I asked a simple question to my colleagues on Twitter yesterday.
Thanks to all my colleagues for their amazing responses! This list is almost the curriculum for a course on how to do well (and be well) as an intern.
Enjoy…and take notes!
I asked a simple question to my colleagues on Twitter yesterday.
Thanks to all my colleagues for their amazing responses! This list is almost the curriculum for a course on how to do well (and be well) as an intern.
Enjoy…and take notes!
I just taught two of my residents an easy way to log cases without stickers, notebooks, cards (or any other HIPPA risky methods). They were all but jumping up and down with happiness, so I decided this might be worth sharing.
(For those that aren’t in medicine, this is a requirement for everyone training in a procedural based field in medicine.)
Step 1:At the end of the case, when you open the computer for the orders and notes, highlight and copy the patient info at the top of the screen.
Step 2: Open your Outlook calendar. Every institution gives you an Outlook account for your email and (even if you haven’t found it yet) this has a calendar, too. Hospital and medical school Outlook accounts are password protected and HIPPA compliant. (It would be a good idea to double check at your institution, but I haven’t found one yet where this isn’t true).
Step 3: Create an “appointment” for your case.
Paste what you copied from Epic into the “note” portion of the appointment. It will look like the green box in the image below.
Copy the name and MRN to the subject line of the “appointment”
Add the attending’s name if it’s not in the info copied from Epic.
Step 4: To officially log your case, open the ACGME site in a window next to your open calendar. Copy and paste the information from your calendar to log the case (isn’t that better than typing all that info?!?!…. you’re welcome!)
Step 4b: Put an asterix by the patients name in your calendar entry to show that you logged this case.
Hope that helps! If you discover any important tricks or shortcuts to add to this system, please contact me or comment below!
Like most of you, my New Years resolutions in past years have been something like “Exercise every day” or “Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal.” And, I bet that you had the same experience I did… a few weeks of “success” and then they seemed to fade away. The problem with these kinds of goals are how they are structured. They end up being “either-or” goals … you are either able to do them or, more often, you miss a day (or two… or three) and feel like a failure.
It’s a simple, but very powerful concept. Set your goal as a destination… as a “lighthouse” in the distance, and then head in that direction every day. As Ryder Carroll explains, “When goals are lighthouses, success is defined by simply showing up, by daily progress no matter how big or small…”
So instead of the usual New Year’s Resolutions, pick a few “lighthouse goals”. Write them down and keep track of how you are doing (every journey needs a map). This can be as simple as one piece of paper for each goal, but I am such a fan of the Bullet Journal, I hope you consider using it.
When you get up every morning think about how to move towards your goal(s). If you veer off course, that’s part of the journey…. look up, find your lighthouse, and correct your course. Every once in a while (maybe monthly?), look at the progress you’ve made and celebrate it! If, on the other hand, the goals you originally chose don’t make sense for you any more, pick some new goals, draw a new map and start over.
Potential New Year “Lighthouse” goals
Today I have the incredible joy of talking to the medical students on our rotation. No agenda, just a conversation that they requested for some “advice”. They just started their surgery rotation last week and it’s their first rotation. First rotation, beginner’s mind, unbridled enthusiasm… it is so wonderful!. I decided I would come up with what I wish someone had told me at the beginning of my rotations…
Be mindful, deliberate and excited about learning.
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. Clinical rotations are often a whirlwind of work and you can be swept away without realizing it. Residents can ignore you, people can be cranky, patients can be difficult… and in the midst of all this, you are expected to learn to be a doctor. You have to stay in charge of that mission, no matter what is happening around you.
Take a little time to reflect on why you are doing this and what kind of person/doctor you want to become. When times get tough (and they will) hold on to it. If it helps you, come up with a slogan to repeat, keep on a piece of paper in your wallet or on your wrist
Learn about the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in decreasing stress and may help to prevent burnout. It’s not hard to learn, but it’s hard to master … which is the point of a “practice”. (e.g. the practice of medicine)
Learn to keep a “beginner’s mind”. When I was a student on core medicine I had a senior resident that showed me what beginner’s mind looks like. It was 2am and I was tired. We were seeing a gentleman at the VA hospital for his diabetes, hypertension and some electrolyte abnormalities. I presented the patient to the resident and then we went to see him together. He had a rash, which I thought was so insignificant that I didn’t even include it in my presentation. But, instead of scolding me, this resident got excited. Yes, you read that correctly, 2am and excited about a rash – because he didn’t know what it was. (This next part will date me, but it’s a great example to make us grateful for the access we have to information now). He called security and had them open the library. We spent a wonderful hour looking through books – like a treasure hunt when we were little kids – until we found the rash in one of the books. We were laughing, excited and couldn’t wait to get back to start the appropriate therapy.
