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.
It was the first day of my inpatient internal medicine rotation and I felt as excited as ever to be in the hospital, participating in rounds. “How’s your day going?” I asked automatically in a cheery tone as I entered my first patient’s room.
I work with four other medical students at the family medicine clinic. I am the only female medical student — our attending is also male.
Many people told me that my third year of medical school would be both the most rewarding and the most difficult. That I would choose my future specialty and discover my specific path in medicine — a task which, as I began the year, seemed both exciting and daunting. Little did I know that during my third year of medical school, I would learn just as much about myself as I would about patient care and the practice of medicine.
When my family saw me painstakingly hand-placing individual sprinkles on the apices of buttercream rosettes at age 15, I justified this obsessive behavior by telling them, “I’m just practicing precision for the day when I get to inject into people’s faces.”
Unlike other specialties, radiology is often an elective rotation that focuses on diagnostics and image interpretation. Such tasks are mainly done by the specialty’s residents with little care for medical students to be involved with.