In the Life of a Fickle Intern

June 30, 2010

First Shift

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:30

After taking a whole month off to study and goof around, an eight hour shift is ridiculously tiring, especially when you have no time to sit down. The ER I worked in today was incredibly busy. Instead of having individual rooms, or even curtains to separate the patients, the beds were just lined up in the hallway. All the patients I had today had “hall spots” as these areas were called. Though I don’t know the patients’ average wait time, from the look on the computer monitors, patients were waiting around 10- 15 hours to be seen, the non-acute cases, of course. I got to see a whole array of cases from cholecystitis to drug overdose to altered mental status to sinus congestion. It was great!

As medical students, we’re assigned to work with the senior 3rd year residents. My resident today was amazingly nice and approachable. Despite his time crunch and the patient overload, he kept apologizing for not having time to teach me. I was so flattered that he considered my education that important to apologize continuously, though I assured him that I was not offended at all. The attending on duty was also really amazing. She took every opportunity to help me organize my presentation and to give advice on basic doctoring skills.  I was so impressed with how receptive and engaging everyone was to having me around, even the residents and attendings that I did not work with. From first impression, I have a major crush on this program. I’m trying to stay objective and not get my hopes too high, but so far, so good. Apart from my throbbing feet, my first shift, with all its uncertainties and awkwardness, could not have gone any better.

June 29, 2010

Orientation Day 2

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:01

I didn’t really have another day of orientation, but it felt like it because I had to drive around the city gathering different ID badges and parking cards at all the hospitals that I’ll be working at. I spent the good part of the afternoon going from one building to the next getting the rest of the paperwork together. It’s amazing how many steps one has to go through to get access to these hospitals. It makes total sense, with patient confidentiality being as important it is, but it sure is time consuming, not to mention that my ID pictures were not very cute considering I was running around all hot and muggy. Priorities in life.

With my first shift tomorrow, I’m again overcome with nervousness. I got a glimpse of the hospitals today as I ran my errands. One of the hospitals that I will be working at is MASSIVE! It’s ridiculously huge and it felt more like a busy office building rather than a hospital with people coming and going continuously. On a brighter note, I cannot wait to see what comes through the ER at such a place. Hoping for a good first day!

June 28, 2010

Orientation

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 22:43

New city. New program. New hospitals. New month.

I had my orientation today, all nine hours of it. I was surprisingly impressed! Surprisingly mostly because I did not know what to expect. The campus is beautiful and the buildings are all new. The clerkship directors are laid back; the coordinator is approachable; the students are friendly. Even though the day was long with endless amounts of logistics and paperwork, it was very well organized. I probably signed my life away today without realizing it because after a while, I stopped reading the countless numbers of forms that I had to put my signature on.

In addition to the normal orientation, we had skill labs in the afternoon. It was kind of reassuring in a conceited sort of way to learn that the home students have not had the procedural experiences that I have had at my own program. Apparently they do not get the same hands on experiences we do, especially on surgery. It was still fun to freshen up on suturing techniques and to review basic ER skills.

I’ll still overwhelmed with all this newness, but I am more excited and less nervous to see how this month will go. All I can do is be myself and work hard. Besides, I only have to work 14 days out of the month. Sweet deal if you ask me.

June 24, 2010

What’s Next

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:33

Now that I’m done with my test, I get to go back to work! I’m heading to Atlanta and East Tennessee for my next two rotations. I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited. I have no idea what to expect! I’m so comfortable here, but I guess it’s good to get out of my comfort zone and start exploring potential programs. I just hope that I don’t make a fool out of myself in front of these people I don’t know!

June 23, 2010

Boards Breakdown

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 22:49

It’s done! It’s over! One of the biggest hurtles for the year is done and over with!

We’re required to take two board exams, Step 1 and Step 2, as a medical student. At my school, we have to take our first one right after our 2nd year and the second one before December of our 4th year.

Step 1 was really, really awful! It’s an 8 hour test that covers basic science subjects like Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, etc. Because I didn’t know what to expect and because the score is such a huge player in determining my future that I literally studied for 12 hours a day for a solid month. I had a few minor breakdowns and moments of uncertainties during that time period. Oh the memories…I actually got physically sick from all the stress after it was all over. Just talking about it stresses me out!

Step 2, on the other hand, is a 9 hour test (it just gets longer and longer!) and it covers clinical knowledge, hence the name Step 2 CK. Everyone says that it’s not as bad as Step 1, and I took that to heart. For the first two weeks, I read leisurely and did a few practice questions here and there. It wasn’t until I got back from Arizona that I flipped out. I had two and a half weeks left and I still had over 2000 questions to do and over 400 pages in my review book to read, review, and relearn. It was at that moment that I got myself back into my 12 hour study days, just in time.

