Drinking from a fire hose

“Drinking from a fire hose” is a common saying used to describe learning in medical school. It means that the amount of material that is taught and is expected to learn is overwhelming for most students.

Medical students have 3-6 courses per semester. Depending on the course, there might be a lab as well. Everyday, there is vast amount of material covered in classes. Usually, all this material is completely new to the students. Students are expected to learn this material by the end of the day. Even a below average student will tell you that you can’t miss a day of studying. If you do, then it will just pile up the following day, and you won’t be able to get it done. Weekends are usually reserved to completing house-hold chores, reviewing what has already been taught in the week, and doing practice USMLE questions. Some schools can be generous and give you these practice questions, while other schools (like the one in the Caribbeans) will not. Why you ask? Well, Caribbean schools are for profit organizations. The more people fail, the more they will repeat classes, the more the school’s profits. Doesn’t that hurt student education? Well, the world is not a fair place. Will the students passing and getting their MDs be competent? Yes! The national boards of America will only let people get their MDs if they pass the USMLE exams. So, the doctors who do enter the mainstream of  US medical society meet their criteria.

How can people adapt to such learning environment? Many believe that no one can remember all of the material that is taught in class. To pass the exams, it is useful if you focus on “high yield” material. This material usually contains concepts that could be tested on exams. For instance, clinically related information, diseases, point in a pathway where drugs or other modifications can change the final result, etc. can be considered “high yield”. Understanding the rest of the pathways is important, but not really necessary for exam purposes. No one cares if you can recite the whole pathway with different interventions at each step. The only thing that matters in real life is if you know what could go wrong, and how to prevent it or treat it. This part is not discussed in medical school. No teacher will ever advise you about “high yield”. Many students suffer to the point of mental breakdown trying to figure this out. It’s not a easy thing for students who are hard-wired since early age to learn EVERYTHING to just focus on key points. That is one of the biggest challenge. Also, the “high yield” rule is not perfect either. You will miss the information sometimes, and then exam questions will ask some tiny detail you forgot. Is this your fault? Given the time constraint and the amount of information thrown at you, you should let this slide. You did your best. No one is perfect. No one can remember everything. Just try to remember the “high yield”.


My experience in TRU’s Respiratory Therapy program

I started this Respiratory Therapy program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops in September 2012. It has been a great program so far. My experience with the staff and the students has been excellent.

The staff consists of Linda, the program coordinator. Anything related to course work, people go to her. She is a counsellor as well as a program director. I heard she teaches some courses in upper semesters as well. She was supposed to teach us one of the respiratory courses this semester, but she asked another professor to teach it. He is a little out of practice from teaching. It was a couple of years back when he last taught. The only thing I don’t like about this guy is that sometimes he just goes into too much detail. Otherwise, he is great. His exams are fair, and he is always there to answer any questions we might have. Another good professor is Mike. He is excellent when he is teaching us. Everyone is paying attention during his class. He knows how to keep us engaged during the whole class. He also keeps the mood light by telling one liners.

The students here are from different backgrounds. Most students are just high school graduates or maybe undergrad university students. However, some students are older. For example, we have a nurse here. She already had a career in nursing, but I guess she considered changing her career. I have talked to her only a couple of times. She is a nice lady. Everyone here is generally nice. No complains.

Overall, my experience with the program has been excellent. I am glad I chose this program. I am confident that the friendly and supportive staff will help he gain the knowledge and experience I need for my future in Respiratory therapy. 

Hello world!

Hello World,

My name is Jasanpreet M., but you can call me Jason. This is going to be a brief introduction about myself.

I am from Burnaby, B.C (Canada). I have been living here for a couple of years now. Before this I was living in Surrey, B.C. I went to high school there and graduated in 2008. After that, I went to Simon Fraser University to pursue Bachelor of Science. Later on I declared my major in Kinesiology. Currently I am doing a Respiratory Therapy program at Thompson River University. It is a great program and will definitely lead to a promising career. However, my dream job has always been to become a doctor.

My hobbies include watching TV shows, reading, running, music, and movies. I am trying to include working out in the gym to be a part of my daily regime; however, I can never stick to the workout schedule. I have got to stop being lazy if I want to see any changes in my physique. I believe my determination and hard work will definitely bring some good results.