“There’s a patient for you to see in room 13, she’s complaining of a very itchy rash for two months”… These were the words that awaited me one day in clinic after returning from lunch. Wow, an itchy rash for two months? What kind of person lives with a very itchy rash for two months? Little did I know that was only the tip of the iceberg.
I entered the room and met Mrs. G. She was a middle aged, obese woman with quite an extensive fungal infection on her legs and abdomen. It was soon very apparent that this infection was not the only unwanted intruder in her life. She was also under a large amount of stress from tight finances due to recently having lost her job and having unexpected medical bills for her husband.
Mrs. G and I sat and talked for close to an hour. She shared other concerns with me and I did my best to counsel her in the best course of action she could take. Following reporting to my preceptor we both returned to room 13 to prescribe medications for Mrs. G and send her on her merry way.
After the encounter I asked my preceptor if there was anything else we could have done for Mrs. G. His response was one I will never forget. “Sometimes all we can offer patients like that is the listening ear of a third year medical student.”
My experience with Mrs. G has shown me the importance of maintaining a compassionate attitude. I was honored to have been able to listen to her and help her as I could. I hope and pray that as I continue in my medical career that I never lose this.
So.. my name is Laura Hanson and I am a student physician. How can I help you?