Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hospital Allocation

Today we received our allocations to the hospital that we'll be learning at for the rest of our courses after this year. I wanted to be at a major metropolitan hospital but before even entering the course I didn't get that luxury. I was down to a choice between two hospitals, and I preferenced one over the other because I really only liked one of them, the other one seemed like a bit of a dump...anyway, so of course I've been allocated to the hospital that I didn't really want. Hooray, right? Ah, me. I just can't shake the idea that not being at a major hospital is going to affect my internship chances somehow, and by extension my ability to get into whatever training course I want later (I say that rather than 'my ability to get into neurosurgery', as a hat tip to the fact that I will probably change my mind in the future -- everyone does, multiple times). If I'm going back to Perth after my MD course then I guess it doesn't matter as much...but what if I don't go back to Perth? There's actually a lot of unknown in my future at the moment.

They only let you change clinical schools in very specific circumstances, and I don't meet any of those circumstances, but just in case I sent them an email tonight saying that if anyone happens to want to move out of the school that I wanted, and has to move to the one I'm to go to at the moment, then I really wouldn't mind being someone they think of to swap with that person. I guess that's the best I can do!

Having said all of this, I know that I am still going to get a good education. I'm still going to go to my hospital and get as involved as I can without annoying everyone. I guess I was just hoping to get involved in that 'big hospital' feel, with all the important consultants and surgeons (I'm thinking neurosurgeons of course) around. Not that they'd have any time for me, but still. Also, the facilities at the metro hospitals are a bit nicer.


Monday, 13 May 2013

GP Visit!

I've got my first ever visit to a GP tomorrow, and it's 1am and I should really get to sleep because it's at 9am tomorrow (today?). I'm super excited! A lot of my friends have already been on their GP visit and they report various amounts of involvement -- some have just been sat in the corner, but some have been able to even take blood! I hope my GP is really willing to let me get involved, because I will absolutely do anything he's comfortable with me doing. I'd be a bit stressed out about doing an interview, but like last time I'm sure that once I'm doing the interview I'd be ok. I mean I've practiced on people before, so it shouldn't be too bad to take that and do it with a real patient.

Next year I'm going to actually go to a GP every friday I think, which I wasn't so sure about initially but now that I think about it I think it's going to be really good. It will not only let me get integrated with a community, and see patients come back time and time again, but it'll give me really practical skills and great patient contact. In some way though...I have a small voice at the back of my head that's saying that I hope it doesn't convince me to be a GP. I will keep an open mind though, because if seeing a GP work really gets me excited, then why not be a GP.

Exciting times in my world! Wish me luck!


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Contracts For Difference


A long time ago I used to not be into medicine at all, and was in fact well and truly obsessed with contracts for difference (CFDs). Why were you so obsessed with them, I hear you ask? Well, it's pretty simple. Basically, trading a CFD is the same as trading a share, except for the same change in price in the underlying security you make either a much greater loss or a much higher profit. For example, the other day I was trading USD/AUD with a leverage of about 99.75%. Normal share trading you can think of, for the purposes of comparison, as a CFD with a leverage of 0%. What you get is what you can pay for. With the CFD I was trading the other day, I was only having to come up with 0.25% of the total value of the goods I was trading. Now when something increases in price by $2, if you buy at the bottom price and sell at the top price you only get $2 for every share you were able to buy. If I was to buy that without using CFDs, I might only be able to buy a few hundred of those shares because my money isn't being leveraged. However, if I was to buy with a CFD I could leverage my money and have the buying power of say $10000, without actually having anywhere near that amount. Now I can buy many more than a few hundred of those shares, and so even though the price difference is still just $2 I am now making a much grander profit. 

The downside to this of course is that if it had gone down $2, I could have just put my family into bankruptcy (quite literally -- leverage can be extremely powerful in CFDs, such as my 99.75% example above). At the moment I use extremely tight stop losses (automatic levels that you set where, if the share trades at that value, it automatically sells them for you, to 'stop' your 'loss' hence the name) and I only trade in small amounts. However, it's still easy to see how powerful these things are: I think I traded 2 units of gold, which I needed to put I think $6 on the line for (that's instead of having to put out about $3000 to have 2 ounces of gold...). The share price went the way I thought it would, and I took a profit pretty quickly, and the profit ended up being $10. That's $10 above my $6, so by the end I had $16 on top of my reserve cash. Now, you're probably thinking 'so what, that's $10, who cares!' but think about this: that ends up being a 167% profit. Now, change my $6 into $6000, and all of a sudden out of that small price movement I've made a clear $10000. $6000 usually would only have bought me about 4 ounces of gold if I had no leverage, so my profit would have only been about $20 ($5 per ounce, because before I owned 2 ounces and made $10). You can clearly see that a $20 profit after putting $6000 on the line is not quite as good as a $10000 profit for putting the same amount of money on the line.

