The orientation for clinical sciences was like most other orientations we sit through in our lifetimes: drab, dry and boring. In fact for an orientation there was hardly any information given at all. In a handful of minutes we were left pondering infinitely more questions then we were given answers to. There was one bit of information that did stick out in the Dean’s presentation: clinical sciences is a vastly different monster than the first two years of medical school. The pace is set by you, the standard set for you is the one that is set for yourself. While there are occasionally exams from time to time the majority of your grade is based on the arbitrary opinion of you formed by your resident/attending.
How right he was. For 18 months we scrambled to vindicate ourselves based on 4 exams per semester for each class. Now it’s about initiative, passion, and in many cases, who can brown-nose the best. And did we ever brown-nose.
As horrific as it sounds, in many ways it’s a good lesson about practicing medicine. Gone are the days when a doctor whips through an exam room like a whirlwind assessing the problem with the patient and then telling them what to do to remedy it. As doctors we have to be able to approach people, try to educate them about their diseases and help them help themselves as best as possible. All in 10 to 15 minutes. So while often we find ourselves gritting our teeth as our attendings/residents walk all over us, it prepares you for dealing with difficult patients. Not that you should let them walk all over you, but sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and take a massive dose of awkwardness so that the patient can receive the care that they need. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
Yes, I’m aware that my hair is long and rendering the surgical cap useless.