Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day one.

First day of the clinical clerkships. After eighteen months in the classroom with some clinical experiences interspersed, the time has finally come to lay hands and stethoscopes on real, live patients who are counting on you to help them feel better.

Students entering the clinical realm, here's ten quick things for you to know:

  1. Your contribution matters. You can make the diagnosis. You can help someone feel better.
  2. Fear is a good thing. These are human beings not mannequins. Respect that and let yourself feel a little nervous. I'm always a little bit scared. Not. Even. Kidding.
  3. Regardless of what you hear, being a "gunner" is okay. Just gun for your patients--not for your grade or to be liked or to just "look smart." Gun to make sure that the plans are good and that the needs are met. This means doing whatever it takes to help patients on your team get the best care.  If you do this, the grade will come.
  4. Time is on your side. Use it to experience as much as you can. Enjoy the people you meet. Find out who they are. Let them teach you something.
  5. Become what you're doing for that month. Don't just "get through" certain rotations. Take the opportunity to become a psychiatrist or an OB/Gyn, or a neurologist. If only for a few weeks. Then, maybe for life.
  6. Looking interested and professional is just as important as being interested and professional. 
  7. Get in the mix. The old playas in my neighborhood used to say, "Scared money don't make money." Okay, maybe they were talking about dominoes and gambling, but it's all just the same for clinical rotations. Put yourself in the thick of it. Ask questions. Get involved. Be busy. Stay busy.
  8. Teach people. It's a great way to remember what you've learned.
  9. Steer clear of drama. Conflicts on teams? Exit, stage left. Unflattering comments being said about members? Stay out of it. Haters gon' hate. Nothing good can come from you getting wrapped up in it. Especially at this level.
  10. Have fun. Seriously. Because this part is fun. It so, so is. Savor the people and the moments. Consider keeping a journal. 

I have a real top ten that I'm working on that really focuses on students entering the hospital and clinic of medical school. But seeing as I'm sleepy and I have to round early in the morning, that has to wait and this has to do for now. 

More to come, I promise.


Night night.

Happy Tuesday.


  1. Take the time to learn from anyone you meet. Nurses, medical assistants, housekeepers...everyone has something to teach. Especially patients.

  2. From the deck of the Poop,

    You said it as only you can!! The quick ten will make them great doctors if they internalize what you wrote and practice it.



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