As the official “classroom” part of my medical school career draws to an end, I’m finding it harder and harder to focus. It’s like, the end is right around the corner so I just want to enjoy the ride until I get there, but then I know if I don’t get cracking on those notes & lectures for the last time, then I won’t even make it around that corner.
So yesterday I had the pleasure of partaking in my Introduction to Clinical Skills practical exam. Let’s just say time really flies by when you’re under pressure, and professors know how to stare deep into your soul and bite a huge chunk off.
So in this practical exam, I had to complete two Physical Exam tasks, a patient scenario case, and I had to examine & diagnose Harvey, which is a mechanical patient with cardiovascular problems. Going into the exam, I was a nervous wreck; and coming out of the exams, I held my head low at how pitiful a presentation I gave. Don’t get me wrong, I performed all the tasks and everything, but when it came to the secondary questions, even though I knew the answers, I froze up like a deer in headlights.
My two tasks were to perform a Respiratory Exam on a patient with Lobar Pneumonia and perform a Sensory Exam on a patient with numb feet. I covered the major points of each exam, although I forgot about reflexes for the legs and had to have the professor “guide” me there. Overall, my performance on those tasks were fine. But then the questions came and I could see the professors staring at me with knowing eyes and I felt like a toddler in trouble. Just so you can get an idea, there were a lot of “umm” & “uhhh” ‘s scattered in the conversations I had with them.< My patient scenario was simple enough, the patient had lost a lot of weight recently and I had to choose an exam to perform on him. I chose the Thyroid Exam since Hyperthyroidism can cause a patient to lose weight. Jumping right into the exam I completely forgot I had to do a general inspection of the patient. Luckily, the proctor was a nice guy and I knew him so he went easy on me and reminded me to go over the inspection. He’s the kind of tiny old man that you just want to put in your pocket and take him out just for a few good laughs, with his old-fashioned humor.
Finally, the Harvey room was, I’ll admit, a little more intense than I thought it would be. Whenever I would practice the Harvey sessions, I did just find. I inspected “him”, described all my findings, and came up with a relevant diagnosis (Aortic Stenosis, by the way). But yesterday, with the pressure on and the clock ticking, it did not go as smoothly. I gave the right diagnosis, but I think I spent too much time on inspection, and it seemed like I was unsure or inexperienced while I was listening to the heart sounds and presenting my findings. I doubt the professor was even remotely impressed with my performance.
Hopefully, I’m just being overly critical with myself and I still manage to pull off a decent grade in the end. I did talk to my friends and they all thought that they could do better. I suppose that’s just the way it is.
16 more days…