Tuesday, October 24, 2006

FCM, Vascular Reactivity Lab, and Clinic

I had a very long day today. It started out being not so good, but it got better as the day went on. First thing this morning we had FCM. Our lecture this morning was about the Cleveland Free Clinic. (This is different than CHI, which is the CCLCM Free Clinic.) Technically we aren't supposed to have lectures here at CCLCM, but that's what this was. It actually wouldn't have been too bad if it had been about half or even a third the length. Afterward, we broke into our small groups to discuss our service projects. Ok, so aside from the fact that forcing us to volunteer completely defeats the purpose of calling it VOLUNTEERING, the thing that upsets me the most is that the students basically had no say in how anything was being done. My group is supposed to be doing a project at a women's shelter. We did not get to choose this venue. The expectation is that we will volunteer there one afternoon per month for the rest of this year doing some project that we ostensibly initiate on our own. I have to say that being forced to make this kind of time commitment for someone else's project is a real hardship, because I already feel like I'm doing about as much as I can handle in terms of school and extracurriculars, and I don't want to have to give up one of my other activities to make time for this one. The group came up with some preliminary information-gathering things that we wanted to do, and then it was time for seminar. My job is to see about getting a grocery store to donate some food to the shelter. I'm going to go over there on Friday with another student from my group.

The seminar was supposed to be a lab, but the lab was cancelled for some unexplained reason. So instead, we were broken up into four groups, and each group had a faculty facilitator who went over one of the topics with us. We were then supposed to get back together at the end and present our information to the other three groups. Well, let's just say that things didn't exactly go according to plan. I was lucky, because my group was with the senior scientist who organized the whole thing, and he was a very good tutor who got us to think about the topics and reason out the answers for ourselves. But one of the other groups actually got the wrong information from their tutor, and the presentations in general were not particularly helpful because of the lack of time and organization. All in all, I think that I learned a lot during the small group session, but I don't think that the experience was nearly as helpful as it could have been. It is unfortunate that we didn't get to do the actual lab that was planned for us.

Ok, so all in all, that was a pretty lousy morning, but things got much better in the afternoon. I had clinic today, and it was my first day of seeing patients on my own. The weather was very bad, and maybe that was why one of my patients cancelled and another didn't show up at all. So I only saw two patients instead of four. That actually wound up being good, because it gave me more time with those patients and with my preceptor and the residents. For the first patient, I went in to interview her and take her pulse and blood pressure. She wasn't feeling very well, and it was obvious that she didn't really want to talk to me, so I didn't spend very long interviewing her. She wound up getting an EKG, and I got to help the nurse place the leads. Afterward, I went over it with my preceptor. I still remember how to interpret the EKG, but I had to go review all of the leads. There are twelve of them for a standard EKG, if I hadn't mentioned that before, and I didn't remember where all of them go. The second patient was absolutely awesome. She and I spent quite a bit of time talking, and she told me that she was very excited about being one of my first patients. She's been coming to my preceptor for a long time, and since I am going to be working with the same preceptor for the rest of this year plus next year, I hope I will get a chance to see her again.

I was a little bit nervous at first, but overall both interviews and exams went well. I presented each patient and my findings to my preceptor afterward, and then the two of us went into the rooms to see the patients together. During the rest of the time, I followed some of the residents and sat in while they discussed their cases with my preceptor. At the end, I entered my patients into my patient log on the portal. I will have to do this each time after clinic. My preceptor was busy today, so we didn't get a chance to go over my logs, but we are going to do that next time I come. I also didn't do a pap smear yet. Maybe next time.

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