It’s Thursday night, and I’m almost done with the first week of my third year of medical school. Third year is the year medical students start their full time clinical rotations. In order to avoid sensitive and personal details involving patients, I will merely share thoughts and impressions that I’ve had while working in the hospital.
1: Money doesn’t cure loneliness. Money can buy treatments, specialists, and fancy hospital rooms, but it won’t surround your bed with loved ones. I’d rather be surrounded by friends and family on my death bed, than surrounded with piles of cash.
2: Patients are people. Sounds dumb, but hear me out. The first two years of medical school are mainly text book learning. If you’re not careful, you may come to revere the diseases more than the patient. And let’s face it: understanding disease process is pretty dang cool! But the person sitting in front of you is more than a disease carrier or a walking textbook. They’re a grandmother, a mother, a father, a brother. Practicing medicine just got real. And personal.
3: Doctors are people. All the doctors I’ve worked with are intelligent, successful, and kind. But they’re still people. They get sick, tired, and lonely. They see other doctors. If their clinic is 2 hours behind, it’s not because of laziness. I didn’t see a doctor take a bathroom break or a lunch break this whole week. It’s exhausting work, and they go home tired.
4: I need to learn how to eat lunch while running through a hallway. This is a continuation of step 3. No matter how hard working you are, you still have to find time for normal human activity, including eating, exercising, and going to the bathroom.
5: Step score means nothing. At least not yet. I was feeling pretty confident after step 1. After 4 days in the hospital I feel like a babe in tall grass. Luckily I was forewarned about this feeling, and am avoiding panicking.
6: The doctor-patient relationship is more vital than I ever realized. If a patient trusts their doctor, it becomes much easier to persuade them to take their medications, get their labs done, follow up with specialists, etc. But if they don’t trust you, your advice is worth less than WebMD and Dr. Oz. As the old saying goes, they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
7: Charting and paperwork is a drain on time and resources. But it’s important and unavoidable, so the sooner you learn the EMR the better!
8: Befriending nurses is the smartest thing you can do. They know more about their clinic than you do, so put your ego back in your short-white-coat pockets. Once you’ve established a friendship, they will be more likely to help you out and pull you into interesting procedures.
There will be more to come on this topic, but I wanted to jot these down before I forgot them. In the meantime, we are eagerly awaiting Mrs. DA’s graduation from nursing school so we can start paying down our debt! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on our debt pay-down plan and progress.