From the Wards

Anna Mueller Anna Mueller (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine


Anna Mueller is a third year medical student at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami, FL class of 2023. In 2018, she graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in biology. She enjoys traveling, yoga, and karate in her free time.




The Interview as an Invitation

Freud supposedly understood himself as a surgeon of the mind, dissecting his patients’ mental anatomy through the process of psychoanalysis. I found this comparison appealing, so when I started the psychiatry clerkship in my third year of medical school, I approached the interview in psychiatry as analogous to a surgical procedure — efficient, scripted, precise.

Smile

Mr. T did not smile at me. No, I didn’t think it was because he was mean or anything; in fact, he was polite and had quite a calming voice. But honestly, it was hard to read someone’s facial expression behind a mask — at least during the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prescriptive Autonomy

An anxious, 36-year-old Hispanic female lays on the exam table, her feet in stirrups. A sleeved arm juts out between her tented legs as she stares resolutely at the ceiling. I wonder if she is afraid of what the amorphous black and white structures shifting on the ultrasound monitor may reveal.

Exquisitely Tender

A 5-year-old African-American boy presents to the emergency department with left leg pain. His leg is exquisitely tender to palpation… If I read this vignette in the first year of medical school, I would have navigated to the multiple-choice answers to select anything related to sickle cell disease. The question writers are stating that the patient is Black, young and has a painful limb — this is not a difficult diagnosis.

Medicalizing My Grief

A classmate of mine committed suicide a few weeks ago. Though I’ve heard the harrowing statistics about physician and trainee suicide rates, to be honest, I never expected to personally encounter such a tragedy. The small classes at my medical school allow for a strong sense of community in which we all know each other, celebrate important life milestones, and happily reconnect when we’re together after clinical rotations scatter us throughout the hospital.

A Moment to Reflect

The first thing I notice are his boots. He’s still in his street clothes, having just been admitted. He looks thin, emaciated — his clothes hang off him, shirt collar drooping down from his neck like peeling paint. His boots, however, seem to fit him properly. They look warm, well-worn but sturdy, like they have weathered a hundred bitter winters and could withstand a hundred more. For some reason, this comforts me.

Doctor/Patient Patel

My medical school career was complicated by more than just complex cardiac physiology or biochemical pathways. Little did I know that at the end of my second year I would go from knocking on a patient’s door during a clinical session, to sitting in an exam room myself.

Imagine

Upon arriving at the room, we learn that the nurse continued trying to speak to this patient in English despite the patient’s evident inability to speak the language. Following her half-hearted attempt at “patient education,” she proceeded to lift the patient’s gown and attempts to strap on the monitors. As a result, the woman is frightened by her nurse because she is unaware of what this foreign nurse is doing to her and her unborn child. One week out from detention. She is scared. Imagine.

Samantha M Rodriguez Samantha M Rodriguez (8 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine


Samantha is a fourth-year medical student at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami, Florida class of 2022. In 2016, she graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She enjoys yoga, going to the beach, and reading in her free time. After graduating medical school, Samantha plans to pursue a career in Pediatrics.