school

Review: compendium geneeskunde

About 7 months ago I wrote a blogpost about ‘Compendium medicine’ on my blog. Some of you might still remember that they started a kickstarter campaign to make an English version of their books. These books are made by two students Romee Snijder and Veerle Smit. Their goal was to make these books in such way that they covered all the material medical students had to learn.

I kept thinking about these books and ended up buying them a while ago. Today I thought I’d share my opinion on these books.

Content
The compendium set consists of four books that that each contain different specialities. All books have the same cover but come in different colors.
Book 1: orange: epidemiology, statistics, health rights, otorhinolaryngology, neurology, ophthalmology, preventive medicine and psychiatry.
Book 2: red: molecular biology, pharmacotherapy, gynaecology and obstretics, clinical genetics, nephrology, social medicine and urology.
Book 3: blue: dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, medical ethics and scientific philosophy, orthopedics and rheumatology.
Book 4: green: pulmonology, cardiovascular medicine, hematology, immunology, medical microbiology and infection prevention, oncology and general diagnostics.

The first thing I noticed about these compendia was the sleek and minimalistic exterior. I absolutely love the white design. The interior of the books is even prettier than it’s exterior. Each chapter starts with a picture that represents a certain specialty. And then has a page with the most important anatomical structures, a page with clinical information is also provided . The structure of these books is honestly just a dream.

The corners of the books have a small symbol representing each specialty which makes it easier to search within specialities.

Quality
These books are all hard-cover books that can be compared to an encyclopedia. The paper is glossy and quite sturdy.
These books cover the medical curriculum and they’re easy to understand. So far I’ve actively used two of these books as an extra source of information on top of my own courses. Everything in this book is explained in such a way that anyone can understand and learn medicine. Most information fits on a few pages which is what the authors and co-authors intended to do and at which they did a terrific job.

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Conclusion
The quality of the books is excellent. I would say that that I find this to be a big achievement for a new book made by students (!) for students. The content of these books covers the most important parts of the medical curriculum. These books are also great when you’re studying because every topic is explained in a simple but exhaustive way.
The books are aesthetically pleasing, the paper is of good quality and the pictures in the book are beautiful. The small details (such as the symbols in the corners of the book) make the difference between these books and others.

So far only Dutch students are able to purchase these books, so if you’re Dutch and you have the opportunity to buy this book, definitely go for it. Belgian students can find them in ‘Acco’ book stores and students from The Netherlands can find them via their university and in book stores. They cost 129€ but they’re well worth their price.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section if you’d buy these! Make sure to also show the medical compendium team some love via their social media.
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Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Medical school 2nd year

I’m halfway through my second year of medicine! My exams are done and I’m going to take a short break before getting into the new semester. I have one week before the second semester starts and though I really hoped that I’d have a week off to do fun things and sleep out my week will consist of finishing a paper. I wanted to talk about this first semester of my second year since it was completely different from first year.

-I learned that first year is a breeze compared to second year. It’s easy to say that now that the two biggest blocks of my entire year are over. To all you first-year students out there, these courses only get bigger every single time.
-Never give up. By now medical school consists of really pushing mental boundaries. Though most people give up, those who persist and don’t give up are the ones that will make anything happen.
-The best tip I’ve ever had was to read all of my courses completely through before exams start. This helped me to at least grasp what I was studying and I had a better total-image of my courses.
-Working consistently throughout the year is really important. If you don’t do this by second year, you’re going to get into trouble. I worked consistently throughout the year and still struggled extremely hard during this exam period.
-Workout, you’ll feel more energized and more focussed.
-Treat yourself to a pampering day. I did this once in the two exam-months we had. It can be quite time consuming, but makes you calmer at the same time. So if you can, pamper yourself.

To all students out there I would also like to say the following: it’s often the things that you struggle with the most that end up being the most rewarding. Try as hard as possible and don’t give up! Hard work always pays off.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Make your own planner!

