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Clinical skills (talking to people is hard…)

So, I mentioned in a previous post that we have clinical skills sessions once a week, always on Wednesday mornings, and that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like clinical skills based on what I heard.  But that was before we’d had even one session: now we’ve had five sessions, so I must have an opinion on it now, right?

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Honestly, I don’t really have a strong feeling one way or another about clinical skills.  On one hand it, I enjoy it, because it actually feels like skills that I’ll use as a doctor (as opposed to biochem) and that’s a nice feeling.  Also, it’s not a class that appears on the exams, so it’s a three hour block of time where I get to dress up in business casual (the clinical skills dress code) and not have to worry about being completely engaged in everything that is said, which is a feeling no one should ever take for granted.

On the other hand, we’re also expected to do interviews with simulated patients, in front of our instructors and peers, and, well…

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I haven’t had to interview a simulated patient yet, though I have had to do it with one of my classmates as a role-playing exercise with the professors watching, and yeah, it’s kind of nerve wracking.  I’m not sucking at it, thank goodness, but it certainly doesn’t feel natural right now.  It also doesn’t help that we have essentially no medical knowledge right now, and most of the scenarios are really heavy on the social situations that are, let’s say “touchy.” Yesterday’s was a touchy one, and it was one of the more “tame” ones.  And you want to be empathetic and calming and conduct an effective interview that gets you all the needed info in the best way, but on the inside, after every sentence internally we’re all just like…

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After I have my first interview I’ll have to make another post, to see how I still feel, but I think this will be one of those things that really does get better with practice and time.  And, next week we should get our instruments (TOYS!!!) and learn how to drape and take blood pressure and use our stethoscopes, which should be a lot of fun.  For now, I suppose I’ll just leave you with this manip that one of my classmates posted to our Facebook group before our first simulated patient interviews this week.

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Yeah, that about sums it up 😉

6 Comments »

      • My “good” actor would even say her age. And it was my resident (one of the doctors, our “teacher” in the hospital, I don’t know if that’s the name you guys call, is it?). So pretty embarrassing..
        Next week, may be I’ll do a real one too.
        Good luck for you!

  1. Really, http://medcatita.wordpress.com (I can’t seem to reply to your comment, because I am dumb!) Wow, our simulated patients come from a program – they’re trained, paid for their time and they have really detailed scripts and none of them are from the school itself! It’s still awkward as all get out, but they actually are pretty good actors! Good luck to you as well 🙂

  2. I’ve just started on the clinical skills things and thats exactly how I feel! Except OSCEs are soon and we’re more like “AGH trying to not forget everything!” Good luck!

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