Welcome to the Wards


After two year of medical school, we are finally done with the classroom portion and are now moving on to the clinical wards, where we get to take care of patients. Ask anyone in my class, and we are all thrilled to finally leave the stress of second year behind. After weeks of furious prep for the onslaught of finals and Step 1, everyone is relieved it is over (except for the crazy people who keep reminding me that we are supposed to get our Step 1 scores back in a week- could you stop adding stress to my life please???)

I was fortunate with how I scheduled my Step 1 exam to get a 3 week break before starting third year. How did I spend this break? Well, I went on my first ever road trip with my family across the US to visit Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg, Hershey factory, and Washington D.C. including the White House, Capitol, Mount Vernon, and Smithsonian museums. We visited 22 states, traveled over 6,600 miles, and had plenty of adventures including eating lunch on the banks of the Mississippi, almost running over a bighorn sheep who jumped on the mountain road in front of us, and yes, even being forced to stop on the side of the road with vehicle issues. It was the perfect and much-needed break with my family before starting third year.

I am starting with Ob/Gyn and by luck of the draw, I get to start with 4 straight night shifts from 6 pm to 7:45 am. (Oh, and I have NEVER pulled an all-nighter, so staying awake and alert for 14 hours is a challenge of its own besides trying to perform like a competent student doc). And my first day on the job was certainly memorable!

1. First time ever logging onto the electronic medical records to review patients and write my own notes. Trying to navigate a new system is a challenge, but I at least find some workable solutions to get the job done.

2. First patient I am assigned to take care of, this patient has some mental disorder and thinks I am an incompetent clinician for asking questions and verbally is alternating between half-answering questions and verbally throwing us out of the room saying she is allergic to questions. Result is one of the most jumbled up and incoherent histories I have taken. At least it should get better from there!

3. First delivery! My resident tells me that this delivery is mine and that I am supposed to deliver this baby. I am able to suit up fast enough to get in on the action. While trying to remember all the steps for a successful delivery at 4 am, I am shocked when the baby comes FLYING out and all the carefully choreographed steps for a good delivery we had learned in our skills lab are now useless and I find myself simply trying to catch the kid and not drop it. With the help of my resident, I don’t drop my first fly ball 😂

4. You’re going to do this fetal ultrasound, my resident tells me. Never mind that although I had plenty of ultrasound experience in my first two years of training, I have never done an ultrasound on a pregnant patient before. All I am supposed to do is find the head and spine, but I get so disoriented that I find the head, but have no luck finding the spine. The babies must be doing well because they sure move a lot and don’t hold still as you try to find them😄

Well, what an eventful night! Never before has sleeping at 9 am felt this good! Back at it tonight!