Welcome to this week's edition of Dear Dr. Horton! Send the anonymous questions that keep you up at night to a real former Dean of Medical Student Affairs, Dr. Jillian Horton, and get the perspective you need with no fear of judgment. Submit your questions anonymously through this form, and if your question is appropriate for the column, expect an answer within a few weeks!
Dear Dr. Horton,
Looking back, I know there were many reasons I wanted to enter this field — but with the overwhelming and increasingly hectic nature of medical training and residency, it’s sometimes easy to forget what those were.
I don’t want to become jaded so early in the game, but can feel some of my initial idealism ebbing away and cynicism setting in. What are some ways to remind ourselves of our passion for medicine?
Dr. Sarita Verma, Vice President of Education at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), notes that this ideal — providing compassionate care that is sensitive to patients’ values, as well as the integrity and nature of the physician-patient relationship — resonates quite strongly with Canadian medical students as well. ...continue reading →
Dalia Karol is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Ottawa
“Why waste my summer travelling when I should be preparing for clerkship?” I have heard many students say this during medical school. As co-chair of the University of Ottawa Medical School Wellness Committee, I recognize the value of taking time for oneself during medical school — especially since medical students are at high risk of burnout. While I appreciate the value of pursuing clinical and research electives, finding time to travel during our last month-long summer break can also be rewarding. Shared here are some of the lessons I have learned through travelling and how they have allowed me to reflect on my medical school experiences, gain a broader perspective, and make valuable international connections.
After spending time travelling in Europe during the summer after first year — gaining new perspectives while exploring the world outside of medicine — I began my second year energized for my classes, research, and electives. ...continue reading →
Hassan Hazari is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Queen's University
The inclusion of arts and humanities in medical curricula has been a standard part of the student’s learning experience since the 1990s. The arts are credited with nurturing the skills and attitudes necessary for meaningful human interaction and personal development. McMaster University’s “Art of Seeing” program demonstrated that an arts-based curriculum promoted empathic development (Zazulak et al., 2017). The visual arts are a particular area of focus, as studying visual art not only has humanistic value but has also been shown to improve technical skills such as observation. Art-making (distinct from art observation) has been shown to foster humanistic and advocacy-orientated inclinations as well as promote learning in medical students (Cox et al., 2016; Courneya, 2017).
Dr. James Maskalyk describes emergencies “as a sign of life taking care of itself” in his most recent memoir, Life on the Ground Floor. Throughout his book, the reader is left to wonder what exactly Maskalyk means by this. It is an ominous phrase that, at first glance, reads more like a repackaged “survival of the fittest” for emergency departments. However, through deft and emotional storytelling, Maskalyk urges us to look beyond this stark message of Darwinism and see that emergencies are the purest form of life helping life, or “life taking care of itself”. ...continue reading →
This dynamic executive committee will create policies and direction to foster the growth and development of our new national, health humanities organization. A lot has already been accomplished thanks to the diligent work of our colleagues, students and friends. Over 1000 people have attended our annual Creating Space conference since its inception eight years ago. We have funding for three years from Associated Medical Services, which is being used in part for start-up costs, including administrative support. The CAHH website is also operating and a conditional constitution has been posted for members’ review. ...continue reading →
Barbara Sibbald, News and Humanities editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "Words, deeds and interpretations". The article is written by Dr. Mary Seeman, professor emerita, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
In the article, Dr. Seeman, an older psychiatrist, recounts how acting instead of talking can net rather dire results. The events are true but happened decades ago.
Stuart Kinmond reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "He was a boy with a name". The article is written by Dr. Nicholas Batley, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre in Lebanon.
The article tells the true story of Dr. Batley’s encounter with a young Syrian refugee on the streets of Beirut. The patient’s name and personal details have been changed to protect his identity.
Upon being accepted to medical school in 2012, I received a special edition of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” from a personal mentor; reminding me to not just look ahead, but to remember and cherish the distant memories that shape who we are. I recently stumbled upon this memorabilia when I returned home over the March Break, and sat down to write this poem.