Understand what you are going to learn (the big picture)
On every rotation, you will be given a list of learning objectives. By all means, know them, study the things listed and make sure you know them (they will be on the test). BUT… please realize that diseases don’t stay conveniently siloed in a single specialty so this is not learning “surgery”, it’s learning about how surgeons approach a specific disease you will see elsewhere, too. You also need to know that what is listed as learning objectives today may well be obsolete tomorrow (if they aren’t already).
You have chosen a career that ethically demands life-long learning. That means that one of the most important skills to learn is how to develop a system of learning that you can use in medical school, residency and later in practice.
Develop a system for lifelong learning now
Learning is iterative. You will learn broad concepts on each rotation along with a “fly over” of the entire terrain of the specialty You will need the information you learn on your surgery rotation on your medicine rotation when you are consulted on a patient with an ischemic leg who needs surgical treatment, or on your pediatrics rotation when your patient with a pneumonia develops an empyema. If you choose surgery at your career, you will read and learn the same topics throughout your residency (and after) but with increasing depth.
The practical points on how to develop a system to learn during your rotation are here: How to Ace the NBME Shelf Exams: How to Ace the NBME Shelf Exams, In-Training Exams and Your Boards, but the key points are summarized below:
Take care of yourself.
Pay attention to ergonomics, diet, exercise and sleep. Most importantly, take care of yourself emotionally and spiritually. You can’t learn or serve others if your tank is empty. Come up with what is important for you and make a list. Seriously. Make a list of what you find helps you stay on track and then check it off every day. Look at it before you go to bed. Celebrate the things you did and don’t be hard on yourself for the ones you didn’t get to.
Don’t forget to take a “Sabbath” every week. True time off is critical for recovery from this stressful work.
If it gets too hard, seek help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, and most (if not all) of the people around you have been there.
We have the most amazing job on earth. When the administrative issues or political conflicts get to you (and they will), just remember – you get to take care of another human life with the goal of relieving their suffering. What could be more important than that?
Applying for a residency starts with choosing your specialty. The application for residency includes personal statements, curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, transcripts and all the other components required by ERAS. This application is then used by the NRMP to match medical students to their residencies. It’s a fairly complex process on a relatively short timeline.
The prezi below was put together to walk medical students through the process – from picking a specialty to matching in the specialty and program which is the best fit for you.
I’d love feedback from anyone if I’ve missed something or could explain this in a better way – please comment below!
Best of luck to the students who are starting this process to match next spring – and thanks to all the faculty, administrator and deans who help them along the way!
Starting medical school is one of the most exciting moments in a physicians career… but it can be a little daunting! This talk is one I gave recently to the college students in the Baylor College of Medicine Summer Surgery Program. In addition to talking about how medical school is different from college, I also included my top 10 tips for successfully making this important transition.
Ok, now that I have your attention, let me share something with you. I’m going to show you how to maximize what you learn from the “school” we call rotations in medical school and residency so you can be an awesome master clinician. And, yes, it’s going to help you with your exams, so stay with me.
Clinical rotations are a strange blend of learning and work. You learn from the work, but we all forget that the work is not the purpose of these clinical experiences. The purpose of rotations is to be able to “practice” medicine (as a student) and then master the art of your specialty (as a resident.)
There are six basic principles to learn medicine, and then learn your specialty …and on the way ace the exams:
Somewhere around the beginning of my third year of residency, I was sitting in the “dome” (the chief resident’s “office” above OR 1 in our County Hospital) when Fred, one of my fellow 3rd years, walked in. He sat down and started to look through a stack of 3×5 cards so I asked him what he was doing. We all knew that he had scored the highest in our class on the ABSITE (the surgery in-service exam) and I was about to find out why.
REMEMBER IT’S SCHOOL
Fred figured out from day one that there was no way he was going to be able to study like he did in college and during basic sciences. Instead of hours to sit and read, it had to be flexible “on the job” learning.
This mindset is probably the single more important thing to cultivate. It’s the thing that drives you to constantly ask questions about why things are done the way they are and then go look up the answers.
AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH ROTATION, DECIDE WHAT TOPICS YOU NEED TO LEARN DURING THE ROTATION AND MAKE A LIST.
Your list can be pretty simple, or more complex, but it needs to be enough.
First hint – There is a curriculum that has been defined for your rotations. Everything your professors have decided should be taught should absolutely be on your list. (By the way….If it’s in the curriculum, it has to be part of an objective. If there is an objective, it has to be linked to a test question)
Second hint – There is no way in medical school that “surgery” (or any specialty) can be covered in 8-12 lectures. The same is true for your rotations in residency. You have to do more.
This is one time that an example may be better than a formula. Let’s say I’m a brand new clinical student on my core surgery rotation….
Step 1. Find a textbook of Surgery and make a list of the topics from the chapters. A spreadsheet may be best for this, but any kind of list will do.
For example, our library has Sabiston’s Textbook of Surgery (20th edition, 2017) on line:
Step 2. Breathe deeply. There are 72 chapters and no, you are not going to read all these pages.
Step 3. Create a schedule to SKIM every chapter during the rotation. Look only at the “big picture” i.e. headings, section titles, diagrams, tables. Your schedule should leave the last week or two free. So, for example, if your rotation is 2 months long, plan to SKIM 12 chapters a week to get them done in 6 weeks.
Step 4 – Now we get to the real deal (remember, this is graduate school and/or specialty training).
List the sections on your spreadsheet.
As a student, you won’t read every section – unless they are very general (Acute Abdomen, for example) or if you have a patient with that particular problem. Here’s what it might look like:
TAKE NOTES. ALL THE TIME.
After I learned Fred’s system, I always kept a stack of blank 3×5 cards in my pocket. Like him, for the last 3 years of my residency, I made notes ALL the time. Here’s the kind of notes we are talking about:
As you can imagine, once I started this system, I was making 10-20 notes a day. It is remarkable how much you learn in a given day… and how it’s almost instantly gone if you don’t write it down. In three years I filled up two boxes with cards. These cards were the only thing I reviewed for my Board exams.
FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WILL STORE YOUR NOTES SO YOU CAN FIND THEM QUICKLY AND ORGANIZE THEM FOR REVIEW
This is why using a notebook isn’t the best way to keep notes on rotations. You’ll take them chronologically and, unless you have an amazing index at the back with all the key words and pages listed, you’ll never be able to find a specific note.
The key is being able to “file” the notes so you can find them. For the 3×5 system, leave a blank square at the top to put the topic you’ll use to file them.
I used anatomy as the basis for my filing system. So I would use a pencil (so I could change it later if I needed to) to put the topic in the box. For example
Appendix, neoplasms, carcinoid
This is very old-fashioned (but very effective) system.. I personally think there are better ways to do this now using scanning, cloud storage, key words and tags. For some ideas, check out this post.
What doesn’t work well is to try to type notes on your phone. What REALLY doesn’t work is to make notes and then decide to copy them, type them or somehow redo them later. (It never happens).
GO THROUGH THE NOTES YOU MAKE EVERY DAY TO REVIEW THEM AND THEN STORE THEM IN YOUR SYSTEM
The key to learning (as opposed to memorizing for a test) is review. Simply filing the cards means you are reviewing them. Plan to pull them out to look at them (and all the work you accomplished!) every week or two.
More importantly, when you see a patient with pancreatitis 5 months from now on a different rotation, pull the cards you made on this rotation. You’ll find you have 20 or so cards (or card equivalents) on pancreatitis … a review of the Surgery textbook, notes from Grand Rounds, the 3 patients you saw with pancreatitis that taught you about the disease and a few pearls you learned on rounds from your chief resident.
YOU CAN’T LEARN MEDICINE FROM A REVIEW BOOK (YES, INCLUDING UWORLD)
I’m really serious. Not only will you suffer when you are taking care of patients, you won’t do as well on the tests (despite what the upper level students or residents tell you).
Remember the last two weeks of the rotation that you saved? Now’s the time to pull out the review books. It’s a wonderful way to review what you have learned from your skimming and patient oriented reading. It’s also a great way to identify gaps and look up information.
p.s. Take more notes while you are doing this.
p.p.s Review all your notes, including the ones you make from the review books.
p.p.p.s Review them again.
