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Comment: Another doctor's perspective (Score 3, Insightful) 279

by jncook (#45320635) Attached to: Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students

O-chem is useless for practicing physicians. Took it, did OK at it, passed the required tests in undergrad and early med school, never used it again. Licensing boards understand this; there is no organic chemistry on the final board examinations for Internal Medicine.

In fact, thinking you understand low-level chemistry and biology can be dangerous for a practicing physician. For example, beta-blocker blood pressure medicines slow your heart rate and make your heart "squeeze" less strongly. We were initially taught that you should never give them to patients with heart failure -- their hearts didn't beat strongly to begin with. Given a basic understanding of the underlying biology withholding the medication made sense. Until someone studied them and found that for patients with mild heart failure beta-blockers reduced hospitalizations and death. And we had been withholding them for years. Whoops.

You don't want your doctor prescribing things based on their understanding of biology. You want them prescribing on the basis of clinical trial data and statistics.

Comment: Perspective from a younger MD (Score 1) 303

by jncook (#40216733) Attached to: The Real-Life Doogie Howser

I'm one of those young-ish MD degree people. High school grad age 17, BA computer science age 18, MS computer science age 19, MD age 23. Medical school was rough. Everybody else in my class had so much more life experience to draw on, which gives you better perspective about aging, disease, family issues and the like. Also, it was hard at age 19 to relate personally to my classmates who were married, had kids, etc. -- or the patients who might be four times my age. I learned how to do it, and got reasonably good at it, but it was hard.

In the end, I gave up clinical practice and went back into computer science. +1 to the poster who said "insert-name-of-faceless-corporation". I work at Google now. There are lots of smart people here. :-)

Comment: Re:from the department of duh (Score 1) 473

by jncook (#38254984) Attached to: Half Life of a Tech Worker: 15 Years

Google in particular sucks for more experienced workers...

There are definitely companies out there though that have a place for the second 20 years of your career.... Do you have drector and VP-equivalent tech paygrades? Do you have a fellowship?

You mean like Google? It has a tech-only non-management career ladder all the way up to VP-equivalent. It may not be perfect, but it seems to keep people like Vint Cerf around.

I think the reason you don't see that many 50 and 60 year old workers in the tech industry is that at the time they were in college (70s and early 80s) there weren't nearly as many people in computer-related fields as came later. Sure, there may be age discrimination, but there's also demographics going on here.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"