Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Unleash the medical students.

I just found out that, should I pass my finals and make it to third year, within just a few months I'll be able to prescribe things and order some lab tests.

Here I thought you had to be a doctor to do those things. But no, they'll be letting me and my classmates, fresh out of the pre-clinical years of med school, play doctor. With real patients.

The best part is they're giving us plenty of time between us learning how to do these things... and us actually being on the wards.

That's right. Rather than putting us in the hosptial as soon as we have written our finals, which is when we have proven that we know which lab tests to order and which drugs to prescribe....ok, well, we've really more just demonstrated that we can memorize thousands of PowerPoint sides containing millions of trivial details (example: "in UK, 1 unit is defined as 8 grams absolute alcohol = .5 pint ordinary beer")...they've chosen to give us an entire summer to forget the relevant parts of medicine before they set us on the wards.

I'll even be allowed to order some investigations without permission: X-rays, electrocardiograms, most blood tests and cultures.

Don't get too concerned, though. I won't be handing out scripts for narcotics, heart medications, or medical marijuana anytime soon (note to friends: notice that last one, and please stop asking). Here's what I will be allowed to prescribe without permission:

  • Non-controlled analgesics and anti-pyretics (examples: aspirin, tylenol)
  • Shampoos, dermatological preparations other than those containing steroids (examples: head & shoulders, pert)
  • Vitamins (examples: umm... Vitamin C, Flinstones multivitamins)
Okay, you're probably a lot less worried now. And I'm not sure they even call it "prescribing" - it's no secret that anyone can buy all those things at a 7-11.

Still, I'll be able to write those things in the patient's chart...me, who doesn't really know anything about medicine yet...and the nurses will actually go ahead and give it to the patient.

Those poor, poor nurses.

I'm not sure who I should feel more sorry for... the nurses? or the patients?


incidental findings said...

Patients? Nurses? I feel sorry for the attendings.

Anonymous said...

Although it is exciting that you are able to Rx and order test. I will also have you know that in most special care areas and with further educations nurses too can order tests and meds without Dr. orders. Anyway just thought that you may want to know that as well! And make sure you treat the nurses well because we are with the patients more than all the doctors and are aware of their status and what treatment is being effective and we too can intrpret results and in some cases will inform the doctor's of what is to be done next. Anyway, Good luck!

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