Evolving AI Technology is Keeping Med Students from Pursuing Radiology

Radiology

While most of the world agrees that breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (also known as simply ‘AI’) have made life considerably easier, there are a few drawbacks for certain individuals. One set of individuals who feel at a slight disadvantage are med students.

Reduction in Radiology Demand?

A great number of medical students are under the impression that new breakthroughs in AI have reduced the demand for radiologists. If ongoing trends are to be believed, these students say that demand will continue to drop, thus making radiology a very cut-throat field.

A recent study published in Academic Radiology says that the fear of an AI takeover (so to speak) has gone so far as to discourage some current students from even considering radiology as a possible concentration.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted among the students of seventeen different Canadian schools in March of 2018. Three hundred responses were recorded among the potential student pool, and two incredible statistics stood out.

First, 67% of all respondents stated that evolving AI would generally reduce the demand for radiologists. That’s more than half of people surveyed, which says quite a bit about what the next generation of medical professionals feel.

But that wasn’t even the craziest response. An incredible 29% of all respondents stated that they believed AI would replace the need for radiologists entirely. In other words, AI would replace radiology completely with no more need for an actual person anymore.

Some people were still considering radiology as a possible (or definite) concentration. Among only those who are still considering this career path, almost half of them said that evolving AI has made them feel anxious about their future.

Among those who no longer consider radiology a choice, 14% stated that it would be their top field choice were it not for ever-advancing AI in that particular field.

What the Survey’s Authors Had to Say

Bo Gong, the leading author of the survey, had this to say about the survey’s results: “Our study revealed considerable anxiety among medical students’ interest in radiology, caused by their perception of the impact of artificial intelligence… Such anxiety discouraged a significant number of medical students from considering a radiology specialty.”

The authors stated there are steps the current radiology community could take to help med students understand the true impact artificial intelligence may have on their chosen specialty. In fact, they went as far as to create a list of possible ways current radiologists could help students to understand more on this topic.

Yet despite anxiety regarding their future careers, most responding students did support the idea of collaboration with the IT industry to support the role of AI in radiology and in improving patient care across all medical sectors.

As for whether or not AI will replace radiology all together, most practitioners are doubtful. This isn’t to say it couldn’t happen far into the future, but for now AI is complementary to radiologists and do not displace the need for human care.

 

Why the MCATs Are So Important for Medical Students

Canadian Medical Students

MCAT stands for the “Medical College Admission Test,” and it’s a major milestone for all premed students. In fact, it can be argued that it is one of the most important (and difficult) exams potential medical school students will ever take. But why is this test so important?

Why the MCAT Matters So Much

The MCAT is the first step in medical school. After a traditional four-year college program in premed, students must pass the MCAT to obtain entrance into medical school. If a student fails their MCAT they will probably not be accepted into any reputable medical school, and their hard work up to that point will be for naught. But why is this single test so very important?

The answer to this question lays within the test’s ability to predict the future, so to speak. Studies have proven that a student’s ability to perform well on the MCAT correlates with their performance on the all-important USMLE.

The USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) is a three-part test which must be taken to receive licensing, prior to obtaining a doctorate. The parts are broken down into steps, and are as follows:

  • Step One: Typically taken after the second year of medical school. This first step assesses basic understanding and application of important concepts regarding basic science and the practice of medicine – including underlying health, modes of therapy, and disease.
  • Step Two: Typically taken in the fourth year of medical school. This second step assess the ability to apply the knowledge and skills accumulated during schooling, with special emphasis placed on physical patient care.
  • Step Three: Typically taken during an internship or during the first year of residency. It is the culmination of everything learned, from book knowledge to patient care and beyond. This final step will also test a student’s knowledge on laws and regulations as it pertains to physicians and patient care.

Keeping this study in mind will make it clear why medical schools place such an emphasis on it. If performance on the MCAT directly correlates to the USMLE, and the USMLE is the most important test towards graduation, then schools who wish to ensure a high graduation rate will want students who have proven they can do well.

Other Variables

The good news is that the MCAT is not the only indicator of how well a student will do on the USMLE. While it definitely factors in, there are a number of other variables which will influence a student’s final score. These might include:

  • What type of test-taker a student is. Those who are naturally better at taking tests will obviously do better than those who do not.
  • How well a student prepares through studying in the days, weeks, and months prior to the examination.
  • How dedicated a student has been in their studies. Those who are more attentive in class and hold higher grades tend towards doing better than those who slack or do not pay attention.

