I placed my white coat on the hanger where it’ll probably be for the next eight to nine months. The ward experience was amazing. I was at Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) internal medicine on the yellow team. Our team name was Party Rockers which, if you add a professional connotation, described our group pretty well. Our party of 10-12 included an attending, residents, an intern, a PA, occasional pharmacist, third-years, and four of us wide-eyed first-years.
Speaking for myself, during the first few days, I felt like I was in a foreign country I had only read about in a few books. I picked out a few of the words and had some idea of the culture, but mostly, I was just lost. I walked in more than one circle trying to find my way from green ICU to purple ICU. And if you thought texting had a lot of acronyms, the med field definitely trumps. “The 59 y/o F with h/o DM2 and HTN p/w AKI, CKD, and GERD…” For those like myself who aren’t fluent in doctor, it’s not an LOL situation.
With only two weeks of exposure, I definitely should not take charge of your health care, but with the help of my team, I did learn a lot. Everyone, especially LLUSM graduates and our third-years, took time out of their busy schedules to show us interesting patient cases, keep us involved with questions, and answer our questions. They taught and gave us the opportunity to examine patients on our own, present to the attending, and write our first medical prescriptions.
I also learned by simply observing. Our team was composed of compassionate health care providers that connected and brought hope to our patients. My third-year often had patients asking specifically for him. The ward experience changed my perspective of medicine–in a good way. I’m excited and ready to face the upcoming hours of book work, so I can help my patients in the future and not be as lost during wards at the end of the year, especially since I won’t have the excuse of being a brand new medical student.