Quick easy meal for busy medical students

Recipes and Food, Uncategorized

Med student life can be pretty busy. First you gotta wake up early for ward rounds (especially them surgical ward rounds) then long hours of ward work/tutes/studying which can all be super overwhelming.

So sometimes you might feel when you go home and you just want to sleep. But not to fear, no one will be skipping meals when you can make delicious healthy dinner within 15 minutes. Below is a tortilla recipe of my own when I feel like eating something that stimulates the taste buds but I want to keep things simple. These tortillas are packed with carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals that will not only keep you full in the tummy but full of energy the next day.

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Serves: 6 tortillas

  • (If you want to make double the quantity to eat for tomorrow’s dinner – double the amount of minced beef, onion, tomato and lettuce)

Duration: 15 minutes

Difficulty: easy peasy

 

Ingredients:

250g of minced beef

1/2 onion

1 tomato

1/4 lettuce

1/2 can of broad beans

Premade salsa

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

1tablespoon of mixed herbs

Shredded cheese

6 tortillas

Salt

Pepper

Optional ingredients: corn, carrots, capsicum or anything else you like

 

Method:

  1. Dice the tomato and lettuce. Leave these on a plate which will be your salad plate.
  2. Heat up some oil in a small pot.
  3. Slice the onion and cook the onion in the small pot until almost golden
  4. Add the minced beef – stir until cooked.
  5. Mix broad beans into the pot.
  6. Add tomato paste + mixed herbs then season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Heat the tortillas (20 seconds in the microwave should do the trick)
  9. Assemble your tortillas with the beef mixture, salad, cheese and salsa.
  10. Everything is ready for you to roll and eat! Enjoy! 

How to Succeed in Study

Mental Health, Tips and Advice

It’s week 11, SWOT VAC and exams are upon us and we like to think we look as cute as those little puppies do when they study! The weather is about as turbulent as we feel ourselves right now and we can’t decide what’s worse – the sun shining outside while we’re stuck reading Talley and O’Connor, or the rain and wind that so conveniently whips us just as we step outside for a well deserved break! It’s tough, we know, but don’t worry! We’ve got your back! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get through the next few weeks:

  1.   Keep in mind the bigger picture

Take a step back and see where your stressor fits in the big picture. Sometimes not being able to memorise all the branches of the maxillary artery isn’t something worth stressing over (unless you’re a maxillofacial surgeon). Which brings us to…

  1.   Proportionality

As you’ve probably heard in Craig Hassed’s lectures, some stress is okay and in fact helps us perform. You just need to keep in mind the proportion of stress; stress more when it actually matters, but always aim for that “peak performance” area on the Hassed curve of life!

  1.   Blame

If (or perhaps when) you feel that you haven’t studied enough and that you should have studied more during the year, remember that blaming yourself, or anyone else, isn’t going to help the situation. What’s done is done, and you’re just going to make yourself feel worse and make it even harder to motivate yourself to study. The key is to keep a positive attitude, keep focused, and not just give up on studying just because you don’t think you’ll pass. Instead, do something productive and….

  1.   Plan ahead

Sometimes, just laying out what revision needs to be done in the coming weeks can help make that mountain into a mole hill. For some people that means making a list of topics you want to revisit, for some it’s drawing outa  fully fledged timetable. Make sure you stick to #1 and the bigger picture – it’s worth sacrificing an hour of studying the lumbosacral plexus (#notexaminable) for an hour of relaxing, talking to your friends, or doing something else you enjoy to help keep you balance. Which leads us to…

  1.   Keep healthy

Simple things like eating or sleeping (yes, that elusive physiological state lecturers talk about all the time!) are way more important than trying to remember every step of the Krebs cycle. In fact, getting a good night sleep instead of late-night cramming (not that you need to, since you planned ahead during step 4) will help you remember all that you’ve studied AND ensure you’re better prepared for tomorrow’s study session!

  1.    Different learning styles

Don’t be afraid to change your study techniques if they’re no longer working for your learning style. If you don’t know what learning style suits you, try finding out here: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html. And don’t forget, it’s not too late to try something new! Switch it up from writing out notes to maybe flashcards on Quizlet? Or practice explaining concepts to your friends in a study group, or drawing out pathways. There will be something that works best for you, and the key is to optimise YOUR understanding and YOUR learning, not sticking to some notion of what studying looks like if it isn’t working.