Happy new year everyone! To make sure that you start your new year the right way I wanted to inspire you guys to make your own planner! When I wanted to start planning (aka first year of university) I didn’t know where to start because there were so many different types of planners out there. I decided to make my own planner a few years ago and today I wanted to help you guys create yours.

Today I’ll explain you how to make your planner from scratch! You can choose to use a binder as a planner or if you only want to learn how to make printables skip number 1.

1 Choose a binder.
I bought a clear A5 binder because it was easy and quite minimalistic. They’re also durable and come in many different colors and patterns. The best part about these is that you can reuse them instead of buying a new planner every year. Mine looks a bit worn out but that’s because I’ve been using it for quite a while now!

2 Printables
I’ve tried using different types of printables but I never managed to keep everything in order. I printed out my class schedule on A5 paper and used that as my planner. Even though it’s not the prettiest planner layout, it’s honestly very convenient.

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If however you have some spare time on your hands, make your own printables. It does take quite some time, but they will be completely to your liking.

To help you out I found this video from Mariana who made planner printables on Word. There are a lot of other videos out there so you can always check those out too!

 

3 Page dividers
I ended up finding some clear page dividers at home and I used these for my own planner but if you love getting creative you can follow the instructions in this video.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know if you’ve made your own planner or just bought one in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A Doctor in spe 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Medical article databases

One of the most important fields in medicine is research. This should come as no surprise as there’s still so much to learn about the human body and disorders related to it. As a medical student it’s extremely important to stay up to date and read in on these subjects and to learn more about the (r)evolutions in our health system.
There are a lot of databases where you’ll be able to find articles on medical research and today I’ll be talking about the best general databases.

1. Google Scholar

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Google scholar is most definitely the best way to find the most scientific articles on any subject. You’ll be able to view the number of citations (a value to determine the impact) as well as the journal where the article was published and the publication year.
There is one thing I dislike about using google scholar. The filter system is quite impractical. Nevertheless you’ll be able to find a lot of articles extending over many different scientific topics. Google scholar will also show the number of citations, journal where the article was published and the publication year.

2. PubMed

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PubMed has a lot of different features and therefore learning how to work with the system is a challenge on itself. You’ll have to navigate your way around MeSH-terms and the search builder, subject topics etc, however when you finally know how to work with it, it’s actually a pretty nice database to work with.
You will definitely not find as many articles as you would in Google Scholar, however there is a good amount of articles that are closely related to your topic of choice. The filters are easy to use and will help you to narrow your topic down more clearly.

3. Embase
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One of the more esthetically pleasing databases is Embase (yes, I really like Embase). It’s easy to use and works similar to PubMed but you search via Emtree terms instead of MeSH terms. You can view your previous search inquiries and the amount of articles related to it.

4. Extra
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I also wanted to talk about Web of science where you’ll be able to find the impact factor, the number of citations. This is an easy way to have an overview on the importance of your article as well as the journal it was published in.

P.S. I prefer to use general databases as they offer a great variation of articles but if you only want to read the most important articles on certain subjects you might want to take a look at different options such as Medline, TRIP, Cochrane etc.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what sources you turn to to find scientific articles.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe

 

Summary the subtle art of not giving a fuck

The subtle art of not giving a fuck is a book that I’ve been suggesting to everyone. I loved reading this book and up until this moment I’ve read the book 2 times which proves how great it is. This book has changed my view on my own life and in a way you can consider this a wakeup call. This book along with ‘mindset’ are books that should be a must-read for anyone in the middle of adulting.

I usually talk about the book itself and how it’s written but I saw that the writer, also a blogger, has posted an excerpt of the book on his blog and I advise you to read that before reading this review. So click here for that.

Summary
Just like you probably saw from the title the autor does not mince matters. This book is brutally honest and therefore one of the best self-help books I’ve read so far. There were some important lessons to learn here.

Lesson n°1
This book tackles our society for giving too many fucks about the wrong things and not enough fucks about what actually matters. To give an example people seem to talk more about the Kardashians outfits than for example about food waste – note: if you care more about the Kardashians that’s perfectly okay!!