“Do what you love to do, and do it with both seriousness and lightness.”*
On the flight home yesterday I finished Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (She’s probably known to you for her NY Times Best Seller Eat, Pray, Love). For me, one of the overarching messages of her book was this – When you see what you do as your vocation (from Latin vocātiō, meaning “a call or summons”), and not just your job, it will transform how you view your work – a concept which I believe may be necessary (but not sufficient) to treat or prevent burnout.
As I read her thoughts on how to live a creative life, I realized that there were other ideas that applied to physicians, physicians in training and others who serve:
Just show up. Every day.
“Most of my writing life consists of nothing more than unglamorous, disciplined labor. I sit at my desk and I work like a farmer, and that’s how it gets done. Most of it is not fairy dust in the least”
Learning and practicing medicine (or any other field) means showing up – really showing up – every day. Everyone in the first year of medical school learns that it is different than college. Cramming for exams is not only ineffective, it’s just wrong. You are no longer studying for a grade on a test…. it’s now about the patients you will take care of in the future. The same holds true during residency and when you begin your practice. It’s not just when you are a trainee. Part of the “work” of medicine remains “unglamorous, disciplined labor”… keeping up with the literature, going to teaching conferences when you could be doing something else, finishing your hospital charts, being on call.
But the work of medicine is also about showing up every day in another sense, too – truly showing up for the people who rely on you – no matter what. That, too, can be “unglamorous, disciplined labor” when you are tired or stressed.
“Work with all your heart, because—I promise—if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”
“They are your patients… from the first day of medical school until you retire.
“Most of all, there is this truth: No matter how great your teachers may be, and no matter how esteemed your academy’s reputation, eventually you will have to do the work by yourself. Eventually, the teachers won’t be there anymore. The walls of the school will fall away, and you’ll be on your own. The hours that you will then put into practice, study, auditions, and creation will be entirely up to you. The sooner and more passionately you get married to this idea—that it is ultimately entirely up to you—the better off you’ll be.”
Caring for others gives us joy but also gives us the responsibility to know the best thing to do for them. Whether you are a first year student, 3rd year resident or a PGY35 attending, we are all still learning. “Life long learning” is not just a phrase, it’s the reality of what we do.
It’s called the practice of medicine for a reason.
“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.”
Learn the art of deliberate practice early. Deliberate practice, to use a musical analogy I learned in Cal Newton’s fantastic book So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, doesn’t mean playing the piece from start to finish 20 times in an hour. It means spending 55 minutes on the small section that you struggle with, repeating it 100 times before you play the piece through once. It means instead of reading the comfortable material on the anatomy of the kidney, you deliberately tackle how the nephron works. It means that instead of doing the computer-simulated cholecystectomy 10 times you spend an hour tying intracorporeal knots in the trainer. Find the thing that is not easy and practice it over and over until it becomes easy.
There is Peril in Perfectionism
“There are only so many hours in a day, after all. There are only so many days in a year, only so many years in a life. You do what you can do, as competently as possible within a reasonable time frame, and then you let it go.”
One of the greatest attributes of those who care for others is their devotion to the people they serve. But perfectionism, taken to its extreme, is dangerous. Extending your time to study for Step 1 beyond what is reasonable to try to get a higher score, revisiting decisions about patient care to the point of anxiety, worrying that your GPA has to be perfect are all counterproductive. The motivation to do well is like a cardiac sarcomere – a little worry will make you more effective, but stretched too far, there won’t be any output at all.
Curiosity can overcome fear.
“No, when I refer to “creative living,” I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
It’s something most students don’t realize, but no matter how long you practice medicine, there are days when you are afraid. It takes courage to do what we do. Remember, being courageous is not an absence of fear, it’s being able to do what’s right despite the fear. I agree complete with Elizabeth Gilbert that curiosity helps. When you have something that doesn’t go the way you expect or frightens you, instead of beating yourself up (“I should have studied more”….”I could have made a different decision”…etc…etc) become curious. If you are thinking about a complication, commit to finding everything you can about the procedure and how to prevent complications. If you didn’t do as well on your test as you thought you should, look up different techniques to study, take notes, and remember information, and go back to make sure you really understood what was being tested.
Even more powerful than curiosity is gratitude. Fear and gratitude cannot exist at the same moment. Try it – the next time you are about to snap because your EMR freezes be grateful that you can see the computer, be grateful you have work, be grateful you have been trained to help other human beings …and see what happens.
“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”
Your worth is not the same as your “success”.
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
Wow…. This one is so important.
