Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finished with Clinical Research Block

Yesterday morning, we had our orientation for the rest of this year. It started at 8 AM with a one hour pathology session. This was followed by about three straight hours of FCM course information. If the goal was to overwhelm us and overload us, I would say that the FCM course directors have succeeded admirably. (In this context, when I say FCM, I'm not just talking about the Tuesday morning class on humanities in medicine that we take. Physical Diagnosis, Communications Skills, and Longitudinal Clinic are technically also included under the broad heading of FCM, although we don't usually refer to them that way.)

I am feeling relatively skeptical about some of the plans that are in store for us this year. For example, we have to tape an interview with a longitudinal clinic patient. This requires us to check out a video camera and operate it successfully on our own, as well as obtain a patient's signed informed consent. I am not good at operating video cameras or any other electronic equipment. I can already forsee spending a few hours wrestling with the stupid camera in my immediate future. To make matters worse, the first years are also apparently being required to do this, and all 64 of us will be competing for the same five video cameras.

In addition, we are supposed to be doing these research hypothesis generation projects four times this year during POD. The interesting part is that they will be having first year grad students from Lerner working with us. Ostensibly, this is supposed to allow us to learn basic science from them and them to learn clinical science from us. The fact that even the least experienced person in my class already has significantly more basic science background than a first-semester grad student strikes me as being a significant flaw in this plan. In addition, the grad students will presumably not be attending our PBL sessions, so I'm not quite sure how they are going to know what we're creating hypotheses about.

The biggest change, of course, is that we will have clinic and clinical skills twice a week now instead of just once. That, at least, is something that I knew was coming. My clinic and clinical skills days will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We are also apparently going to continue having FCM (the class) in future years, although we've been assured that it will be done differently now that CCLCM is creating its own FCM curriculum and not trying to coordinate with the Case UP's FCM curriculum. I'm trying to be open-minded about it, because I do believe that the faculty is sincerely trying to improve the class. One of our sessions is apparently going to involve a trip to the art museum. Well, it may not be the best possible use of my time, but at least it should be fun to do. I'm also glad that they are finally going to have us learn to use Epic, which is the Clinic's electronic charting system. There have already been several times within the last year when I wished I was able to use Epic on my own, and we'll definitely need to be able to use it next year when we hit the wards.

In the afternoon yesterday, our class went through the second set of summer research presentations, and the last third of them were today. One thing I forgot to mention is that my summer PSS tutor from last year came to all of my PSS group members' talks. The eight of us from last summer's PSS group were spread out all over the three days, but our tutor still came to see every one of us give our talks and find out how we were doing. This is the kind of thoughtfulness that reminds me about why I chose to come to this school in the first place. It was incredibly nice of her to come listen to talks for three straight days considering that she has basically not seen most of us for an entire year, and she has been working with a new group of first years doing PSS this summer. To my old PSS tutor: if you're reading this, thanks again for being so supportive. :-)

At this point, all I have left to do is to finish my second stats project and do the upcoming epi project. These are both for my MS classes--the people not getting grad credit are done for the block. I am getting close to finishing the stats project, and we're supposed to get the epi one this weekend. It sucks that I'll have to do it over break now, but I don't want to have to worry about it during our NMS block. So I'm going to have to just suck it up.

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