It's my M3 and I'll cry if I want to

A few years ago, Oregon Health & Science University Ph.D. candidate Katy Van Hook wrote a blog that struck a nerve. She called it Forget baseball, there is DEFINITELY crying in science.

Van Hook, who has since earned her doctorate, was talking about the fact that she was so stressed out by the life of a student at an academic medical center that she occasionally broke down and bawled in her mentor’s office.

I’ve cried in front of my boss, the director of my graduate program … countless friends, several thesis committee members, and a couple qualifying exam committee members if I’m not mistaken.

It was a brave admission, but the response was cathartic. The comments poured in, saying she was not alone:

first year ohsu grad student here: found myself sobbing alone in the bathroom today after a humiliatingly failed experiment, feeling like my life was unraveling before my eyes – your post really goes a long way to reassure me that maybe I’m still on track after all.

Have you, as a med student or grad student, felt the same way?

Well, chances are, you have, says a study (yes, an actual study!) done by Harvard Medical School, Crying: experiences and attitudes of third-year medical students and interns.

Sixty-nine percent of students and 74 percent of interns self-reported crying for reasons related to medicine. For both, the most common cause was “burnout.” … Seventy-three percent of students and 68 percent of interns thought discussion of physicians’ crying was inadequate.

One of the conclusions was: Trainees want more discussions of crying.

So here we go.

Here’s a blog titled First day in the OR, aka crying in public:

Here’s the confession: I totally cried.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that someone with more seniority than myself (not hard to achieve that level of seniority, by the way) made a mistake, and it was blamed on me.  And the scrub nurse was not happy. Not happy at all.

So I cried. I was so upset – I knew how unfair it was, and I knew it hadn’t been my fault, but still – someone was yelling at me, and telling me I had done something wrong.

Another blog:

In med school… wow, it happened a lot. After exams, before exams, just randomly in the locker room. I remember during my surgery clerkship, we were having a workshop on tying knots, and one student was having trouble with her knots and burst into tears. I still remember what she said: “I don’t even feel that sad. I’m just SO TIRED.”

So, go ahead. Let it out. You aren’t alone. Take advantage of the resources offered by the Counseling and Student Development Center. And share some of your own “crying in science” stories in the comments. We’ll all feel better.

Dr. Mathews, a man for all (sports) seasons

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Monty Mathews, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, is on duty. He’s not wearing a white coat. He’s not wearing scrubs. He’s wearing a baseball cap, emblazoned with a Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks “O.”

The doc is on duty on a soccer sideline, Caniglia Field, on the UNO campus. He stands with trainers, with coaches, with players (the subs), looking out onto the field. On the green faux-grass, Division I college soccer is being played, bodies slamming, tendons straining, lungs screaming. Mastodons vs. Mavs.

In soccer, players often go down, and go down hard.

In soccer, players often go down, and go down hard.

A young boy, wearing a Jr. Mavericks soccer jersey, also was there on the sideline as a special treat. “I didn’t know sports teams had doctors,” the boy said.

As long as Dr. Mathews has anything to say about it, they do.

And he spends a good deal of his free time making sure that they do.

“It’s my passion,” he said. “My hobby.” His real job is here at UNMC, but this is how he spends his weekends and nights.

And thanks to the season we’re in, his volunteer workload is heavy on UNO men’s and women’s basketball and hockey.

But Dr. Mathews is also the team doctor for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team. When they won the pennant, “I was out there when they were squirting the champagne,” Dr. Mathews said.

Dr. Mathews, along with a comprehensive med center team, worked the NORECA continental volleyball championship in Omaha.

Dr. Mathews, along with a comprehensive med center team, worked the NORECA volleyball championship in Omaha.

And when the minor-league football Omaha Nighthawks were in business, he was on their sideline, too.

He’s worked marathons and rodeos. He’s at every Brownell-Talbot football game.

These days, more and more sports teams are entering into partnership relationships with orthopedic clinics, and that makes sense. A good deal of sports medicine is knees and shoulders, ligaments and bones.

