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Published: July 24th 2010
"Hi, my name is Brett and I'm a 3rd year medical student who will be seeing you during your stay. I'm a complete idiot and have no idea what I'm doing, what is wrong with you, or what we are doing to try and help you. I hope you're okay with me just being a glorified voyeur on your medical stay and learning from all the crappy things that happen to you. Could you tell me what brought you to the hospital today?"
So, I obviously never said that, but I really should have in order to have full disclosure. The learning curve has been massive over these first 4 weeks. It's been a buffet of lessons in medicine, life, faith, society, ... To me the turning point occurred about 2 weeks in. It was at that point that our team at the hospital (me, another med student, 3 residents, and 1 attending physician) really began to solidify our roles. Before that I was lost at sea, and was, honestly, pretty selfish. I care about grades, always have no matter how much I try to deny it. I really wanted to impress and improve my knowledge. Naturally, this lead to a rise in my competitive nature. I don't know that it was apparent outwardly in any actions or words, but it tore me up internally. Something happened that 3rd week, though. Maybe I was humbled. Maybe I started getting into the Word. Maybe our team gelled. Maybe I started getting more questions right. Maybe it was a little bit of everything. I don't know, but I feel way more comfortable in my own skin now. Sure I still want to impress, but it consumes me far less. I go to the hospital more interested in helping my patients, than impressing my superiors and peers.
Another thought I've had is that I'm probably more interested in outpatient medicine. I've enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to manage patients in the hospital, but the goal everyday is "how do we get these people out of here." Granted, if we get them out, then they aren't sick anymore, but very little connection is made. I like the more long-term relationship that can be developed in the outpatient setting. We'll see how the next 4 weeks affect this thinking and then what impact the 8 weeks of Family Medicine (basically all outpatient) have. But that's how I see things now.
Well, I'm done with Via Christi for now and it's off to the VA for 4 weeks. It'll be a whole new ballgame with electronic medical records, new patients, new doctors, and no free food.
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