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Feb 20, 2008


Today I had a final exam for my History and Physical class. The final was for the small group section of the class, the part where we have been set loose into the hospital to talk to real, live patients and practice our skills on these generous people and their bodies. I have really enjoyed this part of the class, even though it has been time-consuming and frustrating, it has been among the best of my experiences in med school. Every week, I would rather dread going to beg a nurse to direct me to a nice, friendly, not-dying patient that I could sit and bother for a while. I hated doing that to the patients, since I would, in no way, be a part of their care. I never did get to the point where I could wake a patient who was sleeping or make a patient get out of bed and demonstrate their gait for me when they were cold and tired, but overall I got better about being more assertive and less self-deprecating about the whole experience.

The final itself consisted of going with my preceptor to do an H&P on a patient that my preceptor already knew and had chosen in advance. Seriously, that is scary. I wasn't too nervous about it, since there wasn't a lot I could do to prepare for it, but it still provided a good amount of underlying stress for the last week or so. I knocked on my preceptor's door and off we went to see the patient. I was told nothing about the patient, except that she had a complicated past medical history and to try not to get too bogged down in that. Instead, focus on what had brought her here to the hospital this time.

My patient was such a lovely lady, a woman with a very long and perilous medical history, two small daughters, and such a positive perspective on life. I sat and talked with her for about 20 minutes, then performed the relevant physical exam. As always, I tried to express to my patient how much I appreciated her willingness to spend the time with me, and for her cooperation, and that I wished the best for her.

As we walked out, my preceptor and I discussed what I had learned from the H&P. I came up with a primitive differential diagnosis list, and, with some prompting, came to the correct evaluation and diagnosis. Woo hoo!

As if it is not cool enough to get the answer right, my preceptor then told me that I had done a great job and that I was going to make a wonderful physician. She told me that she wished that she had videotaped my interview to show to other students, told me she couldn't wait for me to be on her service when I did my medicine rotation next year, and then started recruiting me for her residency program.

It made me feel a whole lot better about nearly failing my Pharm exam on Monday. I just need to get through these stupid, mindnumbing classes, and then I can do what I really feel called to do, namely interact with, learn about, and try to help actual real, live, feeling, breathing, people. This academic stuff is for the birds.

5 Readers rock!:

Martha said...

You will be such a wonderful doctor, all your patients will love you.
Just remember, "they don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
And you care.
I am so very proud of you.

Alykat said...

Yay, Katie! With your compassion and composure, how could you not have an awesome bedside manner? Yay, yay, rah, rah! Way to be your awesome self! Not that there was ever a doubt, but it is always nice to hear it from someone in a position of power! :)

The Shrink said...

Much goodness :-)

Xavier Emmanuelle said...

Ah Katie, that's wonderful. The clinical years are coming, you're almost there! Then you'll rock their socks off for sure :)

The MSILF said...

Niceeeeeee...that's what's really important.