Episode 24: The Return of Mary

1. The Return of Mary
2. Old Site Shutting Down
3. New Issue of the Pritzker Pulse
4. Questions? and Coming Soon on the Pritzker Podcast

If you have questions for us, please send them to pritzkerquestions@gmail.com. Or, call (773) 336-2POD and leave us a message.

Pritzker Pulse, Autumn 2009

[Music: “The Area” used with permission from Eliot Lipp. “Shiggidy” used with permission from Greg Spero and GMG.]

Episode 24 Transcript

§ “The Return of Mary”

Ben Ferguson: Hey Mary!

Mary Bister: Hey Ben, how are you?

BF: Welcome back to the podcast.

MB: Thank you. It’s so good to be back. I missed you.

BF: Mary was off doing some medical stuff for some reason. I don’t know why anybody would do that. But she was gone from the show. I don’t know if anybody noticed…

MB: Probably not.

BF: I’m just kidding. She was off doing third year of medical school, which in case you haven’t heard, in case you’re not familiar with the medical school process, is basically the “Year of Death.” Is that correct?

MB: I don’t know if it’s the “Year of Death.” It certainly is the “Year of Skating Death”—skating close to the line of being dead.

BF: Sure.

MB: Yeah.

BF: So, how was it? How did you find it? Obviously, you’re still alive.

MB: I am still alive. I made it through. I made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s simultaneously probably the best year and the hardest year I’ve ever had.

BF: Best in what regard?

MB: The faculty are tremendous. I learned so much from them, from my patients, from the residents I worked with, from my fellow medical students. It’s just like a marathon composed of sprinting every day. It’s intense. Parts of it are obviously harder than others. So, you’ll have a really tough rotation and then you’ll get one that’s a little bit more of a break. But on the whole, you’re always busy and you’re always learning, which is fantastic but exhausting.

BF: Right. And so, that was the worst of it, I guess?

MB: Yeah. I mean, the hardest part of their year is that your time is not your own. Somebody else has control of your schedule; it’s never you. They can say, “Okay, you come here tomorrow and you’re coming here at this time. And we’ll let you go when we feel like letting you go.” And that could be at 4 in the afternoon. It could be at 9pm.

BF: Sure.

MB: So, you never know, which makes it hard to plan to have a life outside of rotations.

BF: Yeah. Well, it sounds like fun and it sounds like you learned a lot.

MB: Yes, I did. It was fantastic.

BF: Good. So, what are you up to now?

MB: Right now, I am in the wonder that is fourth year. I am taking two classes, the first of which starts at 3:30pm So, I get to sleep in every single day.

BF: Until 3…

MB: I don’t but I could if I wanted to, which is beautiful, just beautiful.

BF: And so, most people don’t realize this I guess, but once you’ve done third year and you go into fourth year then you go back into the classroom for some period of time. What’s the point of that?

MB: Well, the point of that is basically to sort of revisit the basic sciences. There is a basic science requirement that we all have to fulfill. You have to take at least 150 credits of basic science in your fourth year. And then, to revisit other issues from the perspective of somebody who has been in a the hospitals and worked in the teams and is a little bit more intimately familiar with the issues presented. So, I’m taking right now a class on the Internet in Medicine which, once you’ve been through third year and you’ve seen the ways that people are using the Internet in daily practice, becomes very interesting and exciting. And also, I’m taking a class on Medical History, which is just a lot of fun.

BF: Not history taking, but the History of Medicine…

MB: The History of Medicine, that’s correct.

BF: Got it, very cool. And so, now is the point in every fourth-year’s career, if they haven’t already, where they sort of chose a field to go into. Have you gotten to that point yet? What are you going into?

MB: I have. I have decided to go into emergency medicine.

BF: Awesome.

MB: Yeah.

BF: You are currently applying right now?

MB: Correct, yes.

BF: Awesome.

MB: I have sent off my little applications. A very important day when you’re applying for residencies is November 1st because that is when the schools release the MSPE, which is also known as the Dean’s Letter, which is basically your school’s evaluation of you as a student. And a lot of programs like to see that before they invite you to interviews.

BF: Sure. And it becomes fairly important for Pritzker students, I imagine, because we don’t have grades for three of the four years.

MB: Right, absolutely.

BF: Yeah.

MB: And even though our third year is graded, those grades are actually not reflected on our official transcripts. So, programs have no way of knowing how we’ve done scholastically, aside from our board scores, until they get that letter.

BF: Interesting. And so, when is the deadline for submitting your rank order list?

MB: That’s not till February-something. So, I’m trying not to think that far ahead in the process.

BF: Well, sorry to get you anxious.

MB: That’s okay. I’ll survive. I’ll just have a little Xanax here and I’ll be fine.

BF: I’m sure you’ve got some handy. You’re all stocked.

MB: Yeah, I’ve got my little medicine cabinet. No, I’m just kidding.

§ “Old Site Shutting Down”

BF: Well, welcome back to the show once again. We also wanted to let everybody know that we are sort of finalizing the website migration that I mentioned I think two episodes ago on the State of the Podcast episode, whereby we’ll be switching officially from pritzkerpodcast.libsyn.com to just plain old pritzkerpodcast.com. It’s a brand new site. And if you continue to subscribe through iTunes, we’d love it if you’d change your subscription address in iTunes. The new subscription address is pritzkerpodcast.com/feed. Or if you go to the new website, there’s links all over the place. We’ll probably be shutting down the old Libsyn site completely by, I don’t know, say October 31st or so. The problem is that it’s all outdated information at this point and it costs some not-insignificant amount of money to maintain. So, we’d like to sort of not run two websites at the same time. So, please, when you get a chance, change your bookmarks over.

