Last week I had a standardized patient, and the point of this encounter was to learn how to take a history from a patient on a difficult topic. We had several lectures about death and dying, as well as other difficult topics, such as drug-seeking, abuse, and even people who come in with long lists!
Anyway, my patient was an alcoholic. I got a pretty easy case, considering. I know some of my friends had patients who showed signs of elder abuse, while others had to take a sexual history with an HIV positive patient.
I think I did a pretty good job with my patient. It was kind of difficult to know what to do in the encounter, because I didn’t really need to do a physical, and in the past we have only taken a history and performed a physical. This time, however, I actually discussed the problem with my patient and talked about possible treatments.
It was really fun to counsel a patient, even though it was fake. I tried to be understanding and supportive. My patient was open to making a change, while in real life many patients with drug problems aren’t always receptive to the idea of quitting. But, all-in-all, I survived.
The worst part is yet to come. All of our encounters are videotaped for our benefit if we choose to watch them again, but this time we have to watch them in a group. I am glad I did a good job, but there is always room for improvement. I just get nervous to have others watch me. I just hope they think, “Wow, she will make a good doctor,” versus, “Jeez, how did she get into med school?”
Anyways, that is really all that is new around here. Time is flying by this year, which is good. I am anxious to move to a warmer climate and get started seeing real patients!