15 Quick Tips for Better Studying in Medical School

medical student studying

Medical school is challenging, and not just because it’s time-intensive. The material students must memorize to pass the multitude of tests necessary for certification is extensive and difficult. With so much needing remembered it can seem like studying encompasses all a student’s free time.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. While studying should take a considerable amount of a student’s free time, it doesn’t have to take all of it. The idea is to “study smarter, not harder.” Here we offer 15 quick tips to help med students do just that.

  1. Space out studying, don’t binge. If you space your studying out throughout the weeks or months leading up to an exam you are more likely to retain the information versus suffering extreme burnout.
  2. Take a fifteen-minute break after 45 to 60 minutes of studying, depending on what works for you. During this time, you should do nothing but sit back and relax, to allow your mind to process information.
  3. Use a “smart studying” program like CanadaQBank.
  4. If you’ve memorized a section or topic area, don’t waste time repeating it. Focus effort on more difficult areas and do a quick once-over the day before your exam.
  5. Take a night off to socialize. This is good for mental and emotional health.
  6. Instead of staying up all night to study, focus on getting a solid eight hours whenever possible. This allows the brain to function adequately.
  7. Create an organizational method for your notes which works for you. It can take some trial and error but having all your notes and other studying tools organized can save a lot of time. It also makes the entire process significantly easier.
  8. Use a calendar to keep track of important upcoming dates, like exams. Pin it to the wall in a place you’ll see it every day.
  9. Get a study buddy. It will help keep you on track by providing both motivation and support.
  10. Before and after studying, take time to stretch. This will help keep good blood flow.
  11. Don’t forget to eat! Carbohydrates and protein are both great brain fuel. Snack often and eat a good breakfast the day before an exam.
  12. Don’t become discouraged if it takes a little extra time to nail a topic that is difficult for you. Stressing over it will actually make it more difficult to master!
  13. If you find yourself in a rut, go study in a new place. It could be on the lawn, in the library, or at a coffee shop. The change of scenery will help get your mind moving again.
  14. Figure out your learning style and leverage it to its fullest potential.
  15. Take ten minutes to go over your most difficult subject matter right before bed. Science shows this can help you memorize it, since the brain processes your day backwards!

If you incorporate the above tips into your normal studying routine, you’ll find that subject material is memorized quicker, and that the risks of burnout from over-studying are decreased.

Are Canadian Medical Students Studying Abroad Finding Residencies More Difficult?

Canadian Medical Students Studying Abroad

A Supreme Court case has been filed, alleging that Canadian residents who have graduated from medical schools abroad (outside the US or Canada) are finding it difficult to obtain residencies. This, of course, places a large hurtle in the path of these students towards their chosen profession.

Since these students are unable to obtain residencies, they have been forced to work in other fields while pursuing potential programs. One court petitioner states he has had to work in construction, as well as an ICBC claims adjuster. Another petitioner says he has both had to walk dogs and foray in the film industry.

The Problem & The System

The issue does not lay in the fact that the two above-mentioned petitioners are any less qualified. Instead, they underwent their medical schooling abroad and the current system gives strict preference towards those graduated from Canadian medical schools.

The current system was set up with a great purpose in mind, as many things are. The idea was to ensure that Canadian school graduates weren’t unemployed after undertaking so many years of training. Unfortunately, that has backfired. While these graduates may not see unemployment, those Canadian residents who studied abroad are.

SCSMA Fights For The Rights of Canadians Studying Abroad

A group was formed to help protect the rights of these students, called Society of Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SCSMA). The group is led by Rosemary Pawliuk whose own daughter was forced to do a residency in the US after she graduated from an Irish medical school. The SCSMA argues that all Canadian citizens (and permanent residents) should be able to compete fairly for access to postgraduate training (like residencies) “on the basis of individual skills, knowledge, and attributes relevant to the practice of medicine.”

The Lawsuit

The leaders of the lawsuit are Dr. Oliver Kostanski and Harris Falconer. Kostanski is a native of Vancouver but attended medical school in Poland so he could live near his grandparents. Falconer has been attending medical school in Vancouver. The men’s lawsuit was filed against the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Health, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Kostanski and Falconer argue that the numerous barriers facing them upon return to British Columbia are a violation of their rights, as laid out by the country’s constitution. The University of British Columbia, who only accepts 10% to 15% of all applicants, has even admitted that the odds are stacked against those native Canadians who decide to study abroad before returning to their home country to practice medicine.

Just how hard is it to get a residency? Overseas graduates are given only an arbitrary 58 residency positions in British Columbia during the first round of matching. Those students who graduated from the United States or Canada, however, are guaranteed exclusive access to 288 positions. This number is equivalent to the number of students accepted into the UBC’s medical school each year.

