Clerkship Coming Up

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It’s well into February, many premeds have just taken (and are starting to receive their scores), physician interns are well on their way to transitioning to their “resident” status, 4th year medical students are out on their residency match game, 3rd year students have been kidnapped by their clerkships, 2nd year medical students across the country are starting to (or have) select their clinical rotations for (3rd year) clerkship, 1st year students are completing their “twelve labors“, and premedical students are fueling the fire for the next generation of physicians — some have just received their MCAT score, either way it went, congratulations because it shows commitment it’s a big deal to have the guts to sit for it. What about attendings? Well, they’re attendings, so they’re off being badasses and wearing sunglasses somewhere, long white coats flapping heroically in the wind all the while.

Where am I in this spiral towards doctoring? Well, in 30-some days, I’ll finish the 2nd year of medical school and have already chosen the preference for my rotation order:

  1. OB/GYN

All the rotations above are mandatory, with the exception of the one marked elective i.e. Radiology. We had a choice between emergency medicine, radiology, or time for research work. At this point in time, I’ve conducted two cardiology department projects; one of the projects the PI wants to publish and I was invited to be a co-author. I’m pretty excited for this, when I was an undergrad I completed research projects before, and have done a few conferences here and there, but I’ve yet to publish a manuscript. The great news is that the second project, a pilot, secured our team an appreciable grant to develop our project. Unfortunately, my PI is also leaving to another institution as they’re interested in his work, he’s been trying to coax me to follow him their for residency (more on that at another time). There was another lab I was considering (heart amyloidosis, we’re a center for its treatment), but at the advice of some physicians I’ve decided to use my elective for something more “clinical”. This elective I’ve decided to take radiology, the next year I’ll probably opt for emergency if given the opportunity.

As a first year student, I still remember shadowing the trauma team. Well, it started off as shadowing, until we got slammed and I started taking histories (first month of medical school). A young lady had a likely pelvis crush injury, and we weren’t sure if she had perforated any bowel nor if she could walk. A lot of things happened that night, at some point I was sent up with the residents for a consult with radiology on the crush patient. When we were invited into the darkened room filled with huge monitors, I saw not only the scans from our patient but many others. I saw the difference in knowledge between myself and the doctors, the resident and their attendings. I think that was the first time I relieved how important radiology was. I’m not really aiming to be a radiologist, but I do want to be good at interpreting.

I’ve also elected, but still awaiting to see my schedule, to have most of my clerkship rotations at Boston Medical Center network. We have to do one “away” rotation, some people have elected to do rotations in sunny California, I’m going to do my “away” rotations in this state. I’m from California, there’d be some irony in me doing my away rotations towards home, would there? With any luck, as I don’t have a car nor want another, I hope I’m sent to a rotation that’s far enough away that I can use the provided school residence for living here in Massachusetts. There are rotations in the limbo zone, rotations far enough away to be difficult to get to, yet not far enough away that housing is provided — if that’s the case I might have to purchase a car, indeed a mutual loss for Gaia.

And lastly, I’m considering returning to California for vacation this summer. I’ve had time off, but I technically haven’t had a “vacation” since I started medical school. That includes not returning to California. I’m both excited and oddly nervous, it’s only been a couple of years, but I’m sort of afraid to see what has changed — less in location and more in relationships. Will I come off as a jerk? Have I changed? They told us we would, and I know I have. For the last two years, I’ve talked to nothing but medical students and doctors, am I even interesting to talk to anymore? I’m really excited to escape the medical student persona, it’ll be one of the last chances that I can, and I really hope none of my friends ask me questions about bowel movements. Fingers crossed.



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