Learning Medicine

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wow, time flies.

Wow. Time flies. I'm about to start week 4 of my Pediatrics clerkship. This is my last week of inpatient. In another week I'll be in the outpatient clinics and then I'll wrap up with a week of nursery.

I've enjoyed my time on the wards so far. I've seen a plethora of cases. I'm honing my skills of diagnosis and physical examination. I'm getting better at the ways of the wards - that is, oral presentations, write ups, scut work. I feel like I understand how the hospital works, in the peds realm at least.

One of the things I'm looking forward to in the outpatient setting is being the first person to see the patient. In the hospital, nearly all the patients I've seen have been 'worked-up' already by someone else - either the PCP or the ED. Therefore, my job entails monitoring and management, but little diagnosis. More times than not, I know what the problem is, and my task is to carry out the orders from the prior provider. That is fine. Management is the name of the game, and I'm learning. But I'd like a little mystery too. I would like to try to figure out what's wrong with a patient, rather than being told beforehand.

People have said, "Oh, you'll see a lot of otitis media and colds in the outpatient clinic. It won't be that interesting." That may be true for a seasoned pediatrician, but for me, even those everyday ailments will offer a challenge and a mystery. I've never seen otitis media in real life. I know what I'm supposed to see, but I've never actually seen it myself. So too with other diseases such as strep pharyngitis or gastroenteritis. So I'm looking forward to this experience. Hopefully I'll be able to hone my diagnostic acumen in this setting.

I also like that there will be less or no rounding. I get tired of running around the hospital all morning.

Then, it goes without saying that the nursery is going to be a blast. BABBBBBIIIIEEESSSS! I love babies. Who doesn't? I'm pumped to learn how to bathe, swaddle (I didn't know what this meant till a week ago), change a diaper and feed a little newborn. How exciting. Those are some important life skills. A nursery can't really be anything except a happy environment. It's an ambiance of new, fresh life. Happy parents. Cute, amorphous, chubby little babies. It will be a blast. :)

I look forward to recounting my experiences in the coming weeks.


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