Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle


I'm ba-ack!

No really, I am currently doing my first of 6 core rotations that make up my first year. The core rotations are Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, OB-GYN, Internal Medicine and Surgery. My rotation schedule are as follows; Psychiatry for 5 weeks at St. Barnabas Hospital (SBH) in the bronx, Pediatrics for 5 weeks at Good Samaritan Hosipital (GSH) on Long Island, Internal Medicine for 10 weeks at Wilson Hospital at Binghamton, Surgery for 10 weeks at GSH, Family Medicine for 5 weeks at SBH, and finally OB-GYN for 5 weeks at SBH.

I the sequence I was given was not my desired sequence, I originally wanted OB-GYN and psych to flip spots, but it will do. Why the disparity of hospital choices? Well, one of the benefits of NYCOM is having roughly 35+ hospital affiliations. Its true most of the hospitals are within the tri state area but there are exceptions such as the Hamptons, Binghamton, and Buffalo. The reason I am only at 3 hospitals above are as follows. SBH is a level 1 trauma center located in the south bronx. The ED/Trauma ward was recently featured on a TLC show titled "Bronx 911." It's an amazing place to work for the quality of the physicians and nurses that make up the hospital staff as well as the pathology one gets to see hanging around the ED. More on the ED and my psych rotation in a later post but Lord almighty there is a ton of schizophrenia patients that take up most of my day.

GSH is a prominent hospital located in West Islip out on Long Island. I chose this hospital primarily for the surgery rotation as there are no residents in the surgery program. This translated to layman's terms means that I will be 1st assist in the OR instead of holding a retractor for the duration of a 4 hour surgery. The downside is that my surgery rotation will not force me to "live the life of a surgical intern," which is to say a downright miserable experience from what I've heard/read. Since my mindset towards a specialy is not in the OR, I don't mind that last sentence at all.

Binghamton is the wild card. The most coveted IM rotations are those of Northshore LIJ (Long Island Jewish) system, primarily in Manhasset. I know many fellow students who put this rotation as their "choice of choices" during selection. I chose Binghamton b/c speaking at the hospital fair for rotation, students who have rotated through called this rotation a "diamond in the rough" because it is quite excellent and not well attended because it is so far from NYC. I haven't heard much from my friends who are currently at this rotation but I do have my fingers crossed.


On June 15th I took and completed my COMLEX I exam for certification as an osteopathic physician. This is one of three tests over the next 3-4 years to become fully licensed. While taking the test I felt rather ambivalent towards how I felt I was doing. the reason for this is that I was studying to take the USMLE as well this past summer. The USMLE is the allopathic version of the COMLEX and historically is much harder in both context and thought process. Although I may have described the two before , I will try to again. The USMLE is more of a "though provoking" exam which relies on 2nd to 3rd order connections to be made correctly to chose the right answer. Meanwhile the COMLEX is a "knowledge based" exam wherein the questions are primarily recall and a few 2nd order questions throughout. Moreover the USMLE is much better written test and the COMLEX is more vague in its questions.

My score on the COMLEX was a 583. The passing average is 400 with the first standard deviation being 500. All in all, I am very happy with my score. My goal was a 650 but that may have been a tad to lofty of an expectation.

What does this mean? It means that I am very satisfied with my boards score!!

However, the COMLEX score doesn't readily translate into a USMLE score. Since most allopathic residencies use the USMLE as a baseline for which to deem whether or not a student can be considered for acceptance, having a COMLEX score and no concrete USMLE score may hurt my chances of landing an excellent residency. Therefore I am planning to take the USMLE this December. It is a gamble since I have to balance rotations, studying for shelf exams and studying for boards at the same time, but I feel having a USMLE score that represents the hard work I put into my COMLEX will open more doors for me than sticking with the COMLEX alone. Although I could have taken both exams this past summer, I thought it best to concentrate on one exam at a time.

I will update you with how I will study, and my rotations in a later post.

Whoop Whoop,



  1. We'd be extremely surprised if you actually take the USMLE in Dec. There's a reason people are supposed to take it in the summer after classes end.

  2. I know the idea seems a bit ludicrous, but trust me, being on internal medicine for 10 weeks prior will be of great help as seeing the pathology in a real person and not as overly highlighted and underlined text will allow for better retention. At least I may find PFT's interesting...

  3. so how did it go zoidberg?

  4. A little late to the conversation. I'd love to hear about your experience at Wilson. I'm an MS II at LECOM considering doing a full year at Wilson and some feedback would be nice. Feel free to email me if you like: habibblacksheep at gmail