Category: Postgraduate Medical Training

Transfusion Medicine Questions

I recently came across a beautiful website: Pathology Questions. Questions are offered in 2 areas: transfusion medicine and medical microbiology. Once you join the website, you will start receiving a daily email containing the link to the question of the day. The TM questions cover different areas in the field and are of great quality.

Highly recommended.


And more interview tips

Since the interview season is here again, here are a few more interview tips:

  • Enter the interview room believing that you are to be chosen. The interview is your opportunity to know the people whom you will work with.
  • Smile and be pleasant.
  • Don’t offer to shake hands unless they the person interviewing you offers his/her hand first.
  • Sit only when you are asked to do so. Ask where to sit if there is more that one chair. Do not assume which chair is yours. Wait for them to sit first.
  • Sit confidently with a straight back. Don’t cross your legs.
  • If a drink is offered apologize politely. You don’t want the tremor to be noticed!
  • Answer the questions clearly.
  • It is ok if you couldn’t understand or hear the question. Just ask politely for the question to be repeated or to be explained more.
  • Your aim from the interview is to look smart, friendly,  hard working and enthusiastic about the program. Being a social person is very important to emphasize because it is very important for the program to get residents who are easy to work with.
  • Eye contact: very important. Work on it. It is not like daily life where it is ok to keep the eye contact >50% of the time. You should keep it 100% of the time, even when you are thinking. Practice that because it is not easy.
  • What to do if your answer is not ready: keep smiling, keep the eye contact, take your time and give a diplomatic answer slowly and clearly.
  • Always introduce yourself by your first name

You have to make a list of all the possible questions and answer them all, completely, before the interview. I’m trying to provide most of the questions that I know about here:

Tell us about yourself.

Why did you choose this program?

Enthusiastically elaborate the strong points in the program. Their web site will be of great help. Also say the good things about the city. If you have a family in the same place, mention it.

Why did you choose this specialty?

Why should we choose you? Or what will you add to this program?

How do you see your self in 5, 10, 15 years?

How will you cope with being away from your country for a long time?

What do you do in your free time?

Prepare 2-3 detailed stories about:

-A patient (case) that you learned something from.

-An error that you made, how did you deal with the blame and what did you learn from it all.

Be ready to answer some ethics questions: for example about patient confidentiality and information disclosure. Make sure to read a little about that before the interview.

Be prepared to answer some simple clinical knowledge questions: mainly emergencies. Not all interviewers ask that sort of question, but some do.

Make sure that you can talk about EVERYTHING mentioned in your CV or personal statement.

You might be asked about attitude toward your colleagues as clinical scenarios, for example a team which is not going along properly, a colleague who is not doing his job. Give brief answers emphasizing the following, in your own style and words: counseling and discussion, or a simple chat. Offering help and asking for help if you yourself need some. You might want to give vague life principles to illustrate your point of view.

What aspects of your personality would you like to improve? (or tell us about your weak points?)

The safest answer is a one that answers with a strong point made to look as a weak one.

Ask questions:

This is so important. Ask smart ones. However, make sure to avoid any questions that might show you as somebody who wants to relax and not a hard worker. Questions to avoid include questions about the frequency of on-call duties, average patient/resident load, pass rate…etc. These questions should only be asked to your close friends, but not to anybody in the interview panel or the resident who is taking you in a tour around the hospital.

You might want to mention that you checked the web site of the program and would like to get more information about something in particular. This leaves a good impression.

Suggested things to ask about:

  • Are research opportunities available? Is there a protected time for research?
  • Does the program arrange any social events for the residents?
  • Is there any meeting that is held within the coming few days that I can attend? E.g Academic half-day. If you already know about a specific meeting from the website or from another resident mention that you would like to attend that specific meeting. But one small warning: if you said you’ll attend, then you have to attend, whatever it takes. So make sure it fits your travel plans.

After the interview:

  • Send thank you letters by email to all the people who interviewed you, within 24 hours. Mention your thanks for the interviewer and your enthusiasm for joining the program. If you are sending thank you letters to more than one person then make them different.
  • When you receive the offer letter,  send a thank you to the secretary informing her about receiving it. Make sure to note the deadline for you accepting/declining the offer. Make sure to take your time to think but not to miss the deadline.

Good luck everyone.

The Art of Pimping

Pimping, in the medical field, can be defined as:

Doc Gurley Med Slang Dictionary: pimping; (def.) verb, as in to pimp; was pimped; got pimped; will be pimped. Used in a sentence “Dang. I can’t believe how badly I got pimped this morning on rounds.”

Being pimped means to be asked serial questions, kind of like being tortured by a 3 year-old who keeps saying “but why?” Except, unlike with the 3-year-old, the person doing the asking is your clinical supervisor. And the goal is to keep asking until you can’t answer. In other words, the goal is, basically, humiliation.

