We recently asked our medical student bloggers: Do you anticipate having more or less patient contact in your second year? Here are their answers:
Jana Christian, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
I’ll be starting my major clinical rotations in January of my second year, so I anticipate seeing a significant increase in patient contact. Although starting my clinical rotations earlier means that I will be slightly less prepared during my first few days in the hospital, I am excited to have the opportunity to see more patients, complete more physical exams, and brainstorm more differential diagnoses by the time I graduate. Also, this fall, I look forward to working at a local clinic that provides cancer screenings and preventative health education to a diverse community of Blacks, Latinos, and recent immigrants. I feel prepared and eager to increase my patient contact and responsibilities as I continue my medical training.
J. Chika Morah, University of Toledo College of Medicine in Ohio
I definitely anticipate having more patient contact during my second year, compared to last year. As students, we are now better equipped to interact with patients and take on more responsibilities in our free community Care Clinic. Because we are learning more about disease states this year, we will also be exposed to more patient presentations and have to work through diagnosing illnesses. We also have a more intensive Clinical Decision Making (CDM) block, where we get to practice on standardized patients! Finally, as one of the co-presidents of the Student National Medical Association, we have scheduled several service opportunities where we are able to provide free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings to our communities.
Eduardo Salazar, The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
UACOM-Phoenix exposes MS1s to patients early on, and we have a short MS2 year. As a result, I anticipate spending less time with patients as a second-year. However, the skills and knowledge acquired during my MS1 year have made me more comfortable around patients; as a result, I now get more out of each patient encounter. As an MS2, interviewing comes more naturally; I find myself less concerned with avoiding mistakes and more with listening to the patient and their story. Patients then feel comfortable enough to give more complete histories without me having to elicit details from them.
Natalie Sous, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Our curriculum this year is largely geared toward preparation for our board exam in the spring. Fortunately, I will have the opportunity to work with patients through various service groups. For instance, I will be working with a group of interprofessional students to follow patients with complex chronic illness and serve as their care coordination team. I will also be performing regular health screenings at a homeless shelter in Newark. Hopefully, through these opportunities I will have as much patient interaction this year as I did as a first year.
Natalie Strokes, A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
I know I will have a lot more patient contact during my second year when we start seeing patients for at least 8 hours each week. We spend half the time with the same family physician each week so that we get to see patients over time for follow-up appointments such as prenatal visits and visits relating to chronic medical conditions. The other 4 hours is spent rotating with other physicians in specialty areas or with other medical professionals such as dentists, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists and nutritionists. This allows us to recognize what services are available for our patients and gives us a greater insight into which patients should be referred for treatment.
Evan Torline, University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky
Coming into medical school, I was sure that the first couple years would be purely lecture based with little time for anything else. ‘Officially’ the curriculum is still lecture and test based, but I’ve found there are many outside opportunities for patient contact in the second year. Already I’ve been involved in one of our student-run clinics, where we encounter all kinds of patients and problems. It has been great to network and meet physicians in the city who love to teach young medical students. The clinic has also surprised me by tying in things I’m learning in class real-time. Patient contact puts a face to the illnesses I’m learning about and shows me how to become a mindful, humanistic physician with meaningful relationships.
Other questions our medical student bloggers have answered:
- Four years from now, what do you hope to remember about your White Coat Ceremony?
- When working with your cadaver, did you or your team do anything specific to humanize, or de-humanize, the body?
- How can you tell if a medical school has a humanistic approach?
- How can medical training encourage more humanistic interactions with patients?