Today we start learning how to act like doctors.
After nearly two semesters of seeing nothing but the academic side of medicine, we are finally moving into the social aspect of the practice and art of medicine. Here in Introduction to Clinical Medicine class, we’re going to start learning how to talk to patients, how to get information from patient interviews, and how to conduct physical exams (and feel comfortable about it).
I have to admit, before today, I hadn’t had much expectations for ICM. But after hearing Dr. McC speak on stage, making her points through fascinating stories from her own vast experiences as a clinician, I must say, wow, I was quite impressed! I haven’t been excited like this for a course in a while! The 2 hours of lecture was quite enjoyable and flew by fast. ICM will be quite different from the concrete, objective, hard-facts we’ve been learning so far in our other classes. The course is a refreshing change and a reminder of why I want to do more than just learn about medicine, but practice it.
The purpose of us taking ICM so early on in our medical school careers is to prepare us for the clinical semesters during 3rd and 4th year. By then, when the doctor asks us to go into a room and talk to a complete stranger to get a patient history, we will know how to approach the task with confidence. The practice of medicine would feel quite awkward and intimidating for someone experiencing it for the first time, like touching the body of a stranger or asking people you have never met about very intimate information. But after we take ICM, when the doctor in our clinicals asks us to do a colorectal exam, we won’t feel awkward because we would have already done it during our Basic Sciences years at ICM, on a simulated patient (trained actors) and in front of an instructor. In short, ICM is to prevent us from embarrassing ourselves and make us shine like the professionals we want to be when we get into our clinical rotations.
In this course, we will attend both lectures as well as small group sessions, each consisting of about 10-12 students. Each group is led by a medical faculty here at AUC. Today we were introduced to the 16 doctors (well, 12 MDs, 2 MD/PhDs, and 2 PhDs) who were going to teach the 170+ of us their skills and experiences as clinicians. They come from all backgrounds and fields. Dr. M, the physician I was assigned, is British and practiced in London as a specialist for several decades and has taught at AUC for some 20-odd years. He has a fascinating story to tell and with as much experience as he has, I am looking forward to being trained by him.
Check out all my new ICM equipment!