Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm back...

So I've just ended my month off. Trauma surgery ended well, it's the first rotation I've been on that I've woken up early the next morning and thought that I wouldn't mind doing it for another month. Since I was on call June 30th I didn't leave the hospital until July 1st therefore I got to see the new interns--very weird to think that I will be in their position in less than a year. I flew home and enjoyed two weeks with my family away from my place of exile, then returned to take step II. The written exam was 9 hrs long, by the end of the day my eyes were glazed over and I would regularly jolt out of a stupor and realize that I had been staring at the same question for several minutes--fortunately I managed to finish each block within the hour time limit. Now, thankfully it is over...hopefully I won't have to take it again! Monday I went to take the clinical skills section of step II, which is a total joke--it's fairly pointless and took $1000 out of my pocket (I will stop my criticism here as I tend to get extremely heated and long-winded when I get going on this topic). Also, no matter how good the actors are, they are still actors in clearly contrived situations, and they respond like actors with a script, not like real patients. ("Have you noticed any blood in your stool?" "No, doctor [yes, we were addressed as "doctor" throughout the day], there has been no blood in my stool and my bowel movements are regular"). Naturally, even though the scenarios were fairly simple (and I have far too much respect and healthy fear for the USMLE people to give any examples whatsoever) I still managed to forget key questions to ask on virtually every patient, then remembered them as soon as I left the room (once you leave the room you can't go back in) so thus spent much of the day mentally kicking myself.

Today I started my month of breast disease--in a way I am glad to be seeing patients again, but at the same time last month I grew accustomed to a certain standard of living (get out of bed whenever I want, play online for as long as I want, etc, etc) that I am somewhat loath to give up. Fortunately, this is going to be a fairly light rotation. I will spend days with surgeons in clinic, surgeons in the OR, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists to see breast disease from all aspects. Today was an OR day--there was only one case and it was scheduled to follow an I&D around noon. So I got to the hospital around 1100, only to find that they had switched the cases and started with the lumpectomy at 1000. Fortunately, the surgeon and resident realized that there was no way I could have known since I wasn't on service in the hospital--the resident hadn't known until five minutes before the case started. (The reason by the way that I chose to do a month of breast disease [which I feel obligated to tell every non-medical person I know without even being asked] is because the breast surgeon is also the program director, and thus is a desireable person to a) get to know since I could very well be ranking this program highly in the match and b) write a letter of recommendation. Also, breast surgery is a fairly significant part of general surgery so it will be good for me to be familiar with anyway.)

The main thing going on in my life now that boards are over is getting my residency application ready. So far I have written the rough draft of my personal statement, entered most of the necessary information into ERAS, started making a list of programs I will apply to, formulated my CV (pathetically short and unimpressive) ,and met with the chairman whom I had never even seen before to ask him to write me a letter of recommendation (he will by the way). I still have to polish my personal statement, meet with my advisor to talk about programs and ask for a letter of recommendation, meet with one of the deans to discuss the dean letter, do well on my current rotation so I can meet with the program director and ask for a letter of recommendation, and...I'm sure there are several other things that I am forgetting at the moment. I despise the application process and have been dreading this since I started medical school. I don't despise the paperwork half as much as I despise interviewing however, so I've got a long way to go yet...


Anonymous Alice said...

That "no going back in the room" business is so fake anyway. One of the hardest things I had to learn, and am still learning, is that it's better to humble yourself and look dumb in front of the patient by going back a second or third time to ask things that you forgot, than to just ignore pieces of the history, or present inaccurately to your superiors. I force myself to go back into rooms. I think we ought to persuade next year's senior class to all boycott Step 2 CS, what do you think? :)

5:11 PM  
Blogger Chris Emlyn said...

I think that would be a great idea--someone has to stop the madness!

3:09 PM  

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