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Be Naturally Impressive: Tips for Medical Students (Part 2)

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Yesterday I started a series on how to be naturally impressive on your medical journey.

In case you missed it – the quick inspiration for this series came from repeatedly been told that I’m doing better than my years in training & what would be expected of me.

I personally didn’t think I was doing anything unique but after taking a step back I’ve realized there are a few core but important aspects of being “naturally impressive”.

We talked about the importance of being the “sole decision maker” in the first part of this series.

This is all to build up to our 8th birthday for TMJ (don’t forget our birthday sale here)

Today we’re going to break the next element of being naturally impressive…

High Expectations To Learn To Teach:

One thing I learned quickly the further I’ve gone in my training is that…

… you will be held less accountable.

When you’re in college or med school, there’s likely a test or board exam that forces you to keep up with the material.

When you’re in residency or fellowship – that’s even more rare.

Now as a fellow – I know could easily scathe by doing the bare minimum and no one would say a word (at first).

But how do you become naturally impressive?

Here are a few important steps:

  1. Have the highest expectations of what you want to get out of your learning
  2. Have a predictable way to learn/acquire
  3. Expect yourself to be able to teach it

Let’s break down each one.

Again you have to assume that you will have less accountability the further you go into training.

So you have to be the biggest advocate of what you want to learn on each rotation/month.

Don’t expect your superiors to tell you – “go learn this”. Create a personal learning objective for the rotation or month you’re on.

For example – when I was on my echo rotation – I forced myself to go through the core guidelines over the month.

Each of the guidelines are 20-50 pages long. It would have been easy to skim them or just reference them as needed. But I also know that a great cardiologist knows their guidelines well – not just where to refer to.

So I created a loose but clear plan of what I wanted to have covered by the end of the month.

Do the same for each rotation, course, and month of training.

Remember – your colleagues are likely not doing this. This is how you begin the process of being naturally impressive.

Next – you have to have a predictable way to go through your personal learning plan.

For me it’s using the predictable chunks of the week. For instance – I know I have a 30-40 min drive to work each day. This is when I “learn” by listening to the podcasts of famous cardiology journals.

In addition, I know that I can usually find 30-45 minutes during the day to go through guidelines or do board-level questions.

That’s it – I don’t overcomplicate it. I just show up for those time slots each day.

Finally – and most importantly – expect yourself to be able to teach it (and intend to).

I’ll give a great example I had a few days ago.

A nurse asked me a few simple questions about the Fick equation (something we use very often in cardiology to calculate cardiac output) & why the numbers varied so much based on the numbers she was using.

Although I’m not proud to admit it – I didn’t know the equation & its components well enough to answer her questions.

So I put that on my learning list for the day, took 15- 20 minutes to do a dive dive of the equation and how each factor affected the final result.

Then I went back to that nurse and walked her through the entire equation of how each lab value & vital impacted the final result.

Now I know the equation cold & well.

So intend to learn to teach – you’ll avoid short-changing yourself when you’re trying to grasp a new topic.

Hope this helps!

Hope you’re enjoying this series! Look out for the next part.

More to come in the upcoming days on other ways to be naturally impressive on your medical journey!

And don’t forget our 8th birthday sale! If you use code TMJ8 at checkout you will get 40% OFF on all of our books & courses! Get our entire bundle for 40% OFF here.

This includes our study course, productivity course for med students, our courses on USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step3, how to honor your clinical rotations, and even an intern survival guide for the new residents out there!

Check out the entire bundle here and use code TMJ8 for 40% OFF (or use this link to have the discount automatically applied).

Hopefully we were a little help to you on your journey today. Thanks for being part of ours.

Until next time my friend…

Lakshya Trivedi, M.D.
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Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

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4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

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