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2018 PreMed STAR Review

Here is my review of PreMed STAR in 2018!  Here’s to an even better 2019!

An Intern’s First Encounter with Death

This was the longest walk of my life. 3am in the morning and I was about to pronounce my newly admitted patient dead. You could hear a pin drop as I walked down the never ending 4th floor hall towards the elevators.

It was only the second week of my internal medicine intern year. Still wet behind the ears, I certainly wasn’t ready for what that night had in store for me. My upper level resident was paged from the ER to admit a very pleasant, middle aged, African American lady for abdominal pain. It turned out this patient had been diagnosed with an aggressive (triple-negative) breast cancer months ago but refused therapy. She now presented to the ER with diffuse abdominal pain. Walking into the ER, I wasn’t prepared to have my senses tested that way. The patient had a fungating left breast cancer wound showcasing a full range of neon colors and purulent drainage. The two fans and air freshener in the room could not mask the putrid smell emanating from the lesion. Despite her pain, the patient had a very sweet personality. She shared her distrust for the medical system and after the diagnosis of breast cancer nearly a year ago, she decided she would quietly live out her remaining days at home. I recall the patient sharing with me how proud she was to see a young African American male practicing medicine. This was not something she was accustomed to seeing.

After examining the patient, I hurriedly left the ER and took the elevator back up to the internal medicine call room. I shared the case with my resident who then evaluated the patient herself. We diagnosed the patient with an acute abdomen likely from metastases to the abdomen and paged the trauma surgeon hoping for STAT surgery. Unfortunately, a different path was taken as the surgeons were slammed with multiple trauma cases and the ER staff transferred the patient up to the medical floor without our knowledge. Two hours later, my resident was paged that the patient had expired. I was then the chosen intern to call the death.

The precise look I gave my Resident after she asked me to call my first death..

So there I was, walking to pronounce my first death. This was something I had never been trained to do. I had no clue how to officially call someone’s death. I had witnessed a few deaths as a medical student, however I never dwelled on the protocols surrounding such tragedy. This was a patient full of life, smiling and having a pleasant conversation with me a few hours ago. She declined resuscitation (DNR) but I couldn’t help to feel bad that emergency surgery was not performed. What if the nurse was incorrect and the patient was still alive? Maybe she was just sleeping and all it would take would be a little bit of nudging. Sweat beads began to form on my forehead. I nervously began flipping through my memories of old TV medical drama episodes hoping to stumble upon clear instructions. My trusty pocket reference book also provided no immediate answers.

And then… I walked into the patient’s room. Pure silence.

I shuffled around the bed staring at the patient. I then began to think of how privileged I was to be one of the last people to speak with this lady. I had the honor of officially placing the period at the end of her life. I don’t know if I impacted her life in the slightest bit those few minutes we spent together but she would forever impact mine. This is one of the many privileges of being a physician and I think every young trainee has encountered this special moment. In the middle of the night while others are asleep, there is a doctor out there providing aid to the sick. There is a doctor spending the last few minutes of life with a dying person and their loved ones. I checked the patient’s bracelet for her name, listened for a heartbeat, checked for a pulse and observed for spontaneous respirations. I stepped out of the room, looked down at my watch, and called her time of death.

In loving memory of my patient. Thank you for allowing me the honor to spend your last few minutes of earth together.

The Premed G.R.I.N.D.

***Listen to this episode, we’re giving out a FREE Kaplan MCAT Prep Course (worth $2400).  Listen to hear how you can win****

This is how to become a successful premed!  G.R.I.N.D.!!!   Week 29 of the PreMed Mondays book covers the Premed G.R.I.N.D. success strategy.  I use G.R.I.N.D.  to take on many of my goals!  The idea here is to be systematic and have a real plan that works!  G.R.I.N.D. is just that!  Goals, Reason, Information, Network, Discipline!  

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at

And join the online community of premeds at 

Gregory Proctor – 2018 Premed Of The Year!

Each year, there is one premedical student that stands out on PreMed STAR. This year, we congratulate Mr. Gregory Proctor as our 2018 Premed Of The Year (POTY)! 

Gregory has been an inspiration to us in many ways.  As a non-traditional premed, he is taking on the realities of life while pursuing his dream of becoming a medical doctor.  What’s most impressive about Gregory however is his constant spirit of servitude.

You all know that at the heart of PreMed STAR, our mission is to serve the students.  This year,nobody has exemplified that better than our 2018 POTY.  Without fail, Gregory has been there to answer tough questions and provide advice for his peers in the community.  From questions on the military to questions pertaining to academic success, he has contributed his opinion and made himself available for further discussion to support others. In the Spring, just prior to the start of application season, Gregory was one of our most active participants in the Application Bootcamp and Thursday Night Application Prep calls.