7. Perspective

Remember, that this is just one exam. It is not the make or break of your career. It does not reflect or define who you are. It definitely does not reflect how good a doctor you’ll be. No patient will ever care what marks you got in med school. Some of the best, most accomplished doctors out there have done poorly, possibly even failed an exam here or there. We’re all human, and so long as you’re trying your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you and you should be pretty happy with that.

Blue Week is here!

C&W Events, Mental Health, Uncategorized

As the end of the year creeps up on us, stress runs high for medical students – exams beckon, and some of us prepare for internship, thrust into the real world of being doctors. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep our mental health in line, and that’s why we have a fantastic Blue Week lined up here at C&W!

I’m sure you’ve all heard that this year we are supporting Berry Street and Lifeline, which are names that may have been dropped in conversation passing by, but what exactly is our money going towards?

Established in 1877, Berry Street is Victoria’s largest independent child and family services organisation. They are committed to making sure that all children are nurtured growing up, can feel safe and work towards a bright future. They focus on strengthening family relationships, and help victims of trauma and abuse in their recovery. Last year, Berry Street helped around 16,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people and families in Victoria through donations and support that we hope to contribute to this year at C&W.

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Somewhere in Australia there is a new call to Lifeline’s crisis line (13 11 14) every minute. Calls are about suicidal thoughts or attempts, personal crises, anxiety, depression, abuse, trauma and other self-help issues. Lifeline is a national charity that relies on community support.

With that background, we encourage you all to attend our Blue Week events so we can provide support for these worthy organisations, whilst all coming together and taking care of our own mental health. The activities are well under way with our BBQ at the Clayton campus complete and Comedy Night tonight! The rest of the week is set to be a blast, so head to the MUMUS Community & Wellbeing Facebook page and check out our Cocktail Night, Sh’Bam class and Enhancing Mental Health for Medical Students talk. See you all there!

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Kimchi Fried Rice

Recipes and Food, Uncategorized

Kimchi is a traditional fermented dish eaten mainly in South Korea (but increasingly around

the world!). It is rich in dietary fibre, but low in calories – one serving provides more than

50% of the RDI of Vitamin C and carotene too! This recipe incorporates kimchi into an easy

fried rice dish, that can be made in large portions and eaten throughout the week 🙂

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Ingredients(Serves 1):

100g chicken

100g kimchi

1 tbsp gochujang*

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp salt

1 cup cooked rice

Finely chopped spring onion

Optional 1 egg (sunny side up or scrambled)

Optional sesame seed

 

Directions:

  1. Squeeze out the juice from the kimchi into a bowl. Add the gochujang (and more soy sauce if desired) and stir until the gochujang is completely dissolved.
  2. Chop the kimchi into bite sized pieces and set aside for later.
  3. Drizzle 1tsp sesame oil onto the rice and stir to break up any clumps.
  4. Cut chicken into thin strips. Add 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and soy sauce to taste. Mix well and leave for a few minutes. Heat vegetable oil on medium heat in a wok, add the chicken, and sesame seeds (optional). Cook until chicken is almost cooked through and set aside for later.
  5. Add garlic into the wok and stir for 30 seconds, then add the kimchi into the wok. Stirfry until kimchi is starting to brown and very fragrant.
  6. Add the chicken and mix with the kimchi. Add the rice and mix well. Stirfry for a few minutes – make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion and serve 🙂

*Gochujang is hot pepper paste, and can be found in the Korean food section of any Asian supermarket.

 

When Patients Die

Being A Doctor, Food For Thought, Mental Health, Tips and Advice

Having a patient die is something that is expected to happen to all medical students and junior doctors, but how are we supposed to cope when showing emotion can often be seen as a weakness in the hospital?

Our friends over at bloodbonesandbodies examine what it’s like for medical students dealing with when patients pass away and preparing for when they will have to be , and ways we can try make it easier to cope with such a potentially disturbing, shocking experience, given the lack of education and awareness around the topic. See what they have to say over here.

Image courtesy of bloodbonesandbodies

R U OK? Day

C&W Events, Uncategorized

Last Thursday September 8 marked R U OK? Day, where we all took a step back to check in with the people around us, and make sure they’re coping with all the stresses that life can bring.

At the Clayton Campus, C&W joined the initiatives of many other student clubs and societies, hosting a barbecue on the lawns with student musical talent on show.

