Thursday, September 16, 2010

omg, we get to act like doctors

So today was my first day of going to the hospital for actual doctor stuff. ha. We left campus a little after 8am & I slept most of the way because of the Dramamine. (Normally I don't get carsick, but the ride being as windy & stop & go as it is here makes for a rough trip) When we got there we went into the "classroom" where we got our assignments along with a little briefing of the day's schedule. We were also informed to not treat our afternoon patients like we do our ICM practice exams, you know, since these are actual real patients and might take it less well if we comment on the shape of their head or whether or not they're missing teeth. (General Survey is quite special)

Anyway, I was assigned to surgery, and she told us we would need our scrubs, but we don't have to change yet like the students going to the path lab. The lights went out in the classroom (just another day in Dominica), and those of us who had received our assignments went out to the hall to wait. I thought that would be a good opportunity to use the restroom, and the woman overheard me and said something like "no, don't change yet", so I got to inform everyone that no, I actually just had to go to the bathroom. I know how to follow directions, it's amazing, I know.

Got changed into scrubs, put on the funny hair cap thing & the covers to put on over our shoes, and the face mask. Then our surgeon had taken off somewhere so the 3 of us assigned to surgery were told to go in and listen to the anesthesiologist give his talk to those 3 students. I hadn't really bargained on an hour lecture of respiratory & cardio physio review (alright, I didn't really time it, but it felt like FOREVER) in a tiny warm room. We finally got to go in and watch an umbilical hernia repair. Let's face it, none of us really knew where to stand at first since we didn't want to get in the way, but ultimately I ended up standing right between the surgeon & the nurse anesthetist (I'm guessing) that was squeezing the bag that gave the kid air. When I found out I would be watching surgery I admit I was a little nervous. The last time I watched my family doc cut stuff off of people I got a dizzy & lost my breath a bit, but I was sort of enthralled this time. Mostly I was amazed at how rough the doctor was pulling on the tissue. Sure, I know the patient can't feel anything, but it just seems creepy to me to be jerking around on somebody's belly button. The actual surgery took a grand total of like 10-15 minutes. We followed the kid into recovery, and then had another long wait of looking at x-rays from a fractured femur. Don't ask me why we were looking at those though, because the next surgery was removing lumps from a woman's breasts. Stood in the same spot to watch, and this time we saw the nervous patient before she was put under. Again, the surgeon was rough. If anyone tugged my breasts around that way I'd smack him.

After that surgery we went back to have lunch. I packed something because another student warned me "TAKE FOOD WITH YOU AND SOME CASH OR YOU'LL STARVE LIKE AN AFRICAN CHRISTMAS GOAT ON JENNY CRAIG!!" bahahaha, thanks for that image Lenny.

For the afternoon we were split into different groups of 3 that would go interview a patient & do as much of the physical exams as we know at this point (which includes cardiovascular, respiratory, and abdomenal). It was okay, but the guy in my group was super annoying, and pretty much didn't know how to do the abdomenal exam despite agreeing that he would do it. And our patient was a bit difficult because he seemed confused about when things happened, and instead of keeping to the point was just really chatty. We took longer than we were supposed to. Oh well, it was fine. People in Dominica don't really abide by the whole time concept anyway - it's "more guidelines than actual rules". (points if you know where that's from! ;))

That concludes a review of my FIRST hospital visit as a med student.


  1. Sounds like fun! thats easy, Pirates of the caribbean.

  2. Well, I know it's easy, but there are a few people who haven't seen the movie!