I felt like a doctor today. My white coat stuffed with a pen, tea bags, tuning fork, otoscope, and all that hefty junk, maximizing my many pockets. My partner Lisa and I finally met our preceptor, an Emergency Medicine resident. Our previous one was this DO doctor in geriatrics who 1) came off as clueless, 2) thought first year medical students had the patients, and 3) would be MIA at Stony Brook because he’d be at the VA Hospital all February. Yes, that was a bust, so we got a new preceptor who is AMAZING. She’s sweet, chill, and very compassionate.
She wandered around finding patients for us. We were in the ER, so most of the patients are itching to get tested, diagnosed, treated, and discharged home. I’m sure they are tired as hell and don’t really want noobs like us probing into their sexual history, palpating their thyroid gland, and blowing a supernova into their eye. But she got a few satisfactory patients for us to practice the history-taking and head/neck exam. Well, I finished the PQQRST on my patient, but barely got through the past medical history, not to say family/social/sexual history… She had a liver biopsy a few days ago, and recently developed this constant pain in the upper right quadrant that radiates to the stomach. She left for a CT scan and came back very tired. She did not have the energy to talk to me, so I just glazed through some basic head/neck exams, like percussing the sinuses, feeling the lymph nodes in the neck, and looking at her eye. Lisa’s patient had serious vertigo, and she got so nauseous and sick that the conversation and exam was not completed either. While the preceptor walked around for more stable patients, I just gossiped with Lisa, just like Grey’s Anatomy.
The last guy was pretty cool. I was awed by the Cardiology fellow who came in to get a history of this patient, who had some emanating chest pains and pain in both upper arms. He let us probe around his ear and mouth and shine a killer nova into his eyes. He was a funny guy; he joked to the three of us, “Is it a requirement to have such good-looking people in here?” What a charmer.