You see, when starting your anesthesiology clerkship it feels as if you are learning a completely new skillset and knowledge base. Of course you are drawing on common principles in physiology, pharmacology, and anatomy. But how they play out, and how you apply those concepts, are fresh. Here are some tips to maximize your learning, assist your resident and really start to appreciate the field.
On the first day of my surgery clerkship, our chief resident gave us a few instructions for our next two months together. We had to carry certain types of gauze and tape in our soon-to-be overflowing white coat pockets, create a clear and confident daily plan for each patient we followed, and be ready for rounds at 6 a.m. the next morning.
Welcome, Player One! First clerkship. Ready? Go!
LEVEL 1, PSYCHIATRY ACUTE INPATIENT SERVICE, MISSION NOTES: Med student didactics at 0700 daily. Rounds start approximately at 0800. Comprehensive interview with team at bedside. Ask about daily activities and goals. Enter orders while running list. PM schedule varies. Check desk for group session and recreation schedules. Plan to admit at least 8 patients in 3 weeks. Work closely with social services to coordinate disposition.
Egg shell coat: / Tread softly, / Quietly. / To not crack the illusion / Of knowledge, / Bold aspirations.
Such was the start of clerkship, lost in a sea of paperwork and bureaucracy. A mountain of bookkeeping distributed to each student: due dates, boxes to check, requirements to fulfill and all with the threat of expulsion if any part was deemed incomplete. I understand the need to track what we experience for assessment, but the framing and focus of this introduction emphasized what should be a secondary to our learning.