Lesson n°2
Another important lesson is that everything that matters in life, is attached to a negative experience. You need to study really hard (often not fun) to get good grades (fun). This is something that isn’t always represented correctly in todays society. We hear a lot of succes stories but there’s more to those stories than meets the eye. Someone worked crazy hard to get where they are and all we see is that they achieved their goal. To get a bigger reward, you need to put in more effort.

Lesson n°3
People often seem to think that when they’ve reached their goal, it’s done, they’re happy and everything is fine but it isn’t. Problems are still there, the only thing they’ve achieved, is to be a little better than before, to have grown a little more. The growth mindset was present in this book, just explained differently.

For more lessons I’d advise you to read the book. It wouldn’t be fun to spoil the entire thing.

Review
The writing style of this book is easy and comprehensive. There aren’t any difficult words, but the language is sometimes explicit which might not appeal to everyone.
The book gives a lot of examples on what to do and what not to do. It’s therefore a great book for those people who don’t completely know what to do with their life.
I’d definitely say that of the self-help books I’ve read so far this is definitely one of the best. It’s unique not because of the writing style, but because of the honesty.

Since there is an excerpt of this book on the authors blog check it out before buying this book. You might not like it. As for me I loved the book hence why I’ve suggested it to almost everyone I know. Let me know in the comment section what books you would recommend.

Lots of love and have a great day!
-A doctor in spe

 

Prepping and how I study

I’ve already talked about my improved study techniques but today I’m going to talk about the three things that made the biggest difference in my results!

1 Preparing notes ahead

When i go to lectures I make sure that I’ve done everything ahead of time. If i don’t i’m just waisting my time and the professors time. Preparation is key. I like to make notes ahead of time and take those to class. Some people prefer reading through their notes, I do this when I don’t have enough time to type out my notes but this works great as well.

Along with this I reread all of these notes while going home. I take public transport so I often wait for my bus or metro. Those 5 minutes make a difference. It’s small but all small bits help! The time I need to get home varies but I spend an average of 1hour to 1hour30 to get home. Instead of waisting i try to benefit from that.

2 Visuals (other sources)

For medicine looking out for other sources is a good way to look at your courses differently. Especially if you don’t know the difference between things that are more important and things that are not. I watch a ton of videos and if there are things in my course that other videos emphasize on it means that it’s probably quite important. I personally loved ‘Shomu’s biology’ on youtube because he’s able to explain quite difficult concepts in an easy way.

3 Reading

Not only reading through your own course or textbooks but using other medical books is a great way to retain difficult topics. Different books often explain concepts differently and that is something that may or may not work for you.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Let me know what your tips are in the comment section down below.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Book review: The man who mistook his wife for a hat

I recently red the book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ written by Oliver Sacks, a British neurologist. Oliver sacks is quite a famous writer, he has written 14 books of which 7 were made into a movie. This specific book was written in 1985 and it consists of 24 cases in which different neurological issues are being discussed.

Summary
The book is divided into four categories that each talk about a specific neurological issue. Part one deals with losses, part two with excess, part three transports (about perception, imagination, dreams,…) and part four the world of the simple (how ‘simple’ people understand remarkable concepts).

I’m going to talk about one of these stories because it stood out to me. It’s the story of Jose, the autist artist. This is written in chapter four – the world of the simple. Jose was a 21 year old male who was said to be retarded and had seizures which caused him to be hospitalized. During his examination he was asked to draw a pocket watch which he drew remarkably well. Dr. Sacks was amazed by this and wanted to learn more about this patient. He wanted to see more drawings and asked Jose to draw some more and again his drawings were really nice.
It appeared that Jose was indeed autistic, but that he was quite talented. He could draw, remember what he drew and he was able make adaptations to his drawings.
This story definitely stood out for me because it just goes to show that there is a whole world to people that often stays unnoticed, even for many many years.
The drawings are included in the book but I wanted to show you an example. On the left we see the picture, on the right the drawing that Jose made.

