Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It is always a good idea to count to ten and take a deep breath before blogging. If I had written this yesterday it would have been a much different post.

Yesterday we were had our first liver lecture. 8 hours of liver lecture. Aside from the very questionable practice of trying to cram info into malleable brains for 4 hour stretches, many of the lectures were of questionable value. I am not an expert but in my mind it makes sense to talk about the anatomy and function first, then the problems, next how to diagnose and measure the problems and then treat it.
Our agenda: First there was a lecture on physical exam to determine liver disease, then there was a lecture on laboratory tests for liver disease, then a lecture on all the different problems of the liver. A one-hour lecture (with 159 slides) on all the different liver problems. I think it was a record. After there were other lectures on individual diseases. It was mostly incomprehensible. By the end of the day I wasn't just exhausted, I was angry.

Last week were told that 70% of medical students were offered only one spot at a school. The implication being that most students do not have a choice. I don't mean to brag, but I did have a choice and yesterday I was regretting it.
Today was a different story. We again had 8 hours of scheduled time today but it included everything from small group discussion of cases, lectures and practicing of communication skills on standardized patients (actors). Predictably, my interviewing skills are very rudimentary but our preceptor (a family doctor from the community) was great and the patients were really helpful. Even on a fake patient playing doctor was exhilarating. I definitely didn't regret my choice today.


Miette said...

Wow, sounds like really long days. Will it get better? We usually had around 5-6 hrs of scheduled time on any given day, there were a lot of mondays in first year that were eight hours though, seems like only yesterday...

garbage said...

Well, you're a stronger person than me. I quickly developed a habit of skipping lectures. Especially in my fourth year, I think I attended about five lectures the entire year; I only attended lectures on subjects I knew would not be covered well in my textbooks (like medical law).

I must say, rare was the lecture that I attended that was better than sitting in front of a textbook and having a relaxed read.

All in all, once you get to your clinical years, you realise that many of the lectures you had were a waste of time. Things that seem important in the lecture hall are irrelevant by the bedside, and vice versa. (yea, especially that most useless of subjects, Histology)Besides, by the time you get to your clinical years, you've forgotten everything anyway, and you end up relearning everything on the job.

I also had to play doctor with actors. Thinking back, I realise now how utterly fake they were compared to real patients.

Anyway, I'll let you get back to AST, ALT, ALP and gamma-GT land. Don't forget your viral hepatitis studies!

med neophyte said...

I have been tempted to start skipping classes myself. But, while I prefer reading in a coffee shop, I know that I remember things better when I learn them in a lecture. So I will tough it out for the time being, at least until I find a better GI text book.
I am starting to approach doctors to do more shadowing (a task that seems to bring out the shy 12yr old in me). If I spend anymore playing real doctor I will gladly forgo the lecture hall.