As fifth semester students about to enter clinicals, it is important that we learn how to do the basic clinical skills we will be doing in the hospitals the next two years, like venipuncture, phlebotomy, suturing, or intubation. In previous semesters, I have gotten a taste of all of these skills, including drawing blood, but I have never learned how to give an IV. Because our fifth semester schedule conflicted with the AMSA venipucture and intubation workshops, Morgan, who is a current med student, paramedic, and the instructor for the AMSA workshops, was kind enough to spend a few hours of his time to give us a special workshop just for Eileen, Abe, Nick, and I.
In total that afternoon, we learned how to intubate, draw blood, and give an IV. Putting in an IV is a little different than drawing blood. What eventually stays in the vein is a flexible plastic tube rather than a hard metal needle. I got to practice the skill of pushing the plastic tube further into the vein while withdrawing the metal needle that kept the tube’s structure out of the arm. Nick, as brave as he was, survived the accidental blood bath I gave him because I forgot to tamponade his vein while withdrawing the needle from the tube in his arm.
I had a great time learning these skills with my friends. The best way to learn is to practice, and we certainly got some practice on each other and personalized attention from an instructor who has done this thousands of times. Because of AMSA’s workshops, I’ll be more prepared and comfortable in clinicals when I am asked (and expected) to perform these skills from my attendings. For anyone about to enter AUC, I highly recommend going to every one of AMSA’s workshops. I recommend going to them once in your earlier semesters (preferably first or second semesters when you are less busy) and then go to them again during your fifth semester to refresh your skills before going off to clinicals.
A BIG THANKS goes to Morgan for putting in his personal time and heart to show us all these important skills. And special thanks also goes to Irene who was so gung-ho in volunteering to be Morgan’s patient, donating her two arms to be poked at for the sake of our education.