This week was orientation. It wasn’t the most exciting week, but it felt good to get back to doing something school-related. We had a lot of logistics to cover, which was good. I feel like I finally have a better understanding about what kind of homework/exams I’ll have this year.
In third year after each rotation, I will have to pass a “shelf exam.” The shelf exam will cover common topics and diseases that one should see during that rotation. So, for my first rotation, which is family medicine, the shelf exam will probably cover a lot of diabetes, hypertension, etc. I have heard that the exams usually aren’t too hard, but I think it will be kind of hard to study for them because there is no real material to look over. I will just have to look things up on my own and find a good book that covers relevant topics.
Also once a month all the students in my class that are in Arizona for rotations will meet for “Ed Day.” On Ed day we will take turns presenting different cases and medical journal articles to each other, so in addition to rotations and shelf exams, we have some different homework assignments throughout the year for Ed Day.
The main focus of third year is getting hands on clinical experience and honing one’s physical exam and history taking skills. It is also a time to really start to think about what kind of medicine one wants to practice. I am looking forward to all of my rotations, even the ones I know I don’t want to go into, such as radiology and surgery. The way I see it, it is my one chance to really learn what those kind of doctors do. No matter what field I go into, I will consult with physicians in all other areas of medicine, so I really want to get a good idea of what their job entails and how I can best communicate with them.
I am pretty certain that I want to go into Internal Medicine, and there are a few specialties within Internal Medicine that I want to explore, but there is always a chance I will change my mind, as many students do. The real thing I need to start thinking about is where I want to do residency. I haven’t thought about it at all until this point. It is still a “Future Emily” problem, but at some point this year I need to start trying to figure it out. Just not yet.
Orientation week had some fun aspects, though. We got to practice scrubbing in for surgery. We talked with some different students, residents, and doctors who gave us advice about rotations. We had a suture lab where we got to stitch up pig’s feet. They even had glue and staple guns for us to practice with. And we practiced delivering a baby! That part hit a little too close to home, if you know what I mean, but it was still fun, and I have a better idea of what is going to happen ANY DAY NOW.
I am nervous to start rotations this week, but I have already met my attending physician, and she seems like she will teach me a lot. I am hoping I can handle the long days of seeing patients. It is hard for me to be on my feet for a long time, but at least I only have two weeks of rotations like this.
It should be an interesting week full of new experiences. I just hope I have learned enough to not look like a complete idiot in front of my attending and her patients. But even if I do, I can just chalk it up to “pregnancy brain!”