§ “New Issue of the Pritzker Pulse”

And then, the last thing I think we’d like to talk about is just to mention that a recent edition of the Pritzker Pulse was released. One of Pritzker’s features is that we have this sort of student-focused publication, which is called the Pritzker Pulse. And it sort of gives current students and alumni and even prospective students some idea of what students have been up to over the summer or during the school year in terms of research or fellowships or trips that they have gone on. And so, this Autumn Edition 2009 just came out a few weeks ago. And it talks a lot about, again, updates to what students are doing. It’s a good way to sort of get a sense for what students do in their free time and with their research interests. There are also some updates on the new North Shore—what is it? North Shore Hospital? Do you know, Mary? North Shore University?

MB: North Shore Medical System I want to say?

BF: Yeah, something like that.

MB: A new affiliation.

BF: Yeah, with which the University of Chicago Medical Center merged a few months ago. There’s updates to that—and you might want to take a look at that because if you’re considering Pritzker for school, that obviously will have some implication on where you’re doing rotations and so forth. There’s pictures from the White Coat Ceremony that was held a few weeks ago and there’s also individual student updates. So, Mac Walter, who was on Episode 6 of the Pritzker Podcast, was just recently named one of three new fourth-year Pritzker Chiefs, which are sort of, what are they, Mary? Just sort of student representatives and student ambassadors, I guess, of Pritzker?

MB: Yeah. That’s a good way to put it. They also handle a lot of the administrative details for the class. They function for us like a chief resident does for a residency program.

BF: Okay. But they’re not giving you medical orders necessarily?

MB: No, not at all.

BF: So, Mac Walter was featured. Laura Hodges, who was actually on Episode 5 of the show, which is pretty cool—she was featured on an NPR program called “World View”, which is hosted through WBEZ, which is the Chicago affiliate of NPR. She talked with their host regarding some work she did over the summer in India. And Colleen Plein, who was on the same episode, talks a little about her recent publication in a journal called “Medical Care” regarding health quality outcomes and so forth. It seems to me—I don’t know, Mary, maybe we should talk about this a little bit—but it seems to me that being on the Pritzker Podcast leads to success in life.

MB: I’ve got to say I think it does.

BF: Yeah.

MB: Yeah.

BF: So, if you are considering coming to the Pritzker School of Medicine and you end up matriculating, you should get yourself on this show because that means you will be awesome.

MB: Yeah, absolutely. I think the Pritzker Pulse is kind of fun to look at. It’s sort of like an official version of Facebook. You can see what everybody has been up to and see their pictures and stuff; it’s cool.

BF: Right. And there’s no applications bugging you or anything like that.

MB: No, nobody is trying to sign you up to play Mafia Wars or whatever. (Speaking of which, if anyone is playing Mafia Wars, friend me.)

BF: Get on it. Well, I should mention, too, it’s nice for me to read the Pritzker Pulse because I’ve been out of Pritzker-proper for a little over three years now. So, it’s nice for me to sort of catch up on what people are doing and what research people are doing and so forth. So, it’s nice and I think it’s nice for alumni, too, to just sort of look back on what people are doing. We’ll post the link on the show notes as well, but you can find it at bit.ly/pritzkerpulseautumn2009, all one word. So, go there and check it out. Mary, anything else you want to talk about?

§ “Questions? and Coming Soon on the Pritzker Podcast”

MB: I basically just wanted to insert a plea for questions from the audience. We’re in the middle of the swing of interviews in here. I’ve been talking to a lot of great people over the last couple of weeks. And if you have questions about do’s and don’ts of the interview process, about things that you think would be good to know about Pritzker, how to knock our socks off, let us know and we’ll be more than happy to answer those questions for you.

BF: Awesome. Yeah, I know we talked about this a little bit behind the scenes with Joni, but I know we’re trying to get an episode together regarding international opportunities through Pritzker. So, a lot of students, Laura Hodges included that I just mentioned, participate in international fellowships and grants and get money from various sources, Pritzker included. And they sort of go on these research trips or medical trips and stuff like that. So, there is a lot of that stuff lying around, and we’d love to give you sort of an overview episode—I think it probably will be a multi-parter—but an overview episode of how people get into that stuff and what opportunities are available. So, we’ll talk to some students. And we’d also love to have a physician here named Dr. Funmi Olopade, who is a breast cancer researcher and physician here, and she is intimately involved with a lot of the multicultural and international opportunities through Pritzker. And she actually, I think it was 2006 or 2007, won the MacArthur Fellowship, the Genius Grant?

MB: Yes, I think it was 2006, but I’m not sure.

BF: Right. So, I’m hoping she doesn’t totally outshine us in terms of intellect when she comes on the show because she is a genius.

MB: Well, I mean, if she won that fellowship before coming on the show, imagine what she’ll do after being on the show.

BF: That’s a great point. I mean, she has nowhere to go but up, I think.

MB: That’s right.

BF: Well, thanks, Mary. It was good to talk to you again. And we’ll talk to the rest of you soon.

MB: Absolutely. Good to be back. More later. You, too.

BF: OK, bye.

MB: Bye.

BF: Thanks again for listening to the Pritzker Podcast. To hear more or to get full transcripts for every episode of this program, visit pritzkerpodcast.com and be sure to leave us a comment to tell us what you think about it. We’re also on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed. So, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’ve got a question or comment for the show. Take care.

Posted on October 16, 2009 to: