I received an email last week that I passed my pre-rotation OSCEs! My score in the Physical Exam portion was absolutely terrible, but I like to think that that’s what these next two years are for. I am finally (and very officially) a third-year medical student! Or OMS-III, as my med school likes to call us.
Or “shortcoat,” if you want to be derogatory.
The majority of my schedule has been set, and I’m very excited for this upcoming year, mostly because I’ve finally been granted access to the real world again. I get to interact with actual living beings!? NO WAY!!! I talked about it some in my coffee date, but I wanted to elaborate on it a bit before I get back to the grind.
Last week, I [finally] went self-hosted. I’ve been mulling with the idea for ages, but it finally came to fruition. Why? Because I was on unintentional vacation.
Due to some slip-up/miscommunication with the administration, my preceptor had no idea that I was to be working with her for the next 8 weeks. She’s very nice though, and I’ve been learning a lot (feeling extremely incompetent too, but working on it). She told me I should take the chance to go home to California to visit my friends/family while she was on vacation, which was very, very sweet of her, but despite being on “vacation,” my daily 7 a.m. didactics were still mandatory, so I decided to use the time to:
- Read all the articles she’d told me to go over.
- Brush up on the information that I may have forgotten.
- Clean my apartment so that I wouldn’t chance tripping and breaking something just by walking across the room (My toe is purple right now because I accidentally smashed it against the pavement yesterday evening when I was walking to the park.).
- Catch up on life (update my budget, pay bills, answer emails, send out packages, sell books, plan out my life, etc.). I’ve sold 14 books so far and made enough to feed me for the next 5 months (if I’m operating under my $50/month grocery limit). Since food is the only area where I’ve been splurging for the past several years, it will likely just last me 3 months vs. 5, but I’ll take what I can get.
- Start and finish my blog project (aka self-host). I am archaic and exceptionally technologically challenged, so it was a tedious process, but at least it’s up and running once more! (Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of experience living on the strugglebus over the past couple years.)
I’m proud to say that I managed to get through all of the above, although #2 will forever be a work in progress.
Third year is the time where you figure out what it is that you want to spend your life doing (aka choosing your specialty)! I’ve been pretty dead set on Family Medicine for the past 6-7 years, but I’ve made myself promise to keep an open mind.
- Family Medicine (8 weeks)
I’m officially off “vacation” starting tomorrow, so I hope I’ll be up to snuff! This is what I want to do, so I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not better at this. (So far, I just feel like I’ve been slowing her down and/or disappointing her with my apparent lack of knowledge (I keep blanking out or not knowing what she’s going for when she asks me questions! :[ ), but I’m hoping for a very strong upward trend!) I keep trying to tell myself that it was only the first week. I have 6 weeks to prove myself!
- Vacation (4 weeks)
I’ve been questioning my decision to take my entire vacation so early on in the process, but it made sense at the time, because finding a random place that would take me for 2 weeks seemed much less likely to happen, and…well, I really want to go to Costa Rica with my family. (It’s a 14-day cruise because my mom is magical when it comes to finding amazing deals, but I’m most excited for Costa Rica). I’m planning on sneaking back to PHAC to help out and to see if there are any physicians there who’d be willing to be my preceptor during 4th year.
- Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
If anything, I think this will be pretty exciting. I’ve actually always found EM to be really interesting, but am not so sure that it’s something I would want to spend my life doing. (I feel like I’d burn out pretty quickly.) I also like the idea of being able to follow up on my patients (hence, my interest in FM), and I feel that this wouldn’t allow for as much of an opportunity with that.
- Dean’s Selective: Radiology (2 weeks)
Still pending at the moment! I’m hoping for Radiology because it’ll count as part of my rural requirements and will also be super helpful for my general learning/knowledge/training.
- Dean’s Selective: Cardiology (2 weeks)
Despite the fact that I got IP (Instructor Potential!) after I passed my ACLS tests with flying colors, I still don’t feel all that confident with reading EKGs, and I am absolutely terrible at hearing the subtleties of heart (+ lung) sounds… So although I’m a little apprehensive about this one, it’ll be very good for me. This is what one of the previous students said!: “will expose you to all there is to non-invasive cardiology. You will read and present plenty of EKGs, auscultate a variety of heart murmurs (as well as lung sounds), and see a good amount of echos as well. After this rotation I [felt] very confident in being able to read EKGs and to pick up the subtle lung and heart sounds/murmurs.”
- Internal Medicine I (4 weeks)
The eval logs for my preceptor are mixed. Some say you don’t get to do much at all and others say that he gives you your own patients to manage. I’m usually a big believer in “it’ll be what you make of it” so I guess I’ll just let him know that I’m very enthusiastic to learn and do my best!
- Pediatrics I (4 weeks)
If I can’t get my OMT requirement out of the way with my current rotation, this is probably the only other chance I’ll have to do it this year (ahh!) Aside from my medical service trip in the spring to the Dominican Republic, I never had a chance to work with kids, so this will be good for me!
- Psychiatry (4 weeks)
No preceptor assigned yet, but this should be interesting! One of my closest friend’s weddings happens to fall in between here somewhere, so I’m hoping to find a way to escape back to CA for one weekend without completely murdering my dwindling bank account.
- Elective: Family Medicine (4 weeks)
This one’s up to me to set up and I’m currently torn. There’s a hospital back in my home state that will take third years and one of the senior residents is someone I used to volunteer with(!). He speaks 5 languages, reads/writes 2 others, and is one of the nicest people I’ve ever known, so I’d absolutely love to learn from him, but I don’t know whether it’s wise to rotate at a place where I might potentially want to do my residency if I currently seem to know nothing. My other options include a clinic back home (would be awesome + would give me a chance to work on my diminishing other-language skills again!) or living with a friend in rural WV to do a Sports Med(!!!) rotation.
- Surgery 1/General (4 weeks)
Surgery is probably #2 on my list of probably-do-not-wants, mostly because what I value most about being a physician is being able to interact with/get to know my patients, and if they’re out cold…that’s a little difficult. However, in scouring the site evals, I found a wealth of glowing reviews for one particular surgeon, so I requested him as my preceptor and got assigned to him! I’ve been hearing amazing things about him where I’m currently working too, so I’m actually pretty excited for this one. Even if I don’t [think I] want to do surgery, I think there’s a lot I could learn from him on just being a great physician/human being.
- OB/GYN (4 weeks)
Historically, this is the rotation that I dread the most. A fake OB simulation lab caused some major stress in my life last year, and I almost passed out when I witnessed a c-section for the first time 4 years ago. (I’m fine now, but childbirth? Still not my thing.) I was rather overjoyed, however, to read on the site evaluation logs that if I have the preceptor I’ve been assigned to, “I will never go hungry.” My neighbor told me that he frequently takes his students out to lunch (even 3-course meals!) and that he adores food, so I believe we will get along swimmingly.
- Internal Medicine II (4 weeks)
No preceptor assigned yet!
I’m so, so glad to be done with my pre-clinical years! 😀