It’s not what you make on Step 1. It’s not how many cases you do, how many patients you see or how much money you make. This concept is taught by every religion and philosopher I know – for a reason. Be devoted to doing the best you can and to forgiving yourself (and learning from it) when you fall short.
One last thing….for medical students trying to choose a specialty – forget about finding your passion.
This is a little longer quote than the others, and mirrors a similar message in So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love .
Find something, even a little tiny thing, that makes you curious (or fills you with wonder) and follow it. Dedicate yourself to following that curiosity and it will likely lead you to your career.
“May I also urge you to forget about passion? Perhaps you are surprised to hear this from me, but I am somewhat against passion. Or at least, I am against the preaching of passion. I don’t believe in telling people, “All you need to do is to follow your passion, and everything will be fine.” I think this can be an unhelpful and even cruel suggestion at times. First of all, it can be an unnecessary piece of advice, because if someone has a clear passion, odds are they’re already following it and they don’t need anyone to tell them to pursue it…..I believe that curiosity is the secret. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. Curiosity is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Furthermore, curiosity is accessible to everyone…..In fact, curiosity only ever asks one simple question: “Is there anything you’re interested in?” Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small?….But in that moment, if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look at the thing a wee bit closer. Do it. It’s a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it’s a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next. Then follow the next clue, and the next, and the next. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a voice in the desert; it’s just a harmless little scavenger hunt. Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to amazing, unexpected places. It may even eventually lead you to your passion—albeit through a strange, untraceable passageway of back alleys, underground caves, and secret doors.
*Italics are quotes from Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Since I read this on my Kindle, I don’t have page numbers!
I’ve written before about what to do before medical school starts, how to study in medical school and strategies for succeeding in the basic sciences. But how do you put this information about organizing your studying and your day into a system that works? Everyone will have variations on how they do this, but there are some fundamental principles that apply to all.
Don’t get behind
From day one, the material matters and, from day one, it is voluminous. If you get behind, it’s really hard to catch up.
Study, don’t just read and reread.
You have to actively engage this material and review it (multiple times) to really learn it. You are no longer studying for a test, you are studying to take care of other people. The SQ3R method is used by many students, but there are other systems as well. What is important is to develop a system that works for you. One tool used by many students is Anki, software that allows you to create electronic flashcards to review key points.
Use going to class as time to “study”
One of the important components to active learning is to review the lecture material before it is presented. This is the opposite of what most of you experienced in college, but it’s key. Survey the handouts or slides and make a list of the important points to be covered. Stay actively engaged.
p.s. You can’t learn medicine if you are on Facebook in class.
Create a summary page for each lecture
Include the big concepts, and key points. Include specifics that are stressed by the professor, but avoid listing all the details. You may choose to hand write this, but most of you will come up with an electronic format and will organize the class notes, and your summaries using One Note, Growly or an equivalent software. Although your personal notes are fine on the cloud, don’t put copyrighted material or your professor’s slides where other people can see them (it’s illegal).
Begin with the end in mind
In the long term, what you are learning (yes, all of it) will be applied to taking care of patients. In the slightly less long term, you will be tested on this information on the USMLE Step 1, a high stake exam and the first part of your medical license. Although some dedicated time to study for Step 1 is important, having a system to really learn the material in your basic science courses is by far the best way to do well on this exam.
Don’t sacrifice sleep.
If you don’t sleep you don’t learn as well. Organize your schedule so you get at least 7, but preferably 8 hours of sleep every night.
Eat well, play hard and stay connected.
Clay Goodman,MD the Associate Dean of UME at Baylor, tells our first year class that the first year of medical school is a 60 hr/week job. They need to get up in the morning and “go to work”, using the afternoon and evening to study. He then points out that if they work 60 hours and sleep 56 hours (8 hours a night) they still have 52 hours to work out, spend time with family and friends and do whatever else they want.
So, what should you do the first day of medical school?
Here’s what your schedule might look like…
The night before – pack your breakfast for the morning break and lunch for the next day. Review any posted slides – survey them to understand the “big picture” and use them to start your summary of the lecture. Write down what you don’t understand from the slides (yes, at this stage it may be every line… but that will get better!).
7am – wake up (If you prefer morning workouts, you can get up earlier and workout before class)
7:30 Grab a piece of fruit or a smoothie if you don’t like to eat an early breakfast. (If you are ok with it, eat the full breakfast now, but whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast)
8-12 Attend class – Stay engaged. Take notes, make sure the questions you asked yourself in the review are answered, raise your hand and ask questions if they weren’t. Eat your breakfast or a snack at the 10 am break.
