Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back in the saddle… gradually…

I met up with another MSTP today to practice physical exam skills. This is something I haven’t done in a while, and it was a good refresher. I wish I’d done it earlier, but that’s life… In any case, I’m doing it now, and I’m doing as part of !!!MSTP 201!!!

What is MSTP 201 you might ask… The MSTP doesn’t actually offer any courses, but they have created options for clinical preceptorships for those of us who are in the PhD phase of our training. These are varying levels of intensity but all with the goal of easing yourself back into the clinical skills you learned as an M2 and forgot during your research years. Knowing what I do about myself, I realized that it would be better to freak out briefly about having to do a standardized patient earlier this month and then get over the anxiety than to wait until I actually had to see real patients and freak out then. The gradual approach has worked well.

I’m paired with an internal medicine doctor who is incredibly kind and patient with me, and we met up to do a history and physical exam on a standardized patient (read: an actor) for my first experience. I only go through it without tears because I knew that it didn’t really matter and than I could stop and ask for help at various points. After writing up my findings (and recognizing the gaps in my history-taking skills), we agreed to meet again in May to see a real patient together. It doesn’t seem nearly as scary now. It seems even less scary now that I’ve reviewed the cranial nerves and found a triceps reflex on a friend. The first lesson here: know yourself, and always give yourself plenty of time. The second: find someone(s) patient when you have forgotten to do the first.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Good for you kiddo...I remember what it was like for me to get back in the saddle as an audiologist after I took 3 years off with you and Claire. It was pretty first two patients, a brother and sister, had a rare genetic syndrome that I recognized by sight...doubting myself all the way...but sharing my observations and impressions anyway. I agree...gradually back into the saddle is best...