Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Extraeducational Patient Encounter

I felt like a real doctor today for a brief moment.

When I was switching buses on my daily commute home, I saw someone waiting for the bus whom I recognized - a woman who had been a patient of mine!

Okay, I'm not a doctor yet. Not even close. And in actuality, all my "patients" to date are either cadavers or fake - hired actors.

The one I fortuitously saw on the street today fell into the latter category, in case you were wondering.

Even though my feeling as though I am a doctor lasted for less than a measurable time quantity, it was kindof neat. I know that happens to doctors all the time, running into patients of theirs. My friend's dad is a GP in a small town, and it happens to him. It must be nice for doctors having these little reminders that they've made a difference in somebody's life, every time they bump into them. Or perhaps they're more like reminders of what a nightmare the patient was and how stressful the doctor's practice is.

Maybe I'm just stretching for ways to feel like I'm becoming a real doctor, since I don't get that feeling very much in class. All our classes so far are a repeat of fairly simple concepts we learned in undergrad, or even worse, high school. I've learned how cells divide about six or seven hundred times already, and that meiosis happens in the somatic cells and mitosis in the germ cells (don't freak out, I'm on it, that was a little joke for you science people out there). It seems like it's going to be like this for the rest of the first term, too, since it's designed to catch up the people who, unlike myself, do not come from a science background.

There's just enough new information that I have decided to heed the words of pretty much any second year I've talked to: "Don't get behind! Stay on top of the material." So my days of little to no homework are gone; I've started making work for myself, namely, reading and studying the notes, so that when study time for our midterm comes up in a few weeks I won't feel too pressured. But still, that midterm's only worth 5% of our grade...so how much pressure can that be?

That being said, you can probably understand how it's a relief to study things that are more clinically related, like our small group session on hypertension today. Though the second half of the first-year curriculum promises to be a lot more work, my friends in second year say it's a lot more clinically relevant and a lot more interesting. I think I'd rather have lots of interesting work to do than be bored reviewing things I've already gone over.

I have a feeling that I'm going to regret saying that someday.

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