morning cup of coffee.

My online calendar has been gathering dust for months. My bullet journal is still stashed somewhere in my bookshelf (I don’t want to waste ink or paper anymore).

I’m been using Google Docs to write and comment on my lecture notes, and GoodNotes for my bible-based notes (doubling as board review –though that has taken the backseat the last few days).

For personal management, I use Google Calendar to plot events, and Google Keep for miscellaneous notes, reminders, checklists, and blogging drafts.

I also have a tracker app called HabitBull to help me commit to the habits of daily exercise, skincare, study time, writing, and Spanish study time.

Still in a pandemic and economic crisis

At the start of this month, the Philippine College of Physicians, supported by over 80 medical societies, appealed for a return to enhanced community quarantine (aka the strictest lockdown protocol) to temporize the situation in overfilled hospitals and to give the government time to re-strategize. This call came in the context of the Inter-Agency Task Force placing NCR and CALABARZON under general community quarantine (aka second to the loosest protocol) starting July 31.

In a tone-deaf move absolutely consistent with every other corrupt thing this government has been doing, Duterte responded against the medical workers.

Do not try to demean government. You’re not actually criticizing. You demean my government, your own government,” and “Then you threaten a revolution. This is our country. You want us to destroy it? Start it now,” and finally, “The problem is my pocket is already empty because we have suffered economically”.

I am sure their pockets are very full. We already have nine trillion in debt.

The PCP has been kind enough to write a letter of clarification to PRRD. I somehow doubt it will be heeded.

I’ve written about this before… but it seems like a very disheartening time to be a medical professional or medical worker-in-training. The first problem identified by the initial letter of the PCP was hospital workforce deficiency, with many resigning because of fear, fatigue and poor working conditions. Many residents and healthcare workers are thinking of migrating once conditions permit; I can’t blame them.

Time to breathe, think, live

I want to find the time to go through my WordPress reader and diversify my follow list. I want to read the ebook I just downloaded. I have the Read by QxMD app but I haven’t read a journal study in centuries. I want to cook breakfast again, but it’s hard to juggle against a daily 8AM class. I want to have some time to actually answer some questions on CourseHero, and finally fix up my freelance advertisement online (I offer proofreading and content writing).

Instead I’ve finished Haikyuu!! seasons 1 to 3, and also the manga. #Priorities

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