Rounds to Residency

IM Residency vs COVID with Clinical Problem Solvers Lindsey Shipley, MD & Jack Penner, MD

Chase DiMarco talks to Dr. Lindsey Shipley and Dr. Jack Penner from The Clinical Problem Solvers Podcast, a podcast that examines medicine’s clinical mindsets and critical thinking aspects. They talk about the process of clinical problem-solving, interview tips on a successful interview season, and the characteristics of an ideal internal medicine resident.

  • [01:55] The Main Differences Between Basic Science and Clinical Learning
  • [05:30] Problems Affecting Residents in Internal Medicine
  • [11:23] Interview Tips for a Successful Interview Season
  • [16:25] Desirable Traits of an Ideal Internal Residency Applicant
  • [18:19] Assessing the Process of Clinical Problem Solving
  • [21:50] Mastering Foundational Illnesses
  • [24:25] System 1 and System 2 Clinical Reasoning

The Main Differences Between Basic Science and Clinical Learning

For the most part, medical education starts by focusing on the basic sciences such as physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, and anatomy. These focus areas dissect how the majority of disease processes present themselves and how best to manage them. In contrast, clinical medicine primarily deals with body basics, treatment procedures, and learning a patient’s problems while understanding the disease in the diagnosis process. The other main difference is that we first tackle the disease in basic science and then identify the symptoms. In clinical practice, on the other hand, the clinician goes from symptoms to diagnosis.

Dr. Penner admits that transitioning from text-based questions to real-life problem solving is one of the most challenging aspects of medicine. Fortunately, The Clinical Problem Solvers provides materials centered on diagnosis and disease management for internal medics.

Problems Experienced by Residents in Internal Medicine

First, the pandemic has completely shifted the way we approach match week. The restrictions on movement forced program directors to shift to virtual interviews. This, in turn, made it possible for students to apply and interview for several residency positions throughout the country. Since students have a lot more flexibility to interview at programs that they might not have done before, there has been a surge in applicants applying for residency programs. However, students now don’t have the information that they would have used in the past to make informed decisions about what’s the right fit for them. Further, they cannot get a taste of hospital culture and determine whether they’ll seamlessly fit into the said culture.

Tips for a Successful Residency Interview Season

Many medical students believe that residency interviews are the final stretch of their residency application process. Most students also believe that it’s the highlight of years of hard work and a unique chance to prove that you are the right candidate for their specialty. Still, it can also be the hardest part of the whole process. Dr. Shipley believes that the best way to stand out from the crowd is by knowing what you want and being yourself throughout the entire process. Sadly, students going through the application process focus on crafting themselves in the image of what programs want to see. The fake it till you make it mentality is negatively affecting how students present themselves during interviews. According to Dr. Shipley, residency programs want someone who will thrive in their institutions and understands what the program is all about.

Of course, the fear of missing out will always be there. But, you stand a far better chance of getting accepted as long as you present yourself in the best possible way and being yourself.

Assessing the Process of Clinical Problem Solving

Clinical problem solving is defined as the processes by which clinical decisions are made to improve patient health through diagnosis, therapy planning, monitoring, and prevention of diseases. Interestingly, clinical reasoning is considered as the one trait that defines a successful clinician. According to Dr. Penner, medics who want to improve or master these skills must outline the cognitive steps that lead to success in eliciting, framing, and solving medical problems. He goes on to add that residents don’t have to know everything; they just need to focus on the common aspects of medicine. This then makes it possible for the resident to make a timely diagnosis, immediate life-saving treatment plans, avoid unnecessary medical tests, and improve the patient’s overall health condition.

Check out the Clinical Problem Solvers website and connect with our guests via Twitter @LindseyShipley8 and @jackpenner

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Chase DiMarco

Chase DiMarco is an MS, MBA-HA and MD/Ph.D-candidate. He is the founder of MedEd University, a free medical education resource, the host of the Medical Mnemonist & Rounds to Residency podcasts creator of several medical education platforms, and CEO of FindARotation clinical rotations service.

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