Notes must be written, and labs must be ordered. / Everyone has their role to do, or else chaos is restored. / All this every day in one golden hour.
Most of all though, I tried to calm my racing mind and remind myself to just learn. And with that, I wondered, “What is the most important thing I can do today?”
I opened their chart and scrolled to the recent notes section. A new title I had never seen before popped on the screen. There, at the top of the chart, “Deceased Note” was written in bold letters.
The beauty of medicine is that we are trained to see each person as an individual, not as a victim of their stereotypes. We are taught that we are more than our skin color, our religion, our clothing or our gender. But even though I see more than a patient’s demographic on static paper, those same patients, and sometimes even colleagues, fail to see me as more than just a woman.
With imposter syndrome raging,/ I sit quietly at my desk,/ reflect on goals for my future/ and what it means to do my best.
Upon reflection, my actions and feelings in caring for this patient reveal how truly afraid I was to be wrong; not necessarily about the diagnosis, but rather about whether the patient would be okay. Maybe coming in daily and opening her chart for good news was just me hoping that my initial impression was still right instead of coming to terms with the fact I was very wrong.
The crumpled old gentleman nestled in the armchair of his hospital room, bundled in blankets from the warmer down the hall, cards from his family propped up like a miniature Stonehenge on the table beside him. I listened closely to his heart and lungs, eyed the half-full urinal hooked onto his bed frame, and drew my fingers along his shins.
She asks me if I can speak Spanish, to which I regrettably deny, stating I can understand it well, but my ability to communicate in my mother tongue is lacking. Her eyes catch my sight, this time not projecting annoyance, but now disappointment, with her head shaking and her uttering, “That is an absolute shame. You should know how to speak Spanish. You are Hispanic and do not know Spanish? What a shame.”
Many patient encounters, often brief, have left me with a lasting impression. I reflect on these moments by capturing the dialogue, gestures or quiet observations that occur when caring for patients.
She had her head bowed over her sleeping newborn, and her perfect plaits of braids were blanketing her shoulders, cascading calmly despite the insurmountable turmoil clearly manifesting on her face.
The following infographic is the result of my goal to create a resource, backed by literature, from the perspective of a medical student to help other students become fluent in the “language” of oral case presentations at the start of any clerkship rotation.
During my pediatric rotation, a little girl was brought to the ED the day her family was set to leave for vacation. Her physical exam and imaging confirmed a ruptured appendix that would require surgery and almost a week of IV antibiotics, meaning our patient would miss her family’s forthcoming vacation.