How Premed Students Balance Life

Pre Med Students

Pre-med is not for the faint of heart. Students studying medicine are under a constant amount of extreme pressure, which only becomes harder as they reach medical school. Besides being an incredibly competitive field, students are required to study for months without end, work well in high-pressure situations, and deal with a lot of emotional hardship.

Even during clinical practice, the emotions can be nearly debilitating. Compassion is a necessity, but it must be done while also keeping your emotions in check.

So how does one survive these grueling years? How can students not only ace their schooling but ensure it doesn’t completely take over their lives?

Here we look at a few proven ways pre-med students have learned to balance life. Many of these can also be applied to the next step on the journey to become a doctor – medical school.

Get Help if Necessary

High stress environments can wreak havoc on even the most resilient people’s mental health. A study from 2010 shows that 15% of pre-med students meet the strict guidelines for clinical depression. A 2016 study saw that this number only increases once students reach medical school, with the percentage with depression reaching 27%.

If you need help, get it. Never be afraid to speak up and tell someone you are feeling depressed…. And always remember that suicide is never the answer.

Become an Expert Studier

There is an adage that says the volume and depth of information a student is expected to learn in medical school is like drinking from a fire hose. To put it short: it can be very overwhelming. Therefore, it is vital to become an expert studier while still in pre-med, or else you will drown once you reach med.

A few quick study tips:

  • Avoid all-nighters. While it may seem like a promising idea, you aren’t as productive after a certain point – and it is much more valuable to get a full night’s sleep.
  • Find an organization system for notes, papers, books, etc. that works best for you.
  • Take regular breaks while studying to keep your mind fresh. Every 45 minutes you spend steadily studying, you should take 15 minutes to breath. Walk around the room, grab a snack, take a quick shower, or whatever you need to do to clear your mind.
  • Study smarter. If you have something down, skip over that and focus on the areas you need the most help with. There are some programs which allow you to do this in an organized, effective fashion – like CanadaQBank.

Take Care of Yourself

Do not neglect your physical health while in school, as this can haunt you well into the future. Even if it means having half an hour less time to study, it is vital that you prioritize your physical health as the most important thing. This includes getting thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily, eating a balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water. Also, don’t forget to get those eight hours of sleep each night.

Remember “Me Time”

Between school, clinicals, maintaining a social life, exercising, and possibly even working, your “me time” can disappear. Make every effort to ensure it doesn’t, however. At least once a week you should be spending a few moments caring for yourself. Do something you enjoy. Take a long, hot shower or read a book. Visit your family for the afternoon or catch up with your siblings. You’ll feel much better after.

Tips for Medical Students Looking to Prepare for Their Medical Exams

Medical Students

Medical school is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life, and the exams that prove your competency can be difficult, as well. In order to practice, you must pass these exams, and in order to pass, you must study. Here are some tips for medical exam preparation that other students have used to succeed in their careers.

Start Studying Early & Manage Your Time Wisely

Medical school is exhausting. Between your classroom lectures, labs, and clinicals, it may feel as if you get very little time to study or even sleep. Because of this, it is vital that you start preparing for exams very early on in your education. Create a timeline that includes specific timelines for each individual topic, study all throughout each semester, and be sure to include lots of time for reviewing older material, too. What’s more, don’t overdo it – be sure to take some time for yourself, as well.

Study in the Right Place with the Right People

Though many medical students on TV are portrayed studying anywhere they can, it is truly possible to find a location that works best for you. Whether it’s a library, a park somewhere on campus, or even the solitude of your dorm or apartment, figure out where you seem to learn the best and make that your number one spot. Studying in groups is also beneficial as everyone can share their strengths and get some help with their weaknesses. However, make sure your study group is dedicated to learning rather than socializing if you want to make your study time matter.

Take Practice Exams

Taking practice examinations early on will help you get more comfortable with the format of your tests, too. There are numerous online programs and question banks out there, including CanadaQBank, which can offer you this opportunity. Look for options that have features that work in your benefit, such as different test modes, the ability to take notes, and the ability to track your progress as you go. Not only will you familiarize yourself with the exam, but you will also be able to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, then alter your study plan around them.

Take Care of Yourself

Numerous studies have shown that students who do not actively take care of their health tend to do more poorly on examinations. To retain information, and to make logical decisions, you need to be hydrated, nourished, and rested. Do your very best to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, track your water intake, and eat three balanced meals each day. Though it can be difficult at times, especially when you are busy, this focus on yourself will eventually pay off.

Preparing for medical exams is not something you should start a few weeks away from the exam date. Start studying early on, in the right places, and with the right people. Be sure to test yourself frequently, and above all else, take care of your health. These things are all important to comprehension and learning, which will help you succeed throughout your medical career.