Sunday, April 30, 2017

April hours: 0
Spring hours: 32
2016-2017 hours: 108

Nineteen days are whats left before we graduate from the Master's program. This year went by insanely fast. It feels like we all just sat down in room 4700 for the first time struggling to get into the groove of things. I have to admit that starting this program was sort of an adjustment of pace and study style, but as the months went by, we learned how everything worked and it went smoother. We learned so much and made so many friends. One of the things I like about this program at Tulane is that the class size was small enough and we spent most of our time together that this allowed us to form a close bond with everyone. I feel that everyone in the class will remember everyone else. The program also prepared us in many ways for the future. Most of the class are thinking about med school and this program probably would give them some useful info to carry on. Even though I am not pursuing med school, I believe knowing what we learned in pharmacology would be helpful and useful later on. Now that this year is coming to the end, we must face the next step in this journey. I hope the best for everyone and hope to see you all in the future.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Almost there

The roughest period of our pharmacology experience comes to an end as we finished taking the pharmacology NBME shelf exam. Weeks of studying, piles of note cards, and days of intense internal screaming concluded with the submission of that exam. It covered all of the drugs we learned throughout the year and I am surprised I was able to squeeze all of them in. I'm not sure how I did but glad it is over. We just have one class with exams left and a bunch more student presentations before graduation, but I bet most of us are in a state of relief and excitement. 

It's now the home stretch towards graduation which means a shift from hardcore studying to preparation for the next step in our lives. Most of my class plans to attend med school, but a few including me plans for graduate school. I believe this program gave us a nice edge for our future education and also gave us useful knowledge we can use for our health and daily lives. From my classmates taking the MCAT, this program seemed to helped them prepare for some aspects of it.  I still cannot believe how fast this year went. It feels like tomorrow we will be walking across that stage to get that diploma. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

February came to a close and with that also closes the chapters of Med Pharm and Principles. The last classes of these two courses came to and end with the exams we took last week. All is left is the big block exam that encompasses what we learn throughout the year and the remaining courses. The block or board exam is a daunting obstacle in the way towards graduation, but I know we can surpass and conquer it. I feel that we learned a lot these past months and all we learned is actually practical for our future even if all of us aren't striving to become practicing physicians. The recent block taught us much about diabetes and it is useful for me since diabetes runs in my family. It is nice to know the mechanisms and current treatments of diabetes. I did not know it was as complex as it was.

My volunteering days at hospital also drew to an end. It was a great experience and I learned so much from the nurses and secretary staff I worked with about how the health care system operates and small details of patient care. I will miss spending time with the new friends I made there but won't miss the late hours.

I am excited to see what the rest of the semester holds for us now that much of the weight of classes have been lifted. The ever unknown future comes toward that door we walk out of everyday, yet a sense of calm is carried as I know we are that much ready to face it.

Feb hours 16
Total hours 32

Monday, January 30, 2017

Start of the Last semester

As December came to a close, a sense of excitement and dread filled the brisk two days of winter in New Orleans. The source of the mix of emotions was the start of our last semester of my Master's program at Tulane. Although the exams and hard core studying was not missed, I did miss seeing my class and the professors. These months will be the last months to get to know everyone before we head off to whatever the future plans for us.

As many of my other classmates, I chose to pursue the non-thesis route which means we had nine courses in store for us. As intimidating as it sounds, it turned out to not me as daunting since five of the nine were presentation or seminar classes. All of the courses are interesting so far. One course is endocrine pharmacology and the student presentations are less traditional and usually gets the whole class involved and enjoying themselves. We also moving into the neurology block, which I find complex and interesting. Most of the mechanisms of the brain are still poorly understood yet there are still drugs out there for diseases of the brain. They may not be cures or the best but it is a start and it helps in understanding the brain more. In my undergraduate studies, I learned that some of the psychiatric drugs were discovered by luck and accident, which is amazing that science involves a lot of serendipity.

January Hours: 16
Semester total: 16

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

End of semester one

The return from turkeys and endless amounts of food signifies the closing of the Fall semester. A little less than three weeks remain and now we are in the part of the semester where we focus more on molecular and cellular pharmacology. This course shows the students the experimental techniques and procedures that are likely to be encountered in the world of pharmacology. Most of the students were exposed to many of the topics, but this course may give more insight into the details involved in pharmacology. In my opinion, I enjoy this course since the experimental procedures and techniques are one of my favorite aspects of research. As for the pharmacology aspect, we just slid passed the pulmonary block which include medication for asthma and pneumonia. I learned a lot I did not know before about treatments for asthma. Now, we are entering the GI/ hepatic block. During the semester, we have been exposed to GI and hepatic side effects but haven't really looked at treatments for GI and hepatic diseases. This fact makes me excited to learn more about the liver and GI tract.
The end of the semester also signifies that we are halfway through, which is bittersweet. It is sweet that are that much closer to advancing in our academic careers, but bitter having to leave all of this behind so soon.

November hours: 36 hours
Total semester hours: 76 hours

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tricks and Treats of Pharmacology

A little over half of this semester has passed since we started our journey into pharmacology. Moving from the heart and cardiovascular block, we begin the renal block with all things pharmacology and kidneys with a splash of erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia thrown in. It's a nice break from the complexities of the heart and vessels, but no where simple as the kidney is a highly complex organ in of itself. We learned some of the several channels in the kidney which were involved with diuretics. Studying the kidney also shows us the complexities of the human body as changes in the kidney functions can affect other systems like blood pressure and changes in other systems can affect the kidneys. Currently, I am a bit struggling to keep my head out of water, but that just means I must work even harder.

Volunteering at the ER and department of internal medicine has been great. The ER and department of internal medicine were really different. The pace was different as the ER was more hectic compared to internal medicine but both were equally busy in workload and attention. In the ER, I mostly escort patients to different areas and rooms, but in internal medicine, I help the secretary at the nurses' station answer phone calls from patients and other parts of the hospital. Interacting with the patients, secretaries, and nurses were interesting and a great learning experience.

Hours completed this month: 32

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Roughly three months have passed since we started the program and already, I am deep in piles of note cards and print out lectures. This notion can reflect the amount of information we are learning. However, there comes an excitement when I see a drug we learned in class in the outside world. Each time a member of my family is prescribed a new drug, the past lecture had recently mentioned it.

 As we approach the end of the month, we approach the end of the autonomic nervous system and cardio vascular block. Since much of the faculty have experience with cardio vascular, the lectures were filled with meaningful real world details and relevance. During this block, we were taught to read EKGs and determine how a set of drugs can affect blood pressure and heart rate in beneficial or harmful ways. In the next few weeks, we will be working with medical students in simulator studies.

Yesterday, I started my first day of volunteering at Ochsner. Originally, the plan was to help in the clinical research labs there, but due to schedule conflicts around school, I wasn't able to. Instead, I was assigned to patient care in the ER. It was the first time I stepped in an ER and I can say it is hectic. The first day I arrived happened to be a busy night according to the triage nurse on duty, so I was not properly informed of duties and the layout of the area. At first, I found it difficult to adjust and navigate around the ER, but as the night went on, I began becoming used to it. My main duties were to assist the triage nurse and the nurse tech, which can be tasks from moving paperwork between the administration and them to escorting patients to their designated areas. A person can learn a lot volunteering there such as the different procedures and protocols. I spent four hours yesterday and today in the ER.

Total hours 8.