Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bone Formation Seminar, PBL, and Clinical Skills

This morning's seminar was about how bone is formed from cartilage. It would have been helpful if we had learned about cartilage already, but the seminar was ok in spite of that. We'll be doing the cartilage next week. The faculty switched the order this year because MLK's birthday on Monday is an official CCLCM holiday. Today's material went more into inorganic chemistry (lattice energy, solution chemistry, crystallization) than physics. The seminar speaker was the same biomedical engineer who led yesterday's seminar, and he's a pretty good presenter. I have to say though that two hours of bone bioinorganic chemistry was way more than I ever wanted to know about the subject.

PBL today was short. I guess we went over the main part of the case last time, because there was basically nothing for us to go on today except a set of normal blood lab test results and a short paragraph about the patient's treatment. My learning objective for Friday is about the effect of diet on bone formation.

We had clinical skills class this afternoon, and it was kind of rough. There is always an introduction at the beginning where all of us are together in one room, and we get a brief overview of what we'll be doing that day. This week we were focusing on getting the patient's perspective about their problems and concerns for the communications portion of the class. The communications faculty showed us a brief video of someone doing this, and to their surprise, most of the students thought that the interviewer was condescending and otherwise not very effective. Apparently the video interviewer is supposed to be some kind of communications expert, so it's pretty funny that we all thought she was so awful. The communications session itself wasn't too bad, except that my standardized patient denied having any concerns at all about the lump in her breast. I tried several times to get her to talk about it with no luck. Not being concerned must have been in her script though, because she wouldn't talk about it to anyone else, either.

However, it was the physical diagnosis part of the class that was the most frustrating. For some reason that is unknown to me, we are doing the neurological exams now, even though we don't know anything about neuroanatomy yet. So the preceptor is asking us how to test the function of all of the cranial nerves (the nerves in the head), and I don't even know what all of them do or where they go. We won't start studying this stuff until next month after we finish the musculoskeletal unit. And the really senseless thing is that the physical diagnosis skills we'll be doing next month while we're studying neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are for the musculoskeletal system! I don't feel like I know very much about the neuro exams at all. I was basically just going through the motions of performing the exam without understanding everything I was doing. Well, I guess the one good thing is that at least we'll understand what we're doing during the musculoskeletal physical diagnosis session next month.

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