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Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Rotation

I started my first rotation on August 15th in Internal Medicine. So, far I love it! It is really nice not being in the classroom each day, but more than anything, it feels great making a difference in people’s lives. Each day I meet new and amazing patients. Each person has their own personality and way of interacting with their Doctor and myself.

If there is something that I learned from PCOM other than a huge knowledge base, it is a way of interacting with patients that seems almost second nature. All those standardized patients we were giving over 3 terms taught me well. One may think it is easy; you are just having a conversion with someone about their health, but, this is not true. You are giving patients the opportunity to trust you enough to be honest with you about their personal health and habits. This is personal information. It takes asking the right questions and using the right tone to get the appropriate answers to find out their diagnosis and treat them.

Another great aspect of this rotation is my preceptor, he is amazing. I aspire to be loved as much as he is loved by his patients. He has had patients for over 15 years because they believe and trust in him. I have also seen him tackle multiple obstacles with patients. Diagnosis seems only part of the difficulty in medicine, because once you find this diagnosis you have to explain it to the patient, go through the treatment and see if they are willing to change their habits and accept the treatment. Many cases patients don’t believe in taking medication. Especially for hypertension, high blood pressure, it is called the “silent killer” for a reason, most patients feel fine. We try to explain every day that hypertension is a very serious diagnosis that needs medical treatment and life style changes.

On the other side, there are patients who are relying on you to help them and will do anything you say to not be in pain. Sometimes you have to play the part of a friend and just listen or be a shoulder when they cry. The other day I met a woman who was in so much pain she could not stand or even sit without fidgeting to get into a comfortable position. Unfortunately, there was not much we could do for her pain that would be a cure all. However, she was appreciative of our time and through her tears she told me “your smile means a world of difference and it’s an act that many of us do that costs nothing, thank you.”