Friday, August 20, 2010

Clinical Competency Exam

Well, I made it through my exam today. While my kids were enjoying honey biscuits with fruity cheerio smiley faces for breakfast with my mom, I was tackling my senior Clinical Competency Exam.

Imagine a clinic full of patients waiting for you to see them....each ready to grade you on your attitude, medical interview questions and physical exam.  Not to mention the conspicuous digital clock on the computer screen counting down each precious second during your 15 minute time limit.  During that time we have to interview the actor-patient, perform a physical exam, counsel the patient and answer any questions they have.  Then you have 7 minutes to write your note on the encounter.  Whew.

Fortunately, by this point in my training, functioning in this environment is nothing new.  Still, the time pressure is unmistakable, and I am not used to examining actors.  I do my best to play my part and pretend I am really in clinic seeing patients.  Since I love being in clinic seeing patients, that usually puts me more at ease.  But then, there are always situations that catch you off guard.....

Like the scenarios outlined in my Clinical Skills review book, which I was skimming last night before my exam:

A patient may yell at you.  Just remain calm. Try to remember they are just actors.
A patient may ask you how she got her sexually transmitted disease when she has only one partner.
A patient may say to you, 'stop asking me these stupid questions and get me medicine for this pain!'
A patient needing surgery may ask you for a drink of water.  Don't be fooled!  They must have nothing to eat or drink before surgery.

These may sound like testing trickery, but I have actually encountered each of these situations in real life during my clinical years.  As jolting as they may be in a test, they can be even more significant in real life, so it is important to always be prepared.  Fortunately, our medical school doesn't try too much trickery and none of the actors yelled at me today.  Just good, solid patient scenarios to make sure we can function in the role of a physician.

Now onto the weekend!  And thanks be to God for one more test done.

1 comment:

B-Mama said...

How I'd love for you to be my doc. Congratulations! Sit back and relax now! You've earned it...