Tonight I write to you from my house here in Maine.
Last post was just about a month ago. At the time I was just getting into the swing of things here in our 5th semester. Since then, I have completed my preceptorship in Lewiston, finished my clinical skills classes, as well as virtual clinic. Next week we have a few final assessments and then we start Kaplan next Friday! The semester is flying by. Already over half way done.
Preceptor: Let me just say that this experience was a fantastic introduction into surgery. I got to scrub in on a few more surgery days since I last wrote, as well as some really interesting clinical days. I even got to the point where I was able to suture a real person! How exciting! If any of you are interested in surgery, make sure you indicate so before coming to Maine when they send out the interest survey. As of now, there is only one surgeon who we are able to do preceptor rotations with for our Maine semester. I learned a tremendous amount and look forward to my surgery rotation in my clinical years.
Virtual Clinic: This was also one of the best experiences. It was always a bit nerve-wracking going into, but you get used to them about half way through. I can guarantee that your confidence will skyrocket by the time you finish the class. I can't tell you how much I have been able to improve of my history taking and physical exam skills. Our knowledge of clinical diagnostics and patient management is fantastic after completing the program. A big thanks to all the doctors and standardized patients who are so great at what they do. There is way to much for me to get into detail with what we did and what we have learned, just trust me that you will be very happy with the improvements you will see in yourself. It is a vast consensus that virtual clinic is a great feature of 5th semester.
Clinical Skills Lab: Another awesome opportunity. We learn and master many clinical skills that we will be performing in our clinical rotations and for the rest of our careers. Everything from Arterial blood drawing, Venipuncture, Intubation, IV access, various injection styles, lumbar puncture etc. This stuff really interests me so it was great to get some exposure before the real deal.
Coming this Monday, we have an examination of our clinical skills. You are given a skill at random and must perform it properly as well as answer any questions that area asked of you. Pretty simple, low stress. Just have to make sure you have all the procedures and protocols down. On Tuesday we have our virtual clinic OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). This essentially is just like virtual clinic except they are super strict with your timing. You have to go in as a Doc, interview the patient, come up with a diagnosis, and give a treatment plan. You have 20 minutes to do this. You also have to be a presenter for another patient. Just like I described in the last post. We have lots of practice with this now, just a matter of keeping yourself calm for one last time. Its worth a bit more then the others ;) The final assessment is on Wednesday where we write our final written exam. We had one about 3 weeks ago, and this is the second one that we have to do. I have ACLS practical on Thursday and then start Kaplan on Friday. Will be a busy week.
Thats about it. Ive had some time to explore Portland a bit. Saw the ocean finally. I also went skiing at a place called Shawnee Peak. It is about an hour away. Its a nice hill. Has some more advanced runs for those of you who are Skiers or Snowboarders. Its also pretty close and decently priced if you are looking to go. We went for the evening run so it was a bit cheaper. It was a great night to go as it was perfect weather.
I will be sure to let you guys know how the finals go, and will check in hopefully before Kaplan is over. If not, I will give you a final 5th semester rundown at the end. Also, I will give you some tips on what I have been doing to prepare for Step one while in Maine. Everyone has their own approach, but once I see how successful I was post Kaplan, I will be in a place to give you some advice on what worked and didn't work for me. Be sure to check back for that.
Things I've Learned
-Having time to go to the gym is great. I missed it after not being able to afford the time in SK
-Funyuns are quite delicious. I don't think we have them in Canada..
-Trying to work with Cash like I did in SK is a pain as a Canadian. There is no good way to take out money in the US unless you have a US bank account. I will have to do some digging to figure out the best way to do things.
-I miss having an Ocean view. I also miss walking to school in a weird way. My calfs ardent getting the same workout as they used too get walking up all those Caribbean hills!
-My Fitbit step counts have seen better days.. Walking everywhere is SK was nice for that.
-Having a Dryer is super nice
-Having computer repair stored nearby is very handy. I put a big magnet on my computer by accident and killed by hard drive.... Oppps