So, if there's so much profit to be made out there by the calm and logical investor, why didn't I go into it! Well, I read a very wise share trader once say that to be a day trader you can't do it on the side -- it has to replace a job. It takes a lot of time to watch the markets, and be in a position of knowledge about the share price, rather than guessing where you think it's going to go. At the time when I was thinking about going into CFDs in a big way, I just couldn't see myself sitting at a computer all day as being much fun. And if it really did happen in a big way for me, if I retired in a couple of years with a billion dollars in my pocket (my dreams were big, ok) then what? There's only so much you can sit on a beach sipping cocktails! At that time as well I was getting veeeery interested in medicine, so I decided that I would give medicine a go and see where it takes me. Of course my attitude to medicine is now very different -- even if I could be guaranteed of billions in CFDs I wouldn't stop pursuing medicine -- and I'm very glad that I decided to not go into CFDs.

As mentioned though, I have been doing the odd trade here and there recently, and as long as I don't put much money into it it could be just a nice distraction. I intend to set up a trade in the morning, and not touching it again until the evening, seeing what happened with it and learning about what went wrong for about 5 minutes. If it could be a nice little earner on the side as I go through these next years then that would be pretty nice!


Friday, 10 May 2013



Long time no speaketh! I've been extremely busy just recently, not that that really surprised me. Ahh we have done so much, and in such a short period of time.

The lectures continue to come thick and fast. My OneNote system is working fantastically for me, allowing me to organise all of my notes and include helpful diagrams as well. OneNote doesn't do much tracking of the notes you write but you can export it as a PDF, then import that PDF into Word...anyway, so right now I have about 65000 words of notes, over more than 300 pages! We look at each other and wonder how on Earth we're going to study all of that for the final end of year exams, where everything that we've learnt in the year will be assessed. It's going to be intense I'm sure.

Speaking of assessment, I had one of those recently! It was our first one. Below is the very nice bell curve of results:

Guess where I was! Right smack bang on top of that curve. I got basically the average mark, which is far, far from where I want to be unfortunately. So it's time to knuckle down and get my groove on! The test was on only lecture content that we did between the start of the year and the day of that test, but we have a test coming up in I think about 4 weeks that will assess the lectures we've had since, PLUS the content of the labs from the whole year thus far! I have a few friends that are second year med students here, and they say that everyone sort of does ok in the first test, and then gets demolished in the second test. I intend to not be one of those people that gets demolished :P Things will be better for the next test!

Some exciting news! The QS World University Rankings just released their 2012/13 lists, and Medicine at the University of Melbourne is number 9 in the world! We're basically only behind big names like John Hopkins, Oxford, Harvard etc! That blew my mind, and I think I have told everyone I can about it. I am so proud to be here, and hope my cohort can be the one to take us higher!

We have been doing some pretty interesting things here recently. In our Principles of Clinical Practice subjects we sometimes get patients to come in so that we can practice interviewing them, in a fishbowl format so that the other people in the class sit there and watch you, so that you can get feedback on your interviewing afterwards. I did mine last week, and I stressed about it a lot beforehand. When he introduced himself he said he had shortness of breath, and that's fine, but then he said he also had a smoker's cough...well, basically I had to interview him not just about his shortness of breath, but his cough too, AND his smoking habits haha. It actually went extremely well though! The patient, when the interview was finished, basically as soon as our tutor asked him to give feedback he pretty much exploded with praise, he was so animated and it seemed like he was extremely impressed! He said that he felt extremely comfortable with my interview style, that there was a great flow and he felt like I had really given him a lot of sympathy and listened to what he had to say. I was stoked with that!! Then other people in the group were able to give me feedback, and it was all much the same. I was pretty happy with that!

I think the last time I posted I was still doing cardiovascular medicine? Well, we're actually up to gastrointestinal medicine now, having completed respiratory already. Basically, everything we do seems to revolve around diarrhoea. We have seen some not so pretty pictures, let me tell you that...the worst have been pictures of parasitic worms. My god. And someone had the idea of eating parasites so that they would eat all the extra food that we eat that we don't need, to stave off thanks.

College is going great too. I probably aren't leaving my room as much as I should though, because it's so easy to stay in my room! The meals here seem to have become stuck in a rut of not being all that great...having said that, there was a curry tonight that was pretty good! They have a fondness for soggy brown rice, which is disgusting.

That's probably a big enough post now, I'll post again soon when I think of something interesting.