Doctors who possess a heart of servitude are what we need in this world.  Today, we’re proud to acknowledge Mr. Gregory Proctor as an individual on the right track to becoming one of those.

Please join us in congratulating PreMed STAR’s 2018 Premed Of The Year, Mr. Gregory Proctor!

Trending Medical Technology for the Physician

As a premed student interested in the medical world, what drew you in? When did you first become interested in the profession of healing? Was it from an early age studying anatomy, or maybe one of the latest trending medical shows – Grey’s Anatomy, House, or Scrubs? (Would I be revealing my age if I told you my show was St. Elsewhere or MASH!)

Observation is one of the greatest learning tools, and even our favorite TV series can give us a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of physicians, although the accuracy of medical details might be disputed. What if you had an opportunity to observe real medical encounters between providers and patients, learning about trending technology for physicians and gaining the experience that will help propel you forward in your journey to become a physician?

Step into the world of virtual medical scribing!

Dr. Waldrop is seeing a new patient this afternoon. After obtaining her permission for a scribe to listen in, Dr. Waldrop sets her phone on the counter and proceeds with the visit. While taking the patient’s history, she instructs the scribe to be sure to note the history of appendectomy in 2008 and cholecystectomy in 2012. She also comments on her findings during the exam: “Heart sounds good…lungs are normal…normal bowel sounds, abdomen is soft and nontender.” After the patient leaves the room, the scribe asks, “Which arm was it that had the insect bite?” and Dr. Waldrop verifies that it was the right arm.

This invisible person on the other end of the phone speaker is a virtual medical scribe working remotely over the internet. He has created a record of the visit by completing the chart in the electronic health record format for the provider. Dr. Waldrop is pleased to note that she spent more time interacting with her patient. She can see more patients during her clinic hours and only needs to review the completed charts at the end of her day.

Learn more about the opportunity to scribe remotely!

Virtual scribes work remotely, listening to patient encounters through a phone, microphone, or speaker in the room with the physician. Scribes access the EHR remotely and perform the documentation tasks online through advanced technology solutions that are helping physicians regain control of their busy schedules.

M*Modal’s Scribing Services is on the forefront of technology solutions to help providers accomplish more without physician burnout by utilizing virtual medical scribes. As a leader in clinical healthcare documentation and speech understanding systems, M*Modal is the only provider of medical scribing services that leverage providers’ electronic health records (EHRs) with their suite of technologies to improve clinical documentation, consistency of services, and patient and physician satisfaction.

M*Modal Scribing Services has partnered with PreMed STAR to offer webinars in scribing tools, EHR platforms, and exposure to the latest in technology for physicians. Be sure to look for our upcoming webinars in January 2019, offered through M*Modal’s Scribe Training Academy. Virtual scribing may be a great position for premed students, offering a chance to observe provider-patient encounters remotely, learn about the upcoming technology trends, and gain knowledge of key charting concepts for EHRs.

To learn more about the virtual scribing positions offered at M*Modal Scribing Services, visit our website at or contact:

Blake Weller

M*Modal Lead Scribe Recruiter

O: 800-233-3030 x 5841

D: 267-940-5841

5 Medically Related Jobs For Premeds

Week 28 of the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 medically related jobs for premeds.  As a premedical student, you’re super busy but still need a little bit of money in your pockets.  Even if you don’t need the money, work exposure is great for your medical school application!  In this episode of PreMed Mondays, I’ll discuss 5 medically related jobs that help you make money while getting great premed exposure!

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at

And join the online community of premeds at  

5 Things to Do During Christmas Break

Christmas Break is here and many students are scrambling to figure out how to spend it! This is an interesting time of year because by now you’re probably tired from working so hard during the semester, but you know you need to make the most of this time. How do you do that? Here are 5 tips to make sure you spend your break wisely.

1) Rest! Kobe Bryant offers sound advice when he says, “rest at the end.” Sure, you’re not quite at the end of your journey, but you are at the end of the semester. That means you can now take a few days off to catch up with life. Spend a full week hanging out with friends and family and not even thinking about being premed.

2) Shadow. Okay, enough resting, it’s time to get back at it. Just kidding (kinda…)! I’ve had premeds message me asking to shadow during the break. This is the perfect opportunity for you to connect with your local doc back home and let him or her know how your premed journey is going. While at it, ask if you can get a few shadowing hours in over the break.

3) Strengthen relationships with professors and potential rec letter writers. Everyone should take a few minutes to send their professors from the immediate past semester a nice thank you note. Also do the same for professors from older semesters. If you’re preparing to apply to medical school, send them your PreMed STAR profile using the share icon on your profile page and request your rec letter now. Don’t wait….go ahead and send the first request now.

