I’m starting to feel like every time I blog I look back and realize it has been much longer between posts than I always think or intend. I guess that’s just a reality of the craziness of my life and the demands of medical school. Of course everyone feels overwhelmed by medical school and all the information to learn/tasks to complete, so I’m definitely not complaining :).
SO….let me attempt to give an update on what I’ve been up to since my last post 70+ days ago……..First: I found out I passed Step 1!! YAY! This seems like it happened SO LONG AGO, but it’s really only been a few months :). So, all the hard work payed off and I was able to settle into being a third year (for me, it was hard to officially call myself a third year medical student until I actually physically had my Step 1 score and knew I could look forward to the next step in my medical education).
The next big thing was making it through my first rotation––psychiatry. The mention of psychiatry brings mixed emotions for most medical students––some look forward to it with enthusiasm, some dread it. I went into the rotation mostly just excited to be out in the clinic/hospital learning in a more hands-on environment.
For the first two weeks I was working with a fantastic doctor in an adolescent/child partial program where patients come in for the day but are allowed to return home to their families at night––a transition from in-patient psych ward to an outpatient clinic setting. I greatly enjoyed learning from my attending and resident, and the team of medical students I was with was awesome as well––basically I had a great time on this rotation (and it didn’t hurt that I was home most days before noon!).
For week 3, everyone was placed at either the VAH (Veterans hospital) or LLUMC for an addictions rotation. I was at the VAH, and spent the week learning about all the treatment options available for veterans struggling with the realities of drug/alcohol addictions. It was an eye-opening experience (with time spent attending group therapy, AA meetings, NA meetings, Al-Anon meetings, etc.), and I feel much more prepared to help direct my future patients to places they can get the help they need.
The final three weeks of the clerkship I was assigned to the Behavioral Health Intake Program (BHIP) clinic at the VAH. This clinic is used to guide patients into various doctors/services available at the hospital. I saw a lot of interesting cases and had several experiences I will probably never forget––I had patients yell at me, cry, run out of the hospital, etc.
So, psych was an overall good experience––certainly better than I had expected, but I’ll be honest, it’s not exactly what I’m looking to do long term. I am, however, thankful that I had psych as my first rotation for a couple of reasons: first, it helped ease me into 3rd year with the easier work hours and lighter academic demands, and second, because I believe it will help me relate to my patients and be much more understanding on a more human/relational level––something that really can’t be taught but must be experienced.
And now I am just over two weeks into my internal medicine rotation. Internal medicine is one of the tougher rotations during third year because it is time intensive and because it encompasses so much information. I’ve been blessed to start the clerkship at an outpatient clinic at the VAH working with a team of doctors that are absolutely amazing. The main attending I am working with is extremely helpful––she quizzes me about patient care but is also more than happy to teach me the things I don’t know well. Seeing patients in the clinic setting has helped solidify that what I really want to be doing in medicine is working in a clinic! I love seeing several patients with different symptoms, and I love spending time getting to know each one of them. Don’t get me wrong––it’s terrifying to simply be handed a patient’s chart and told to do the initial evaluation on my own…but this is what I’ve spent the first two years preparing for and I feel as prepared as I possibly could be. I know eventually the nerves will settle down and I will be able to simply enjoy the process (without the added increase in heart rate 🙂 ). The weeks ahead are definitely going to become more challenging (as I transition from outpatient to inpatient care) but I am greatly looking forward to the challenges and all the learning I know I will do.
On one last note, some about the life that I do still have outside of medical school 🙂 :
1. My husband and I enjoyed a quick but delightful trip home to visit our families in IL a couple weeks ago.
My cousins and I around my grandparents as we celebrated my Grandpa’s 70th birthday!
2. We continue to work on our goal of making it to all the professional baseball fields in the U.S. …..in August we saw the Dodgers play our Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium in LA and this weekend we got to see the Angels play in Anaheim :)!