12-1 – Lunch with your classmates. Play foosball, talk, or just eat, but take a real break.
1-5 Study. One hour of studying for each hour of class is about right for most people. This may need to go until 6 or 7 if you have afternoon labs.
7 – Workout and then make and eat dinner. Working out is an important part of self-care. Exercise is essential to decrease stress and also will help you avoid the “freshmen 10”. Your dinner should be healthy, not processed, and definitively not Ramen noodles. Make sure you have fruits and/or vegetables at every meal.
9-10 Look over tomorrow’s lectures and start your summary pages for those lectures. Once you are a week or two into this, you’ll be adding in reviews of material from previous weeks on a schedule.
10-11 Read a novel, watch TV, decompress.
11 Go to sleep!
You are starting on one of the most amazing journeys any human being can have… enjoy it! Don’t forget to keep a journal and take photos (but not of patients). The first time you actually interview a patient, put on your white coat, hear a heart murmur or take a test in medical school are just that … the first time. Write about the experience.
Let me know in the comments what other advice you have for the students starting medical school this summer!
This time of year, family and friends of docs and/or docs in training are looking for the last minute holiday gifts (if you are trying to have them shipped) or planning the trip to the store(s) for gifts.
The one thing any busy person doesn’t have enough of is time. If you think about it in that context, you can find presents to support interests, fitness, studying (or just having fun) in a thoughtful way.
1. Someone to help clean their home. It is the most amazing present to come one once a week (or even once a month) to a house that has been cleaned by someone else. If there are family members who are willing (and it’s appropriate) you can put together a gift of cleaning supplies with a certificate for monthly housecleaning. If not, word of mouth to find the best person is usually the best way, and will often help you find someone who also does laundry and ironing. (a true gift!). There are professional services in every city as well that can be found with an easy internet search.
2. Something to help integrate fitness into their every day activities. If they don’t have a good bike to commute to school or the hospital (and this is something they would like) this is a great present. Don’t forget the helmet, reflective vest and very bright lights as part of the package!
3. A fast computer. If they have the same computer they had in college and you are able to do this for them, the time they will save in uploads will be very appreciated!
4. A smart phone or mini iPad (especially the new iPad air). Like the computer, if the phone they have is more than 3-4 years old, the upgrade will be much appreciated. The mini iPad (instead of the regular size) fits in a white coat pocket, which is why it’s ideal for anyone who wears a white coat. If they have an iPad, think about some of the more expensive medical apps. (or a certificate for the App store
5. Kitchen appliances to save time (and promote healthy eating). My favorites on this list would include a rice maker (which can also be used to steam meat and vegetables), a pressure cooker a slow cooker or the Krups multi-cooker. A blender is always a good gift (to make smoothies and soups). If you are feeling particularly generous, a VitaMix instead of a blender is much more versatile (and makes much better smoothies!).
6. Prepared meals. If you have family who love to cook, you can make a “certificate” for homemade food in freezable portions. If you can afford it, there are personal chefs who do the same thing. You can also give them a gift certificate for a grocery store like Whole Foods that has healthy prepared food or companies that deliver healthy meals (In Houston, it’s companies like MyFitFoods – but this varies from city to city).
7. Fitness equipment for home. For medical students who are spending a lot of time studying think about a FitDesk, FitBike or a treadmill desk. The standard stationary bikes, treadmills, etc are another option, but they are expensive and you have to really know that they are preferred over going to the gym (see #8). A less expensive but very effective gift would be a “fitness care package” with resistance bands, FitDeck cards, a gift certificate for running shoes, and other small less expensive gifts.
8. A membership in a local gym. You can also consider a certificate for group classes in spinning, yoga, or whatever they enjoy.
9. Time with family and friends. Think about a “certificate” for time together – maybe with restaurant gift cards or movie gift cards attached. A “certificate” for a monthly home cooked meal? If you aren’t in the same town, think about how to make it easy for them to spend time with their friends. If you know their favorite restaurant or hangout, see if you can get a gift certificate. If not, go for tickets to the local theater, one of the movie chains (find out which one is closest to where they live), or their favorite restaurant chain. If they have children, babysitting is a wonderful gift.
10. Whatever you can think of that makes gives them more time and/or will support them during times of stressful and busy work!