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The Differential

Day One of Clinical Training

Amanda Xi, Medical Student, 04:23PM Jul 7, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013 marked the first day of my clinical training. It didn’t feel like a momentous moment at all – instead, it felt like another day in the classroom because the majority of it was filled with administrative information and tasks. But once the afternoon rolled around and I was thrown headfirst into gathering information for a surgical consult, I realized that this patient marked my first unaccompanied clinical encounter. Previously, I had interviewed and performed physical exams on patients under the supervision of a preceptor. The preceptor would watch and listen then provide immediate feedback on how I could improve my technique. But as I entered the patient’s room, there was no guide or crutch to fall back on. This time, I was on my own.

After gathering basic information and performing a brief physical exam, I paged my resident. Once my team arrived, I recited the information I collected. He proceeded to probe for more information. Was she nauseous? Vomiting? Did she notice any mental status changes? As the questions continued to fly, I realized that my history and physical (H&P) was missing very significant pieces of information. For moment, I wondered if I really was ready for the rigors of being on the floors.

As the week progressed, I started to realize that it is equally important to make these types of mistakes and correct them, as it is to study the material on a daily basis. Medical training is structured so that we can identify our shortcomings and address them under the supervision of an experienced medical team. There will be times when I will know the answer or will perform a stellar H&P, but those won’t be the times that I look back upon as learning experiences.

About This Blog

Medical school and residency can be a stressful, demanding time. These medical students share their insights and experiences, good and bad, in order to create a community of support and understanding for medical students everywhere.

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  • Amanda Xi

    Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, Michigan

  • Alexa Mieses

    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York

  • Casey Sharpe

    University of Texas Medical Branch at Austin, Texas

  • Carl Streed Jr

    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Matt Wiepking

    University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

  • Rick Pescatore

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Sara Teichholtz

    Medical School for International Health, Be'er Sheva, Israel

Olaseni Ajibade

Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, Georgia

Bryce Krishna Cragg

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas

Zoyah Thawer

McMaster University School of Medicine, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Abraar Karan

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California

Annie Chiu

Albany Medical College, Albany, New York

Felix Lee

University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky


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