It’s About Medicine

Final year of med school has just hit me. There is a subtle shift – knowledge and facts coalescing, light dawning. I still feel like I know nothing, but every so often I feel like I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Another subtle shift is underway on the hospital floor. Next year I could be a colleague. People ask where I’m applying, offer advice, discuss cases of interest like my thoughts could matter.

I decided about ten days back that I needed to stop avoiding the things that freak me out – practical procedures. And Whammo! No sooner had I decided this than a flurry of practical procedures came my way. Under supervision, I drained 2.4L of fluid from an elderly lady’s chest (“I can breathe again!”), and did not generate a pneumothorax. I sutured (extremely badly). I backslabbed a man’s fractured wrist and completely failed to get a cannula into a vein for a man who desperately needed one. Two in fact.

Today I assessed a patient in ED, summarised my findings, proposed a diagnosis, recommended therapy, and discharged them home with scripts and instructions.

I second-guess myself.

“What if it was amyloidosis?”
“What if I sutured his skin all wrong?”
“What if he’d got fluids earlier?”
“What if I introduced an infection?”

What if I never made a mistake and never learned anything?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “It’s About Medicine

  1. It’s a nice feeling hey, to throw yourself into the practical stuff! I love suturing! I’m sure one day I’ll hate it, but right now, I still enjoy it. I like being in the ED and actually assessing someone and actually coming up with something reasonable. And when the ED dr that day says, ‘thanks for your help today’ like they actually mean it! 🙂

  2. selenocentric

    Congratulations on making it to your fourth year. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has just flown by! Well, it has for me at any rate 😉

    I have come to realise, quite recently in fact, the value of making mistakes. I may have made quite a few of my own in recent months. The incredible thing is that I’ve learned so much, and grown as a person as well. Who’d have thought it?

    And who knows, that small misstep right now, may stop you from falling flat on your face later on. Or not. But I have made a mental note not to ask you for sutures anytime soon 😉

  3. Practical procedures freaked me out too… And the still kind of do… But less so. I can now suture and not look like a total idiot, so long as it is a laceration or something not inside of the body with a surgeon breathing down my neck. The first suturing I did without supervision was on a screaming three year old. Talk about trial by fire. But it did wonders for my confidence. Especially when he came back for follow up two weeks later and didn’t look entirely mangled. Enjoy your final year! Mine is almost over… Eep!

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