Monday, July 28, 2008

Emergency Room

As a medical student, I spend quite a bit of time in the Emergency Room. Actually, I spent quite a bit of time in the ER before I went to medical school as well. It's just now I'm not waiting around on one of the beds with my latest skiing/ hiking/ biking/ walking accident. Instead, I'm buzzing around with a clipboard, finding patients, asking them if it's ok for a student to interview them (the answer is always yes- some people think that students are the same thing as residents, they forget that I'm a student, they don't understand the white coat distinction...) And then I start. I start by asking every question on our school supplied H&P template. The template is quite thorough, particularly the review of systems. And, because I'm just learning what is important, I have to ask all the questions. And, even though I'm learning that someone's right knee pain may not be relevant to his acute myocardial infarction, I still have to ask all the questions. We have preceptor group, and should I have to utter the sentence "well I didnt ask about his right knee..." during a discussion, then I look bad. And medical school is all about not looking bad in front of people.

Anyway, the ER. So, I'm buzzing around the ER with the History and Physical template and clipboard in hand, when I see my psychiatrist. Now, I have a regular psychiatrist, but she's away right now so I have this replacement doctor who works for the school. I figured that he had a patient in the ED and was visiting him/her to ask why he/she'd taken all the tylenol. I came back to the ED a few hours later, and my psychiatrist was still there, perhaps questioning another patient of his about why he or she took all the aspirin. Anyway, the psychiatrist was there all day, because, I imagined, his whole practice was going down. And all his patients were in the ED in various stages of distress.

Later I found out that he works in the ED and that those were not HIS patients.

I find this heartening.