June 25, 2015
|RUSM clinical student Marc Katz recently had a post from his blog, MyKittyKatz, featured on KevinMD.|
The first time Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Marc Katz submitted a piece of his writing to KevinMD.com—a popular, influential healthcare blog run by New Hampshire-based internal medicine physician Kevin Pho —he didn’t think much of it.
That was back in 2012. At the time, Katz’s blog—which he describes now as half motivational, half “things I wish I had known before I went to medical school”—was still in its infancy. In his first entry, written just days before his flight to the RUSM campus, Katz covers some of the anxieties he felt as the first day of medical school approached—anxieties that he thought would resonate with other prospective students.
He closed out that first post with some words of encouragement. “I had to take the MCAT twice, and applied to 28 medical schools, but all it took was one acceptance to make it all worthwhile,” he wrote. “If you have explored medicine and decided that it is the path for you, don’t let anyone discourage you from it. Own it and do whatever it takes to succeed. It is what I intend to do starting on my first day of class down in Dominica.”
The day after he submitted that blog post to KevinMD.com, he was surprised to see he had already gotten an email back saying his story was accepted.
His initial thought? “Well…I guess people are going to see this now,” he laughs.
Years later, Katz is still blogging, and his work is still getting recognized. In fact, one of Katz’s recent pieces—titled “Doctors: Now is the time to develop your style with patients” —just appeared on KevinMD on June 11 of this year.
His Blog’s Mission: To Motivate Other Medical School Students
To Katz, it’s far too easy for med school students, especially those attending international or Caribbean medical schools, to get discouraged before they even get started on becoming physicians. Part of the reason that Katz’s blog exists is to help other students shake off that discouragement.
“There are going to be tons of people when you apply to medical school or for residency who say that you shouldn’t do this because the industry’s changing, or that you just aren’t good enough,” Katz says. “I want to be one more person, on their side, to say that you are smart enough. That you can do this.”
For med students who need motivation, for doctors to guide their students, and for patients to know we care https://t.co/nBNRVAk31E— Marc N. Katz (@MarcKittyKatz) June 11, 2015
That theme—the idea that for every person who tries to discourage someone from fulfilling their dream, there’s another person willing to offer encouragement—is something that really resonates with Katz, given the circumstances behind how he ultimately enrolled at RUSM.
“When I started applying to medical school, my philosophy going into it was that it only takes one yes for all of the nos to not matter,” he says. “I just needed one acceptance, and that acceptance was Ross. They gave me the opportunity that those other schools did not. They gave me the possibility of becoming a doctor.”
In addition to motivational entries, Katz’s blog covers tips and helpful practices for current and prospective medical school students—posts like “The Medical Student’s Guide to Clinical Rotations” or a story about Katz’s three favorite study aids for the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE).
|RUSM clinical student Marc Katz (above, right, pictured with fellow student Roshan Asrani) recently had his writing featured on KevinMD.com, a popular physician-run blog.
Leveraging His Blog for Practice
It wasn’t until people—mainly students from RUSM and other Caribbean medical schools—started coming up to him and saying “Wait, you’re Marc Katz? I’ve read your writing!” that he really understood what a big deal it was that his post landed on KevinMD.
“What’s really amazing about being posted on Kevin’s blog is the reach,” says Katz, who is undergoing his core rotations at New York Methodist Hospital. “Doctors who’ve been practicing for years. Residents. Nurses. Physicians’ assistants. I’ve had all of these people, from all walks of life in healthcare, writing back and saying thanks, I needed this motivation today. Or keep it up.”
Though Katz would like to publish a book at some point in his life (“maybe after residency,” he laughs—Katz is still in the middle of his clinical rotations, currently at New York Methodist Hospital), he’s busy thinking about how he can use his blog once he completes his clinical rotations, earns his medical degree, and enters residency.
“Being a fan of technology, I love the idea that I can potentially blog as a resident, or as a practicing physician,” he says. And he already has some ideas. For example, what if he was able to point one of his patients to his blog for supplemental medical advice?
“I always say When I’m a doctor, I’m going to strive to explain everything to my patients,” he says. “So if one of my future patients wants more information—on ways to get their weight under control, ways to control your glycemic index, whatever it may be—I could point them to my blog, where they’d get some additive content to help them maintain their health.”
|Marc Katz (above, right, along with fellow student Mahir Maruf) is currently in his third year of clinicals. Right now, he's rotating at New York Methodist Hospital.
Keeping an Eye on the Prize: Residency in the US
Katz’s blog, coupled with his clinical rotations in New York, certainly keeps him busy.
“I feel like, every day during clinicals, I become slightly less useless,” he jokes. “When I first started my family medicine rotation, I was loaded up with all of this information for USMLE Step 1. Then you start ro tations, the doctor looks at you and says ‘Okay, this guy has asthma. How are you going to treat him?’ That’s a very basic question, one that any fourth-year student could readily answer…but as a fresh third year med student just starting clinical rotations it’s overwhelming because you know so much and yet you still know so little.”
Like Kevin Pho, Katz plans to practice internal medicine—an area that would allow him to study and treat a wide variety of diseases. “Internal medicine is an exciting specialty in and of itself,” he says. “You get to treat and learn and see everything—from cardiology to pulmonology, from nephrology to gastroenterology. You get to do everything.” He’s angling to stay in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, where he has family.
For prospective med school students considering RUSM, Katz has one more piece of advice.
“Much like the actual practice of medicine, you have to take it upon yourself to go out and learn some things on your own,” he says. “But if you’re ready to be a doctor, and you want to start medical school right now—apply.”
Read More of Marc's Writing on His Blog
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