“No joke, I’ve got about a thousand Ankis to do before the exam.”
Anki is a digital flashcard app, popular amongst medical students for memorising content. Anki works on desktop and mobile devices, online and offline, and has a highly customisable interface. The desktop version of Anki is free to download, and there are lots of YouTube videos and articles online which can help you set it up! Each day Anki presents “due” cards for review based on a spaced repetition algorithm. Warning: a love-hate relationship may develop when attempting to use for last minute cramming.
Differential (Differential Diagnosis, Dx)
“What’s your differential for a 65-year-old with shortness of breath for the last 2 months?”
A differential diagnosis is a list of potential diagnoses for a particular patient presentation. For example, there are a huge number of causes for a cough, which may include infection, asthma or even reflux! It’s your job to use clinical reasoning to rank and narrow this list based on the information you gather in the patient history, as well as from examinations and investigations. Make sure to include common diagnoses, as well as diagnoses that should not be missed.
“That patient has the longest history I’ve ever seen!”
A medical history is a record of a patient’s health, both currently and previously. Taking a history is a skill you will develop throughout medical school, and involves asking the patient about what has brought them in (the presenting complaint), as well as other details including their past medical and surgical history, family history, medications, allergies, vaccinations and lifestyle. It may be appropriate to take a complete medical history, or one more focused on information relevant to the presenting complaint, depending on the clinical context. Your uni will teach you how to structure this and you will get plenty of chances to practise, so no need to worry!
“I’ve got a busy week, do you think the reading is high yield?”
A term beloved by medical students with too much on their plates, “High Yield” refers to educational materials that are perceived to be particularly useful or examinable. The benefits gained from high yield resources should be greater than the time taken to go through them. High Yield resources are commonly shared between medical students and are always gratefully received.
“How is your OSCE prep going?”
Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are a common form of assessment used in healthcare degrees. OSCEs consist of a series of timed stations, with each station including a scenario and task(s) which test a student’s clinical skills. These clinical skills may include history taking, examinations, communication and procedures. Many of our local GPSN clubs offer skills sessions that can help you prepare for your OSCEs!
“Let’s do a quick paper round before lunch.”
A paper round is where the team discusses the patient’s condition and what needs to be done for them using the paper patient list, rather than at the patient’s bedside.
“That medical YouTuber I follow swears by spaced repetition!”
Spaced repetition is an evidence-based learning approach which involves reviewing and recalling content periodically, with increasing time intervals between each review. Students commonly use flashcards applications like Anki to implement this.
“Are you scrubbing in for the appendectomy this afternoon?”
Scrubbing in occurs before a procedure to reduce the risk of contamination. It involves thoroughly washing your hands and forearms, putting on a sterile surgical gown and gloves, as well as a surgical mask and eye protection if appropriate.
“I should go to bed, I need to be at ward rounds in the morning.”
During ward rounds a medical team visits the patients they are caring for and discusses their progress and management. This usually occurs at the beginning of the day. You won’t need to worry about this until you start your clinical placements!
“Are you going to the GPSN event this weekend?”
The General Practice Student Network (GPSN) supports medical students who are interested in general practice by running social and educational events, facilitating peer support and networking opportunities, and providing relevant information and resources. The network includes clubs at over 20 universities around Australia and was formed by General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA).
By Kathryn Bird
GPSN Promotions and Publications Officer, 2023