So 7th is starting out of the gate at breakneck speed. Today I had to perform a physical exam, obtain pre-anesthetic blood work, and meet with the owner of my spay patient. I was in the clinic for three hours getting all of that done and approved by clinicians before proceeding to the next step. I'm pretty exhausted.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well my surgery partner and I worked together. It was predictably a little awkward in places. You're both trying to wear the "doctor hat" at the same time and also trying to avoid stepping on each others' toes. We had a few moments where it felt like we were both trying to take the reins, but we resolved it quickly and amicably when it happened. Overall I think we'll work really well together throughout the rest of the semester.
One thing that surprised me today was that my confidence in performing a physical exam has grown considerably since 1st (possibly 2nd?) semester. In Anatomy I (I think, it could have been Anatomy II) we are taught how to perform a physical exam and then are walked through the exam in lab. Then we don't do one again until 5th semester in Intro to Clinics. Then we don't do another one until our spay lab in 7th semester. I think this is a good pace that allows students to really appreciate the difference of where they started and ended in their preclinical education.
I felt completely lost in Anatomy and to some extent also in Intro to Clinics. I had seen physical exams performed a thousand times as a tech. I knew the steps, I could probably even do the motions in my sleep. Hell, I'd be willing to bet most of the general public could even describe and perform most of the steps in a physical exam. But it's the interpretation that gets lost in translation. I could put my hands in the right places, but what you're feeling for and why and what it means is an acquired skill. Today I finally felt like I knew why I was doing what I was doing instead of just mimicking in a monkey-see, monkey-do fashion. It was nice.
We put in our clinical placement preferences today. I requested special consideration for Oregon State, since my husband is just a border away in Washington. It's about a six and a half hour drive, and a much shorter flight and we'd be able to see each other one or two weekends each month. Hopefully it's enough to secure my spot there. If not, I don't really care where I go so long as they have a decent lab animal/exotic animal rotation.