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The R U OK Day Dandenong Celebration was a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, and allow the cohort of students at Dandenong the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves.

We had some great food at the common room party, namely some cool rainbow jelly, quinoa salad and finger food! It was a nice, cosy chill out session.

Our Social Badminton session afterwards was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to finally stretch our legs out from somewhere other than behind a desk and become tachycardic (but the good kind). It was fun to see our friends in action with their badminton racquets.

Overall, the R U OK Day celebration was a really enjoyable day for all of us here at Dandenong!

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At Latrobe Regional Hospital, C&W collaborated with Traralgon site representatives to provide the ultimate feel-good feast and a talk by an esteemed Psychiatric Registrar, Dr Lionel Leong. The talk was attended by students from Year 2 all the way to Year 5, with everyone asking each other the all-important question that could save a life: ‘Are you okay?’

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R U OK?

Food For Thought, Mental Health, Tips and Advice

 

Ever been totally overwhelmed? Upset, angry, frustrated, annoyed? Ever wanted to scream or cry or both, but you just couldn’t? Ever felt like you couldn’t possibly keep on the way you were but you had to? Ever felt like if you just get those feelings out, you’d be ok?  Ever wished you had someone to talk to, but you were always afraid of being judged, being a burden, being a party pooper?

Of course you have. We all have. Some of us to a greater extent than others. And while it’s often a totally normal part of life, sometimes it doesn’t go away and get better. It escalates and escalates, and without realising it you’re on a downward spiral with no idea how to get yourself out. If only someone could help. Could reach out and give that you that support to pull yourself back up. If only some one asked you, “are you ok?”

Tomorrow is R U OK? Day, a day all about remembering to reach out to each other, to support and look after each other, and not be afraid to approach someone you’re worried about. A lot of people will think “well it’s not my place, I don’t know them that well, surely someone else is a better person for the job. They probably wouldn’t want to talk to me about how they’re going, what good can I do?” Honestly? A hell of a lot.

Feeling like you belong, feeling connected and supported is half the battle won in many mental health issues. And simple, day to day things, like listening and being inclusive and noticing when someone isn’t quite themselves. And when you do notice that something is up, not being afraid to genuinely ask the person you’re worried about if they’re ok. They might not have even really realised how not ok they were until someone pulls them aside, sits them down, and expresses concern.

It’s much more than just laughing as you ask your friends if they’re ok while you’re digging in to whatever morning tea or BBQ your uni/school/workplace has put on for the event. It’s more than just going through the motions, and it’s definitely more than just one day a year. It’s taking on the responsibility of finding out if someone is need of help, and being ready to support them in getting that help. So it’s understandable that you might not feel ready to do that for someone you don’t know very well, but you can very easily bring it to the attention of someone who is better suited to approach the person.

If we can foster this idea of “togetherness”, foster a culture of caring about each other day to day, foster the idea that mental health isn’t taboo and we CAN talk about it, slowly with time it’ll become easier. Easier to ask for help, easier to recognise when someone might need help, and we might not even need events like R U OK? Day, because it won’t be a novelty anymore. It’ll be a habit.

Keeping Mental Health a Priority

Mental Health, Tips and Advice

As we head towards the pointy end of the year, mental health tends to drop down our priority lists, when really it’s most important around this time!!

Here are some ways to keep aware and keep on top of it all, with some of the support services available around Monash Uni, and an online module, “Changing Minds”, which is basically a one-hour mini Mental Health First Aid-like set up!

Check it out:

http://moodle.vle.monash.edu/course/view.php?id=26428

 

The Little Things

Food For Thought, Mental Health, Tips and Advice

You’ve just come back home from a full day of lectures and you’re dead tired. No one else seems to have noticed though – you’ve become quite good at putting up that mask. Exams are a few weeks away and you need to study, but there’s also that assignment you need to finish by the weekend. But hang on, your colleague on one of the committees you volunteer for has just asked you to do a job for them because they can’t anymore. Arghhhhh!!

Sound familiar? There’s no doubt that life as a medical student can be stressful. We’ve all been though it – travelling to and from uni/placements, doing assignments, studying for exams, keeping up with part-time jobs, not to mention the endless extracurricular activities medical students also seem to participate in.

So it’s inevitable that there will be times where everything will be a bit too much, where everything and everyone will seem to be conspiring against you. And that’s when the cracks that you’ve kept so well hidden may start showing, to the point where it can start affecting you and in turn, others as well.

