Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wake up little Snoozy, Wake up

There are few moments that horrify me more than those where I realize I'm training to be a physician.

As in, this is for real.

Hypothetically, I am going to walk away from this experience with a license to practice medicine. Uhm. Yeah.

I don't know if I can really explain it, but there's a stark difference between going to the lecture hall everyday, kicking around ideas in PBL, writing ridiculous throw-away papers on health systems, aaaand actually treating patients. Or, well okay! That explained it pretty well. Patients are not scantron sheets.
These things that I cram into my head in order to pass quizzes and exams will one day be information that I need to apply to real life human beings. It's... unsettling because never before in my life have I been expected to be accountable in any REAL sense for learning things. Or at least accountable in any way that would affect anyone besides myself.

We start physical diagnosis sessions tomorrow in which we will be in small groups with a preceptor examining patients.

Patients... weird.

Before the end of our neuro course a few weeks ago we performed neurological exams under a neurologist's watchful eye. That was the beginning of my wake-up call. My first alarm if you will, and between then and now I've been mid snooze cycle

While it's very obvious to a certain degree, it took that experience to really slap me in the face and make me recognize that we will be responsible for producing the clues we use to make diagnoses. There will be no big PBL leader in the sky that passes out the history and physical of a patient. We won't be handed the pertinent findings upon which we can flex our analytical logic. We have to PRODUCE that stuff. That's what's scary.

I have to know when I hear certain things or observe this or that what it all means clinically. I'm going to have to have enough confidence in myself and my skills to trust my judgment. I don't think it's too self-aggrandizing or melodramatic to say peoples' health will depend on it.

Granted, it won't until many years in the future that I'll be doing it all on my own, but... a person's health is their everything.


But, for tomorrow, I'm just going to concentrate on not hurling on anyone and save the rudest awakening for another day.

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