4) Read a book. Choose one book that you’ve been longing to read and spend a few minutes every day simply enjoying it. And NO I’m not talking about Kaplan’s MCAT review! I mean a book for pleasure reading. The only caveat being if you are preparing for the MCAT, then you better be studying those books!

5) Prepare for next semester. Make sure your classes are all set, you’ll have your books ready to go, and you have a plan for extracurriculars. It shouldn’t take you long to do this preparation and it’s definitely worthwhile doing it during break prior to resuming classes.

Your break is time for you to do just that…take a break! Sneak in a few things from time to time, but the general idea should be to relax and enjoy yourself. When it’s time to resume classes, you want to be 110% ready to go!

5 Reasons to Consider Studying Abroad

Week 27 of the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 reasons to consider studying abroad. Stepping out of the box and exploring a new culture provides many benefits. Studying abroad allows you to meet new people, learn about new cultures, and broaden your mindset. In this episode, I share 5 reasons to consider doing it.

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school at

And join the online community of premeds at

3 Secrets to Help You Get a Great Letter of Recommendation for Medical School

Grades…check! Shadowing…check! Extracurriculars…check! Rec letters……oh boy!!! Getting great rec letters is a challenge for many premeds. Most see it as something that is out of their control. Something they have little influence over. Well, that’s not the case at all. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. The quality of the letters you get will be largely determined by you. Yes YOU! The reality of the situation is that there are a few key things, that when done, unlock the box to excellent letters. As a student asking for a letter, your job is to make it as easy on the writer as possible and help to guide their thought process. I’ve now written enough rec letters as well as read enough to understand what things premedical students should be doing in order to get letters that stand out above the crowd. Here are 3 little secrets to help you do just that!

1) Secret # 1: Ask early! Why am I writing this blog in December just before the Christmas break? Because this is when you need to start asking for rec letters. Here’s what you need to know about timing, a lot of students will start asking for rec letters in February, March, April so you need to get at the front of the line. This has several benefits. First, it gives your writer more time to get your letter done without being under the pressure of a deadline. This means they’re more likely to be thorough and write meaningful content. Second, it gives you enough time to send reminders without sounding annoying. Asking just before the holiday break is also good because some letter writers will take advantage of that time off to get it done!

2) Secret # 2: Ask for a “great” or “excellent” rec letter. Ask and it shall be given to you. If you ask for a rec letter, then that’s what you’ll get, a plain ol’ average letter. But if you ask for an excellent letter, you’re more likely to get one that uses words like “best”, “most”, or “outstanding”. In a sense, you want to prime your letter writer’s mind to believe you are great before they start writing. So when you ask for a letter, suggest to them that you’re worthy of a great one by using such keywords in your requests. When I review letters, if it doesn’t have one of those buzzwords such as “top” or “best”, I tend to file it in my mental “average” rec letter bin.

**BONUS** You can even let your professors or other letters writers know years prior that you enjoyed your time with them and you’ll be planning to request a letter from them when you’re applying to medical school!

3) Secret 3: Send them your PreMed STAR profile. One of the most important things you can do to help your letter writers is to send them your PreMed STAR profile. You’ll notice a blue share icon on the top right corner of your profile page…take advantage of it!!! When someone asks me to write them a letter but doesn’t provide any additional information, they put themselves at a major handicap. What I’m able to say about them is limited only to what I know about them. It is easy for us to forget that other people aren’t experts on our lives. When I get a request to write a letter, one of the first things I do is check out the student’s PreMed STAR profile to see what else I need to know about them to write the best possible letter. DO NOT skip this step. It is probably one of your biggest tools to influence your rec letter.

**BONUS** You Should also send them your personal statement (or a draft) if you have one prepared.

I want you to know that you have more control over your rec letters than you may realize. Be confident when requesting them and be sure to give them enough information about yourself so they can make you shine! Put these 3 secrets to use and you may be pleasantly surprised. Vividly recall being at an interview when the interviewer handing me some letters than were written about me. They were excellent! Put these tips to use so you can have the same experience!

I’ve read enough to know when the writer is really impressed verses when he or she is simply trying to placate a student. At

5 Reasons to Consider Conducting Research

Week 26 of the PreMed Mondays book covers 5 reasons to consider undergraduate research. During my undergraduate and medical school years, I did quite a bit of research. The benefits were intangible. My advice to students is to give it a shot. You won’t know if you like research until you try it. if you don’t like it….well…then stop doing it.

Premeds, find affordable services designed to help you get accepted into medical school

And join the online community of premeds at


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