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Tuesday, March 27th 2007

So Close To Third Year

Third year is so close you can feel it. Not that I’m looking past the Step 1, but it can’t hurt to keep the exciting milestone of starting your first rotation in sight.

With that said, it does provide a little stress on the nerves. I wish I had seen more on the clinical side. I’m pretty involved in some national organizations and from the many interesting medical students I meet it is my impression that one of the things that varies the most amongst school’s pre-clinical curriculum is how they treat the introduction to patient contact.

I’ve seen a lot of standardized patients, I’ve seen a lot of patients being presented in physical exam labs as examples of specific findings. After this week however I will have performed an H&P on exactly four real patients as a medical student.

It has been enough to get me over my fear of invading a patient’s personal space and privacy. That early fear to lay hands on a stranger so intimately. And I suppose I have pretty good confidence in my physical exam skills. But I wish I had seen more.

Maybe it is just some innate social awkwardness of my own but I wish I had a better handle and sense of the provider-patient relationship.

No…that’s overstating it.

I wish I felt like I belonged there when I walk into a patients room; like it seemed like I belonged there, that I played the role of an actual health care provider better. If that makes the least of sense.

That comes with experience, no doubt. Another reason to look forward to getting into the hospitals. That brings us full circle to my original point: actual patient contact during the basic science years varies wildly between medical schools and I wish I had had more of it.