Thursday, July 13, 2006

First VA experience

Yesterday I spent another morning at the main clinic I go to. I saw several patients, including a couple asthma patients, a fractured little toe, and a toenail fungus (almost impossible to get rid of by the way, unless you want to take drugs with very bad side effects, usually not worth it). I saw a girl who was getting over the stomach flu, her mother brought her in because she thought it was unhealthy for the girl to be sleeping all day. Apparently she has been getting the girl out of bed to eat, and trying to keep her busy during the day. ???. I would be awfully ticked off if I were getting over the flu and someone wouldn’t let me sleep. The doctor very nicely told the mother that it was all right for the daughter to rest as much as needed, and to call if she weren’t back to normal in a couple weeks. I had two patients request that I not be in the room for the first time, although I am surprised that this is not more common. I was fine with it though, if I had hemorrhoids or the other patient’s problem which I will not disclose here I wouldn’t want anyone other than the doctor in the room either.

In the afternoon I had three hours of lecture, two hours of down time, and then a two hour OSCE in which I had to interview three actors pretending to be patients and perform a physical exam on each. These interviews were videotaped, so I then had to watch myself examine one of the patients. I got out in just enough time to make it to Bible study, although I missed dinner. I left the school at 8:00 pm, and met one of my friends leaving the hospital. He’d been there 16 hours! This is what I have to look forward to in a couple months.

This morning I had to go to the VA nephrology clinic. The calendar the school gave me said to be there at 9:00, so I showed up 15 minutes early. One of the clerks led me to a work room and told me to wait there for the doctor. I waited until 9:20, then went out in the hallway and asked someone if the doctor was in yet. Turns out he was in an exam room with another third year student, who was supposed to be with a different doctor who told her to meet him at the VA but then went to the school’s main hospital. So, at 9:45, the doctor left the exam room and I had to chase him down the hallway and tell him that I was supposed to be with him today. He then informed me that clinic starts at 8:00. Argh…Fortunately he is pretty nice, so it was fine, and even if he wasn’t it wasn’t my fault, so whatever. I was prepared before I came for a mix-up based on several stories I have heard. A girl I spoke to yesterday said some clerks told her to wait in a waiting room, so she sat there for twenty minutes before finding out that she was in the wrong place, and the doctor she was supposed to be with had the same last name of the doctor in whose waiting room she sat. Anyway, I saw two patients, both with nephrolithiasis (kidney stones). The VA’s system is entirely computer-based, so I had to type up an H&P note as I was interviewing/examining the patients which was kind of weird.


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