Preparing to become a doctor

April 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm (Applying to med school)

Every week, some ninny starts a thread on SDN asking a question that goes something to the effect of, “I’ve been accepted to medical school. What should I do between now and August before matriculating?” Despite all of the calls from current medical students to take the summer off, many self-righteous dipshits other pre-meds will offer advice of studying anatomy or getting a job as an EMT to gain clinical experience.

All of those suggestions are nonsense. Medical school will teach you everything you need to know about being a doctor—including anatomy and clinical skills. Trust me, you’re going to get a lot of experience with patients. You certainly don’t need to start working with them now. If you’re going to ignore my advice and still feel the need to “do something” over the summer, I have two suggestions.

The first is to do an immersion program in Latin America to learn Spanish. If you live with a Mexican family and are forced to work on Spanish for as little as eight weeks, you’ll be conversational enough to at least be able to speak with your patients. Some immersion programs offer a hospital experience so that you can learn medical Spanish. These trips are relatively inexpensive—about $200 a week for everything—but will require some work on your behalf.

The second option is to hit the gym. Take a look at the figure below:

Obesity map of the United States

As you can see, the country is fat. All of those pounds take their toll on you, the healthcare worker. If you want to do your patients a service, bulk up with protein shakes and pushups so that you can successfully transfer your patients from their double-sized wheelchairs to the MRI bed. Otherwise, you could very likely strain your back trying to move patients. Also, chicks dig muscles—even on other chicks.



  1. LuckMC11 said,

    nice post!

  2. John J. Coupal said,

    This is not a politically correct comment, but…

    Why should any prospective MD [in the US] have to learn Spanish? The gazillion other nationalities in America don’t – and can’t – expect special catering to the peculiarities of their language.

    Pandering to the whims of a group is unbecoming to a professional.

  3. Candace said,

    To Mr. Coupal:

    Pandering? I learned my twenty or so vocab words and four verb conjugations for when my Mexican patient is screaming his head off in his native language in the ER about his meth frenzy, not because I felt that Spanish would help me better understand the nonsensical complexities of cultural understanding. In an urban ER with a volunteer translating staff, those twenty words are nearly as valuable as the crash cart.

  4. halfmd said,

    The reason doctors need to learn Spanish is that your patients refuse to learn English. Don’t ask me why. I know that if I were moving to another country to find employment I would certainly want to learn the language. Unfortunately, the Hispanic community is large enough in the United States that immigrants can get away with knowing only Spanish. Of course, that attitude bites them in the ass when they get sick or injured. But for the most part, a Latin immigrant can get by without learning English.

  5. Susy Cat said,

    You know, it is always nice to make your patients as comfortable as possible. Some immigrants, although they have learned spanish, are never that comfortable talking to their doctors in their second language.

    Also, you get some perks by maybe getting higher salary because you are bilingual

  6. Michelle said,

    You know knowing a second language is always better because that way it doesn’t make it hard for the patient to actually speak to you.The patient will feel more comfortable and you might earn some extra cash.

  7. future doc said,

    oi ur site helps noone i was hoping u could tell me something u could tell me nout it is hopeless there is no point on having it it dosent help eny one and i wanted help but u cant give it to me because u no nout yhe only thing u no is that being a doctor is hard work aparintly so is writting about them so suck on that

  8. Sleek said,

    1. future doc – learn how to spell you you barefoot baboon

    2.John J. Coupal – That is the most unprofessional comment I have ever read you arrogant twat

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