I took the test yesterday! I felt like it was more of a test of stamina rather than knowledge. I would have moments during the later sessions where I was reading and answering questions and suddenly realizing that I had no idea what I just read nor what I just answered. I hope that won’t affect my score too much! As for my emotional and mental handling of Step 2, I was really proud of myself. No emotional breakdowns. No physical illnesses (yet). I thought I had passed the emotional test until today. I took my nephews and nieces to see “The Karate Kid” – not really a tear jerker, but three minutes into the movie, with a semi-sad opening, I started sobbing. I bawled through the whole 2 hours and 20 minutes of the movies! So ridiculous. My niece kept on giving me looks throughout the movie. I guess I had some pent up tension after all. Oops. Unfortunately, I suffered from the post-cry headache the rest of the afternoon. However, if that’s the only aftermath of this whole process, I’ll take it!

There is one more part to Step 2, Step 2 CS – clinical skills. There are only five or so testing centers in the U.S. and we have to go to one of these centers for a whole day and pretend to be doctors to be fake patients. We get taped during these mock patient encounters and get graded on how competent we appear as future physicians. I’ve heard it’s not bad as CK so I’m not too worried about it yet. I’ll be taking that part in August in Atlanta.

This is a very long and boring entry, but I thought that it would be good to break down these many, many big tests that I have to take for those interested. Did I mention that between these three tests, the cost is over $2000? Yes, they make us suffer emotionally, mentally,  physically AND financially. Goodness, gracious.

June 15, 2010

Standstill

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:26

My life is currently at a standstill. Though Step 2 is “only” a test, I have completely and utterly given in to it. For the next week, I have relinquished any and all responsibilities of life to accommodate my study schedule. For however many hours I can manage, I will be camped out at the library with my extra-espresso shot coffees and endless supply of sugary snacks. This test is my only priority at the moment. This may seem a little intense to those not in the medical field, but to put things in perspective, this score plus my Step 1 score will be the main players in determining where I end up for residency. I’m not going to leave it up to chance.

Be back in a week, hopefully sane and in one piece. Wish me luck!

June 11, 2010

Crunch Time

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:59

Eleven days and counting to Step 2 CK. About 1200 more practice questions left and eight chapters to go in First Aid. Totally doable, right?

Despite the fact that there aren’t “weekends” anymore during most of my rotations, I can’t help but feel the pressure of Fridays. The concept of Fridays, the start of the weekend, is so ingrained into my head that it makes for an unproductive study day. However, to fight the urge to take the rest of the night off from studying, I’ve equipped myself with a crystal light energy drink, a bag of pretzels and a box of Hot Tamales. The underlying fear that I could potential not do well on this test is the main driving force behind this pseudomotivation to keep studying. With that being said, back to studying…

June 10, 2010

Pretzel Goodness

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:49

Took a break to hang out with the kids, mainly the two little ones, for a few hours today. We made hand-dipped chocolate pretzel goodness. Super easy and delicious – a little salty, a little sweet and a little nutty. Perfect snack.

June 9, 2010

Little Sister

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 23:15

As part of my Pediatric rotation last fall, we got to rotate for a few days through the clinics of Youth Villages. The experience was incredibly inspiring yet depressing at the same time. Youth Villages is a “home” for “emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families.” Getting to work with some of the kids put a lot of things in perspective for me. It’s so easy for me to complain about life, whether it’s the traffic in the morning or the endless studying, but when it comes down to it, my life has been amazingly fortunate. I have a supportive network of friends and family and an opportunity to do what I love. With this mentality, I was inspired to be a friend to someone, hence I signed up to be a big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program. Finally, six months later, I have a little sister!! I got to meet her today for the first time. She’s a little older than I had expected (she’s 12!) and she’s physically bigger than me, but I’m so excited to start this new relationship. She seems really sweet! I am kind of nervous because I don’t know how to deal with modern teenage girls, but it’ll work out, I’m sure.

June 8, 2010

Sedona, Az

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:48

A few of my favorite pics from my trip to AZ. Sedona is amazingly beautiful! Between the four of us, we used a Canon Power Shot SD1000, a Canon G9, and a Nikon D100. I mainly used my friend’s Canon G9. It’s pretty neat!

Check the out the rest of the pictures here!

The Drive There

Reflection

Scenic Stop

Sliding Rock

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