It is my last week of Internal Medicine, which means several tests, portfolios, and an OSCE. Gotta admit, Internal Med has been harder than usual this year, and I was shaking like a leaf before the exam began today. As you can see, I survived. It actually went reasonably well, so now I just have to worry about passing the written tests.
Here is a little something different for Elective Extravaganza: what happens when you realise you chose the “wrong” thing for your elective? Aziza Aini (a fellow blogger, click on over) is a third year medical student in Malaysia who, during her second year, did an elective in Internal Medicine. Although she enjoyed it, she realised that she much preferred Emergency Medicine. So she innovatively did both.
Aziza’s story is also interesting because she attends a twinning program – essentially, her first two years of medical school is at one institution, and the last years are completed at a different institution. They do an elective in second year to assist with clinical skills development. I enjoyed her views because they remind me of the experiences our second years have when they get their first introduction to clinical medicine – the things they notice, and the things that make an impact on them. It is part of the reason I will always value introducing a student to hospital as early as possible.
Now, I’ll leave Aziza to tell her story:
Today I had my first ever OSCE. That stands for “Objective Structured Clinical Examination” and is basically a practical exam for medical students. I don’t think I was this nervous for my final Matric exams. Of course I wasn’t, back then I was an A+ student.
As part of continuous assessment for this module, we have to prepare and present a case to the Module Head.
Due to my apparent silence in hospital rounds since everybody knows that I can actually speak in public, my wonderful clinical group (I do love them :P) informed me that I would be presenting if we were selected.
We got selected, but then I kind of had an idea we would.
This is the gist of our patient. Bear in mind that it is not a particularly rare or strange case. This exercise served to teach us how to present a case, as we shall be doing so for the rest of our careers.
One of the most important things they try to drill into our heads at Med School is the ability to take a good, relevant history. If we get a question in a test or exam asking, “Patient X has these symptoms, describe the steps you would take to reach a diagnosis” and we do not start with Take a relevant clinical history, we’re pretty much screwed.
The importance of a history is not exaggerated. Apparently some UK study indicated that over 75% of diagnoses can be made on a good clinical history. I am still scouring Google for that study, so if you know it do pass it along.
As mentioned before, I am currently in the last quarter of my second year as medical student. The module my class is handling at the moment is called Introduction to Clinical Medicine. This is where, after almost two years of intense theoretical training, we get introduced to the clinical set-up of medicine. It is a time both exciting and scary.
He who studies medicine without books sails an unchartered sea,
But he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.
[Sir William Osler was a pretty deep doctor.]