So how do we stop those cracks in their tracks? Or perhaps not even allow the cracks to appear in the first place?

 

1) Step back for a moment

Take a deep breath and remove yourself from the situation for just a minute. It can be easy to vent your anger and frustration on others, but clearly, there is a reason why your committee colleague (or whoever it might be in your case) is acting the way they are. And very often it’s a good reason – they may well be in a very similar position to the one you’re in.

Taking the time to step back for a second and consider the issue from someone else’s point of view can be hard, but is so important in coming to terms with why things have turned out the way they have. You may also find the reflection to have a calming effect, allowing you to refocus and let rationality take its course.

 

2) Communicate

Now that you’re in a better frame of mind, you can go about ameliorating the situation, and it all starts with the simplest of actions – a conversation. If the issue is over a group member not doing their task in an assignment, talk to that member. If you want to just let things out, talk to a friend, family member, or anyone you can trust.

Yes, it can be incredibly difficult to speak up about your problems when everyone seems to be sailing so smoothly. Keyword there is ‘seems’ – the medical student is a very peculiar breed, and though they maintain a brave face, I can assure you that EVERYONE knows what it’s like to struggle.

This false bravado and the stigma attached to showing vulnerability in the medical profession is certainly something we must improve in order to promote a more supportive student culture, one where there doesn’t have to be an onus on a struggling individual to find the help they need all on their own.

However, the fact remains that keeping your struggles to yourself is just like putting yourself in a pressure cooker. Eventually it’ll get to a stage where it all just boils over and no one wants that to happen. So, I implore you to talk to somebody, anybody. Because there will ALWAYS be someone to listen.

 

3) Put things in perspective

Your problems are important and they are real. But in the end, understanding that whatever happens there’s still going to be a tomorrow and that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel can help appease those negative thoughts racing through your mind. For some, it’s easier said than done, and if you find that you can’t see that light no matter how hard your try, then you must seek appropriate help.

As soon-to-be doctors, we’re going to be responsible for the lives of patients whilst also juggling many other roles. It sounds scary, but by employing these simple actions, you’ll hopefully be able to avoid some sticky situations and instead create positive experiences and relationships. Because even the little things can go a long way.

Stress Less Salad

Recipes and Food, Uncategorized

The start of semester two is always a little tough. The summer holidays are depressingly far away, but at the same time, those end-of-year exams are way too close for comfort. Maybe you’ve just started university this year and you’re still navigating the transition, or maybe the thought of 10-hour lecture days after mid-year break is filling you with dread. Maybe you’ve just moved out of home, and into the scary and perplexing world of cooking and laundry and rent.

Never fear – whatever it is that’s giving you grief, this scientifically proven* stress-less salad is sure to calm and re-focus your mind and body. You might also learn a thing or two about neurotransmitters.

*based on this article (link: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20909426_2,00.html) that I read online yesterday, and also the fact that I ate this salad for lunch and I feel really good right now.

 

Ingredients

  1. Two handfuls of baby spinach

Any green leafy vegetables contain folate, which makes dopamine, a pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter. Leafy greens also contain magnesium, which has a role in regulating emotions.

  1. A small handful of blueberries

Slightly expensive for a broke med student, but packed full of antioxidants and also delicious, so treat yourself a little! You can also use dried blueberries (or cranberries) – they’re sweeter and last longer in your pantry.

  1. Half a can of mixed beans

High-protein foods such as beans contain tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin, another neurotransmitter that regulates hunger and feelings of happiness and well-being. Beans are also great for your cardiovascular health, and are an excellent source of slow-release energy.

  1. Some crushed pistachios

You only need to buy a few of these from the bulk foods section of the supermarket. Pistachios are thought to reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Take them out of their shells, wrap them in some glad wrap or a tea towel and beat them with a moderately heavy object to crush (this act in itself can be stress-relieving). Alternatively, you can use any other nut or seed.

  1. Quarter of an avocado

The good fats will satisfy your lunchtime hunger and conjure up comforting memories of holiday brunches.

  1. Dressing

You can easily whip up a vinaigrette dressing by putting 2 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar in a bowl, plus some salt and pepper. Beat vigorously to combine (or use a salad shaker if you’re fancy).

 

Method

Toss everything together in a big bowl. Put the avocado in last so it doesn’t become squashed and coat everything in an unappetising green-brown goop.
That’s it! Enjoy!