What was the Psychiatry core like?

Our last core rotation of our third year of medical school, COMPLETE!

And it was an interesting rotation to say the least. Psychiatry was a 6 week rotation. The schedule was the same each week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday we started early and rounded on psych patients from the inpatient psych unit and on patients who psych was consulted for. We then went and observed all of the Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) procedures that were scheduled for the day. ECT is a treatment for certain psych conditions like major depressive disorder and catatonia. After all the ECT’s were completed, we rounded by ourselves on our assigned patients. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we would round on our patients at the hospital and then go to the children’s psychiatric hospital nearby. There, we would see our assigned patients and then a student would give a presentation on a psych topic. Throughout the 6 weeks, I worked with patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. I saw patients who were delusional and manic and some who had suicidal ideation.

Although psychiatry is not the specialty I want to go into, I think it was important to be aware of how to identify and treat the common psychiatric illnesses that we will encounter in any specialty.

How we studied for the Psychiatry shelf.

Since the hours for psych allowed for extensive study time, we were able to prepare more for this exam than any of the other shelfs. Overall, it was a pretty simple study plan. We completed all the UWorld psych questions and then redid all of our wrong questions. We read the psych chapter in Master the Boards and watched all of the Online Med Ed videos for psychiatry.  We took all three psychiatry NBME’s and reviewed them together. I took notes on a Word document from all four resources and compiled them into tables on each disorder. The last week before the shelf we reviewed the notes several times and quizzed each other on them. Denzel also re-read the psychiatry chapter in First Aid for Step 1. He also re-watched the Sketchy Pharm neuro videos.

Overall, the shelf was fair and I felt well prepared. There were a few questions that were tricky, of course, but for the most part I knew the answers to most of the questions!

Want a copy of my psychiatry notes?

Psychiatry Notes

What was the OBGYN core like?

Oh OBGYN, why did you have to go and steal a piece of my heart? There is just something special about witnessing the birth of a new little human into this world. There is just nothing that compares to seeing the joy it brings to a mom and her family.

Let’s get to the details.

OBGYN was an intense 6 week rotation. My schedule included 1 week of gynecologic surgery, 1 week of resident clinic, 1 week of ambulatory clinic with an attending, 1 week of labor and delivery nights, and 2 weeks of labor and delivery days. The schedule was more intense than the other rotations with most days going 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. For nights, our shift was 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, but we had to stay for any lectures which sometimes lasted til 9:00 am.

Although most parts of the rotation were not very hands on, there was plenty opportunity to learn and be involved in patient care. Gyn surgery was like general surgery. You scrub in, retract and suction smoke, but it was still interesting to watch gynecologic surgeries, especially robotic procedures. During labor and delivery, I felt like I was able to improve on my interview skills, especially for OB patients which require a more extensive history. During deliveries, there were times we got to deliver the placenta or hold the patient’s leg (which I was happy to be involved in any way during a delivery). Nights were my favorite, because the babies love to come at night! In ambulatory clinic was where I was able to be most involved, I was able to do full interviews and physical exams and sometimes some pap smears! Pointer if you are in OBGYN- JUST ASK! Asking to be involved increased the opportunities allotted to me.

How we studied for the OBGYN shelf.

At the end of our rotation we have an oral quiz with the attending. This affected the way we studied for the shelf, it was a little different than how we usually spend our study time.

The first week of OBGYN we focused on Online Med Ed videos of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We watched and took notes on all of the videos. The second week we started UWorld MCQ’s and took notes in a word document. I was able to get through all of the UWorld questions before the shelf.

We also read the obstetrics and gynecology chapters of Master the Boards. We thought it was just okay, it was like a sprinkle of detail. I think I will use it to study for Step 2 CK, but I don’t think it was a crucial part of my shelf studying.

We purchased and took two of the practice NBME exams. There is 4 total and I wish we would have taken them all.

 

As I said before, because of the oral quiz, the last week before our shelf was spent memorizing details from lectures. The test was approximately four questions on any lecture we had gotten in the past six weeks. Unfortunately many of the details from the lecture were not applicable to the shelf, like specific doses of medications.

Leading up to the shelf exam I felt confident and prepared, I felt like I really had a good grasp of the knowledge I needed to do well. Leaving the test, I felt frustrated. I think there were many questions I was sure about or could work through to my guess at a best choice, but there were around 30-40 questions that frustrated me. The questions were not clear and had little detail. They were not similar to UWorld or to the practice NBME exams. It did not test the crucial information I felt I spent weeks learning.

If I had any suggestions to improve, it would be to do all four NBME exams and go through UWorld wrong answers a second time.

Next up, our final rotation of third year- PSYCH!

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the OBGYN core rotation and have anything to add to this post or if you have any questions.