I’m back! For the last two weeks I’ve been doing my summer preceptorship. I was working with a physician in a family medicine clinic in rural Nebraska. And I was able to see so many things in just two weeks!
Believe it or not, I really liked family medicine. I had kind of ruled it out as a possible career path, but I’m definitely reconsidering. I loved being able to see so many different things. I always thought family medicine was just seeing patients with colds and doing school physicals. Well – there was a lot of that, but there was so much more!
Our first patient had a carotid bruit! We had several patients with kidney stones. I heard a heart murmur on a little kid. I saw just about every fungal infection in the book! It was great!
I know…I’m a dork. But it was really cool to see all the things I’ve learned about in the past year. I saw everything from syringomyelia and Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome to tinea versicolor and erysipelas! And, it was a big relief to know I didn’t memorize every virus, fungus, and bacteria for nothing!
I like that family medicine tests your knowledge of everything. The physician I was working with had to know his anatomy. He had to be able to read x-rays and CT scans. He had to read EKGs and look at urine samples under the microscope. He was freezing warts and cutting out sebaceous cysts. One day he even had to reset someone’s dislocated jaw!
Family medicine just seems to have it all, and I like that. However, it is also a really stressful job. I’ve never liked the idea of delivering babies because of the terrible hours. Babies are always delivered in the middle of the night it seems.
We tried to induce a patient this past week, and the doctor told me he would call me when she went into active labor. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep too well. I kept waking up and worrying – and she wasn’t even my patient! The doctor said he never sleeps when he has a patient in labor. Well, in August he will be delivering nine babies, which to me sounds like he is going to have a pretty long, sleepless month!
Preceptorship was great – just a bit confusing. At least I know that I want to do something where I get to see a lot of different things. It might not end up being family medicine, but for now, I am at least considering it.
The worst part about preceptorship was watching the doctor enter his electronic medical records. He literally spends twice as much time entering the medical record as he does actually seeing the patient. Definitely not an ideal situation, but such is our modern health care!
I did leave with a lot more confidence than when I started. I felt like, even after just one year, I could diagnose almost anything. There were only a handful of patients that had me baffled, but the doctor wasn’t sure either. My neurology professors would have been proud to see me accurately identifying carpal tunnel syndrome!
It was really fun to see “actual” patients. I find it is much easier to be empathetic when your patient is really sick, and not pretending like one of my standardized patients. I am excited for next year when I start rotations and get to see patients every day!