From Doc Gurley’s Blog

Every medical student or resident faced this. Some believe it is a vital part of the medical education system! This is a nice and funny article that was published in JAMA in 1989 about pimping…a light enjoyable read. It is a must for medical students, residents and new attendings 🙂

More CV/Interview Tips

The residency program interview season is not over yet.

What I can see from what is happening in my program, is that the situation is becoming more and more competitive for us, the visa sponsored residents, as they call the trainees from GCC countries.

If you are applying for a residency position in a foreign country, specially north America, then you should really pay some extra effort.

Look at your CV: apart from being well written and organized, is it similar to the CV of every other medical student in your class?

Try to be different. I’m not talking about the colors or the organization of the CV. It should be black and standardized. I’m talking about being different in the content.

Here are few examples:

  • Volunteer activities: Have you shared in campaign to increase the awareness of breast cancer in your community? Are you a member in Zmzm Charity? Have you arranged a lecture for your aunts and cousins to discuss healthier eating habits/healthy ways for weight loss/importance of exercise? These all worth mentioning.
  • Hobbies: Are you a published/professional writer? Do you ski or dive? Do you enjoy traveling to unusual places? Mention these hobbies and be ready to talk about them if required.
  • Research: This is usually blank in our CVs as we graduate from medical school. Try to work on something during internship or 6th year. The easiest thing might be a case report. Don’t forget the work you performed in your community/epidemiology rotation.
  • Conferences/Symposiums: instead of listing all the conferences you attended, try to present in a conference. A poster presentation might be a good way to start. A nice conference to start with is the International Conference for Medical Students in GCC Countries, held this time in Al-Ain.

Share your thoughts and let us know if you have any other ideas to make a CV more interesting.

لا تخف فهناك من سبقك

هذا موسم التقديم للزمالة الطبية في الخارج

فحسب موقع الملحقية الثقافية السعودية في كندا فإن آخر موعد لتقديم طلبات القبول هو منتصف شهر أغسطس

أتذكر بوضوح كيف كان شعوري عندما قدمت طلبي

كنت أتمنى أن يقبل من أي جامعة

و كان هذا دعائي في كل صلاة

و عندما وصلني العرض الأول في البريد الالكتروني، لم تسعني الفرحة

وصلني أكثر من عرض بعد ذلك

و لكن يا للمفارقة كان حظي مع أصحاب العرض الأول…و أنا معهم الآن


الشعور العجيب هو ما أحسست به بعد المقابلة الشخصية

و عند القبول النهائي

كان شعورا بأنني خطوت خطوة لا عودة فيها

و عندئذ تمنيت لو أنني لم أقدم على هذه الخطوة أصلا

و قضيت الشهور التي تلت القبول و سبقت السفر في مشاعر غريبة جدا


الشعور العجيب بالرغبة في العودة و عدم التقدم شعور شائع بعد القبول النهائي

مرت به كل صديقاتي اللاتي سافرن بعدي

فلا تستغرب إن أصابك

فهو سيزول تماما بإذن الله بعد البدء في العمل و التدريب

و لا تفعل كما فعل بعض أبناء و بنات بلادنا

الذين غلبهم الخوف فتراجعوا عن قرار البعثة كلية بعد توقيع العقود أو إعطاء المواثيق

و للأسف ساهموا في تشكيل صورة سيئة عن المبتعثين السعوديين

و هذا غالبا يؤثر سلبا على المتقدمين السعوديين من بعدهم

Rational Clinical Examination

You are in the emergency room and a 53 years old gentleman presents with a 3-day history of fever and headache. You think that you should role out meningitis. You perform your physical examination including looking for meningeal signs. Youe examination is negative. Can you role out meningitis for sure and not think about performing a lumbar puncture?


Saudi medical schools do a very good job in teaching clinical examination. Our clinical exams were very serious (and sometimes felt like life-or-death events!). I believe we were taught good skills in King AbdulAziz University.

What I’m writing about here is something that we were never taught though. I heard about this term for the first time after I started my residency program in University of British Columbia.

The term refers to a series of articles that are being published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) since May 20,1992 until now. The editorial when the first article in the series appeared described as follows:

The articles look into a variety of clinical problems ranging from assessment of patient with suspected migraine to ventilator-associated pneumonia. In addition to being very valuable in day to day practice, the language of these articles has been the standard language when speaking about physical examination in the Canadian medical institutes.

In order to view the articles you will need a subscription. Most of the university libraries offer subscriptions as well. You just need to ask. KAAU might offer that as well.

If you prefer to read from a book then just wait for this book to be released.