Rachel Wood

This learning curve feels more like an icy cliff

“Okay Mr. X, little poke… “ Ouch! “Nearly there…” [Mr. X is beginning to not-so-subtly pull his hand away from me] “Shoot.  Okay…just a few more minutes….” The above scenario lasted in fact only one more minute, and that is only because Person A (me) finally called it and relinquished the task of placing Mr. X’s IV to my (much) more experienced nursing colleague.  And though Mr. X was exceedingly gracious and understanding of the … Read More

Excuse us, our brains (and bellies) are full

Happy belated Thanksgiving all!  Hopefully your weekends were filled with enough fat and sugar-filled calories to cast a soporific spell over any stress or fatigue that may have plagued you last week. Around the halls of RJH stress was plentiful as both classes prepared for exams, working hard to internalize thick, detailed syllabi. The result went something like this: Like, really full. First-years have been cramming their brains full of cellular biology pathways and histology … Read More


How do you define “healthy?” Good cholesterol and low blood pressure levels? No family history of cancer? Balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep? Sure. But what about less obvious – and perhaps less easily quantified – traits like easy laughter, positivity, or an intact sense of humor? I don’t have a research-based answer here, but I’m beginning to suspect that truly healthy people possess these things as well, perhaps setting up some kind of positive feedback loop that makes them even … Read More

Differentiation by Dahl

As a kid, and occasionally as an adult, Roald Dahl’s books have been a staple of my literary diet.  Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…the list is long and fantastic.  As I was considering my topic for this month’s post, several of Dahl’s illustrations popped into my head, and I subsequently had way too much fun pulling these books out and flipping through my favorite sections. The first … Read More

Insert your experience here.

For me, as for centuries of doctors before me, my journey through these crossroads began when I first took a blade in my hand and cut a line across a dead woman’s skin. ~ Dr. Christine Montross, Body of Work Gross Anatomy. It’s probably the most famous (and by some, the most feared) class of medical school.  It’s also the first class of medical school, which adds to its mystery and prestige. As a newly … Read More

Please Remember to Chew

“Es un proceso.” I received this reminder from one of my new Costa Rican friends yesterday about the experience of learning a language and the patience it requires. He is from Samara, my current residence, and has been studying English for several years. He described his ongoing frustration with the confusing vocabulary (their, there, they’re), the often irregular past tense (sit-sat, hit-hit, fit-fitted), and the ever-present idioms that make him want to cry. What struck … Read More

Monkeys and Medical School

Saludos desde Costa Rica! Like many of my rising MS2 classmates, I have flown the Portland coop for the summer and am using the time to breathe a little non-hill air.  I have landed in the beautiful country of Costa Rica where I will be spending a total of six weeks plus two days studying Spanish, traveling, and meeting as many people as possible.  It has only been a few days, but the whirlwind of … Read More

Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms…

Do you remember that song that kids sang on the playground, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms…?”  We used to sing this song because a) singing about worms was the height of cool in third grade and b) the idea of a worm sliding down (or up) your throat was about the grossest thing we could think of – which, after all, was the point. Last week we received a … Read More



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