As another academic year comes to a close, schedules for the first quarter of third year have been emailed out. Unlike the summer between first and second years, when students have the luxury of going home or taking exotic vacations, this summer will be a working one. My classmates and I will be attending class and we’ll also have three shifts in clinic, a continuation of the Patient Care Program we began this year.
Our two Primary Care shifts will be similar to our experience in this service area thus far, the primary difference being that we’ll no longer be paired with a partner. In addition to working alone, we’ll also be caring for multiple patients during a single shift. During my work in clinic this year, I’ve grown accustomed to discussing tests and patients’ results with my partner. I loved the convenience of having someone scribe while I doctored, or doctor while I scribed. If I had a question about a condition, I always had someone to ask. If I couldn’t find my tiny tonometry probe, there was someone in the same room with one. But my comfort level aside, I’m actually looking forward to going solo. I’ll be forced to rely on myself and truly develop my clinical skills.
For our third clinic shift, we’ll be working in a specialty service area: Cornea and Contact Lens, our school-based clinic, Eyewear Services, or Geriatrics/Vision Rehabilitation and Pediatrics/Binocular Vision. We’ll rotate into a different specialty each quarter as we continue our Primary Care shifts. I’ve been assigned to Cornea and Contact Lens for the upcoming quarter. Doctors in the Cornea service manage ocular conditions that affect the anterior segment, and care for patients who wear contact lenses. I’m pretty excited that I got this as my first clinical rotation. I’ve enjoyed the exposure I’ve gotten to Cornea through the Ocular Prosthetics I’ve been taking. Seeing conditions and applications from our Ocular Disease course has further piqued my interest in the speciality. While I’ll be rotating in Cornea, my classmates and I will be taking our first Contact Lens lecture and lab. I’m curious to see how the class will overlap with clinic. I’m sure that one day I’ll learn something new in class, and the very next day put that skill to use in clinic.
Second years at ICO have four hours per week in clinic, while third years take on 12. I’m excited and nervous to see how it will all go down. Becoming a third year clinician takes me back to first year, during the first days of the Patient Advocate Program. I remember thinking that the third years I was shadowing seemed to know exactly what they were doing as they examined patients. I also remember watching a student doing tonometry and wondering, what is that? Soon enough first years will be following me in clinic. Let’s hope I can keep up the facade during my own clinical rotations.