But then, a good deal of it isn’t. And it also makes sense to have a good old-fashioned primary care, family medicine doc there, too.

That’s why Dr. Mathews keeps showing up.

For instance, all this talk about concussions? “I feel very comfortable evaluating head injuries,” he said. Not every M.D. does.

He’s undergone special training to become a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC).

Dr. Mathews is not the only practitioner at the med center doing sports medicine. There’s a whole team, headed by athletic trainer Rusty McKune, The Nebraska Medical Center’s sports medicine program coordinator. And providers from UNMC, TNMC and UNMC Physicians have staffed national athletic events in Omaha, like the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the USA Swimming Olympic Trials and the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Continental volleyball championship.

Dr. Mathews works closely with other practitioners, like UNO men's soccer trainer Philip Dennie (in black coat).

Dr. Mathews works closely with other practitioners, like UNO men’s soccer trainer Philip Dennie (in black coat).

They all work together, the way Dr. Mathews works with athletic trainers and orthopedic docs.

The Mavericks have a great training staff, in this case, Phil Dennie. Dennie and his fellow trainers could easily handle 95 percent of what might come up during the game. But that five percent left over?

“I can handle 90 percent of that,” Dr. Mathews said.

Meaning, he could initially evaluate, diagnose and treat nine out of 10 of the injuries the training staff would ask him to look at. Beyond that, he would ask for assistance from emergency personnel or other specialists if athletes needed to be transported to the hospital for central nervous system, spine, major bleeding or complex orthopedic injuries.

Luckily, at the soccer game, none of it comes up.

If you're at a sporting event in Omaha, there's a chance Dr. Mathews is there, too.

If you’re at a sporting event in Omaha, there’s a chance Dr. Mathews is there, too.

But it wasn’t his only appointment of the night. He also was set to be the team doc at the Mavericks’ hockey game down at CenturyLink Center. Would he have to hurry?

Doctors know better than to hurry.

“I’ll have to be efficient about it,” was the way he put it. And he was. After it was over, after the Mavericks had won 4-0, Dr. Mathews double checked with the training staff, to make sure there wasn’t anyone he needed to look at. Then he did the same with the visiting team. And then he was gone. Off to his next sideline. Off to make sure another sports team had a doctor in the house.

B&F is going to pump(kin) you up!

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Look at the Jack-o-lantern above. Spooky and brand-compliant! The world’s scariest walrus.

We bring you this picture, and others, because Business and Finance recently held a pumpkin-carving contest. No, scratch that. Business and Finance held a PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST. This was not your average Halloween contest. This wasn’t just a zigzag smile in an orange gourd. These people really went all-out.

Consider a few of the contenders …

Imagine you thought you'd entered a pumpkin-carving contest, and found out you were going up against THIS.

Imagine you thought you’d entered a pumpkin-carving contest, and found out you were going up against THIS. That’s not a pumpkin carving, that’s performance art. Now, look at this one:

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Your call is important to us.

pumpkin yoga cats

Cats doing yoga. Yes — cats doing yoga. Now you know this contest just got serious.

How about this one — any Michael Keaton-themed pumpkin is OK with me:

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If only there had been a “Night Shift” pumpkin.

Hold on, it’s getting a little spooky. I think I’ll call security.


Or maybe this is a job for a true superhero — Pumpkin Kenny Bell.

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Apparently Pumpkin Kenny prefers a 2 p.m. kickoff.

And these are just a few of the crazy-good pumpkins created by the good folks at Business and Finance. There were many more.

So, who won? Well, Cassandra Recek from Facilities Management and Planning won the “individual” title for this one, below (in addition to the raven, there were some cool bats on the back):

pumpkin raven

And, as you can tell below, the “group” winner was a true group effort. It seems the whole team from fifth floor, Business Services, made an appearance (click on the photo for a larger version):

BF Floor 5 Pumkin

Have a spooky night. Happy Halloween!