CAP is Where it’s at!

Illinois Eye Institute Michigan Sign, Portrait of patient reading "I've been a patient since I was a litter girl. They're like family."

The Illinois Eye Institute

In my previous post, I talked about my favorite place at ICO- the Eyepod, where we get to practice new skills. What makes all of this even more exciting is that we practice some of the same skills at the Illinois Eye Institute in the Clinical Assistant Program (CAP). We interact with actual patients and help make a difference in their lives.

On my first day of CAP, I was quite nervous. I did not know what to expect or how much I would need to perform on the first day. The staff greeted us with a smile, and that made me feel welcomed. Then, we waited in the conference room with the attending doctors and the student clinicians we were about to shadow. Finally, that piece of paper came through the window alerting us that a patient had arrived. Hurray- my first patient!

I followed my student clinician to the examination room, where I observed the full eye exam. I even had the opportunity to perform a few new skills on the patient. All the while, the student clinician was there to help guide if I needed any help.

Following the completion of the eye exam, the attending doctor also came and performed a final check. They addressed any immediate concerns the patient may have had and provided educational information and pointers to the students. This is another great way to learn from real life cases (which may be different from what we read in a textbook).

It is so great we have this exposure in first year. We learn a lot when we observe and hear familiar words from student clinicians. We are able to see how others handle various situations and how they perform a particular skill. This better prepares us for what we should expect when entering second year, and allows us to feel more at ease about becoming doctors.

The Clinical Assistant Program is definitely a great experience to have had as a first year student. You really dive in straight from the beginning, and I look forward to our next CAP rotation. In the few months since we began school, we’ve already learned so much information and so many skills. What a big accomplishment!

GB- Imagine. Inspire. Improvise.

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