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There are many more extraordinary stories written in this book. It’s an easy read making it is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. Difficult concepts are all explained in the book making the book fit for anyone interested in knowing more about brain related issues.
For those wanting to learn or read more about neurological problems, there are also a lot of references to other scientifical books. Especially Loeria (neuropsychologist) and Jackson (neurologist) are writers who are often referred to.

For me this was such an interesting book that I was able to finish it within the day. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly advise you to read this book.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Medical stationary gifts

I recently saw a picture on Instagram that had bone balpens and while I was searching for these I came across these amazing school/college supplies. Most of these would make great gifts and they can be found on various sites such as Aliexpress, Amazon and Etsy. So without further ado here are some great gifts for medical students.

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1. Sticky notes
I found these great sticky notes on Amazon, these are pricier than your regular sticky notes but they’re unique and quirky. There are quite a few options to choose from so definitely check these out!
Link: Amazon

2. Memo holder
This is definitely the most unique gift out on this list. It’s a brain shaped memo holder made out of concrete. These are made in the Netherlands and you can find these on Etsy or on the manufacturers site.
Link: Manufacturers site
Link: Etsy

3. Pen
A funny gift for students who are tackling anatomy and learning all bones in the human body. These balpens are quite affordable and can be found on Amazon and on Aliexpress.
Note: since Aliexpress can sometimes be unreliable I’ve tried to filter out two companies that have sold the most and had the best reviews.
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Amazon

4. Erasers
I found these cool brain shaped eraser tops on Amazon but you can also buy these on Etsy. They come in different colours and are a great addition to your medical stationary.
Link: Amazon
Link: Etsy

5. Tape
I never knew about DNA tape but it’s a clever take on regular tape. You can use this to decorate your note books. This tape also comes in a spinal tape version and you can buy both of these together on Amazon.
Link DNA tape: Amazon
Link spinal tape: Amazon

6. Markers
These come in many different shapes but two stood out to me. The first were pill shaped markers. I personally loved these from Amazon because of the bottle they came in.
The second shape were syringe shaped markers which you can find almost everywhere.
Link pill markers: Amazon
Link syringe markers: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed this stationary as much as I did! Let me know in the comment section which stationary item you liked most.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

College supplies: the basics

The new school year is coming up and I wanted to talk about some stuff that come in handy when you’re in college or university. When I started university my biggest issue were the long hours of lectures with only short breaks in between. Everyday I came to my lectures there was always something I had forgotten. So here are the basics that everyone needs.

1. A good backpack goes a long way!
Go for comfort over fashion! I suggest buying a laptop backpack since these are often more comfortable. They usually have padding so your stuff will be protected while you’re carrying it with you and they are roomy.
Looking online I found some basic laptop backpacks from Incase they definitely have a nice design but since theses quite pricy I’ve listed an alternative from Amazon!

 

2. Water bottle
You will be attending classes for long periods of time and it’s nice to have water wherever you go. My university has taps in each campus so you can fill your water bottle. Buying a water bottle is better for your wallet and for the environment! The S’well water bottles were very famous this year and they come in lots of different colors and designs. If you prefer a classic design, go for klean kanteen.

3. Foldable rain coat
The weather here is very unpredictable as it is in most countries. Having a foldable rain coat helps a lot! If you don’t like unflattering rain coats you could also buy a foldable umbrella. This foldable rain coat is from Uniqlo and only costs 39$. You can throw it in your backpack and you’ll be good to go!

4. Good notebook
One thing I struggled with was writing my notes down and not loosing them. In the middle of the year I ended up going for a spiral notebook. My favorite ones are from Oxford but these can be quite expensive. I found some notebooks on Amazon which were on sale. You can check those out via this link.

 

5. Good pencil case
My pencil case was made of canvas and I’ve had it for a very long time. Somehow my fountain pen made a hole inside my pencil case making it look terrible. A good pencil case is a must! I found this a few on amazon. One from Kuuqa and IDream.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what’s on your college supply list in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe