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Understanding MOC Requirements
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Medical students are famously susceptible to "medical student
syndrome", in which they perceive to experience whatever illness
they are studying at the time. Despite being involved in a health
care profession, medical students are not exempt from actually
getting sick. In fact, during clinical rotations greater exposure
to infectious agents may put trainees at a greater risk than those
in the general population. It is an inevitable reality that all
physicians at some point in their careers will come down with an
illness. Therefore, it is important to think about both your
professional responsibility to your patients and colleagues and
your personal obligations to your own health and well being.
Be Aware of Your Health Insurance Policy
Health insurance is a necessity for everyone, even medical
students. Typically, medical schools require proof of coverage for
all students as a basic entrance requirement. Understanding your
health insurance policy is almost equally as important as having
it. Most health insurance companies have online resources to help
you familiarize yourself with the basic points of your health
insurance policy. Take a moment to see you can answer the following
Know Your Medical School's Policies on Taking Sick
All medical schools have specific requirements and reporting
guidelines regarding students' need to take time off. Make sure you
are aware of your school's specific guidelines and also who to
contact in the event that an illness arises (i.e. deans,
administrators, course directors, etc.). It is important to be
aware of these policies before you are not feeling well, as it is
often difficult to determine the appropriate actions when you are
Determine Whether a Mild Illness Will Put Patients at
It is often difficult to decide whether or not you are "sick
enough" to justify missing a part of your rotations, especially
when attendance is such an important part of evaluations. In
addition, each of us has different set points for when we are too
ill to come in for work. Thus, it is often difficult to determine
whether or not we should just power through a mild illness. It is
essential, however, to evaluate whether or not your participation
in patient care places your patients or colleagues at risk.
Providers, including medical students, should evaluate whether or
not they might transmit infectious agents to patients.
We All Get Sick
Medical students, residents, and physicians invariably get sick.
School officials, attendings, and colleagues all understand this
reality and are often more encouraging of us to stay home than we
might expect. Personal well-being can sometimes be diminished when
we are involved in a profession that emphasizes the care of others.
However, it is essential to be mindful of your health and
well-being. Your body will thank you for it.
Munveer Bhangoo, MSII
Council of Student Members Representative, Pacific Region
University of California, San Diego, 2012
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June 2010 Issue of IMpact
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