As first-year medical students, we founded PalMD. It is a student organization dedicated to providing skills and knowledge to students on palliative and end-of-life care, regardless of desired specialty. We host lectures, interactive workshops, and events dedicated to wellness on the wards.
We each came to medical school with different reasons for our interest in palliative care. We had shadowed palliative care teams, conducted palliative care research, worked in hospice, and watched the suffering of family members eased by excellent palliative care teams. We had all seen the importance of clear, supportive communication in times of calm and crisis.
We were lucky to attend Michigan Medical School, where students are given every opportunity to pursue and explore passions, even by forming a new student group! So, as newly minted M1s, we put our heads (and passion!) together, and with the help of palliative care physician, Dr. Laura Taylor, formed PalMD.
Among our different types of events, our group hosts workshops to help empower students to cope with difficult encounters on and off the wards. Our recent event was a session focused on debriefing difficult conversations on the wards. The students at the meeting shared tough stories, and Dr. Taylor helped us work through these interactions. We left the session with clear heads and the tools to debrief future interactions.
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Netana Markovitz is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. Originally from the Boston area, she is applying into internal medicine. She can be found on Twitter at @NetanaMarkovitz.
Rebecca Howland is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is passionate about health policy and is applying into Urology this fall. She can be found on Twitter at @rjhowland.
Cassidy Merklen is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. She will be applying into emergency medicine and emergency medicine/internal medicine programs this fall. She is passionate about dual-training, critical care, ethics, and MedED. She can be found on Twitter at @MerklenCassidy.