Last Monday was a very memorable day for me, but before I explain further, here’s some terminology:
PAP – Patient Advocate Program (where we shadow eye exams)
PCP – Patient Care Program (where we actually conduct eye exams, up to what we’ve learned).
Yes, it’s not just you, I too find our abbreviations for patient programs at ICO quite peculiar.
I had my first PCP session on Monday, and saw my first patient. That’s right, November 12, 2012 was the day I was able to use over $3,000 worth of equipment on my first patient. I thought, as Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother would say,
During first year, I thought I was going to have a meltdown before my first real patient encounter, but I did surprisingly well. I must say that shadowing those many exams last year helped me feel more comfortable interacting with patients. I didn’t feel like a sacrificial lamb going in a lion’s den or anything (I pictured that all through last year). We’re all paired with a fellow second year student, so we were able to converse and help each other through the entire eye exam.
I didn’t actually do a lot of stressful work, as my partner was the lead clinician, and I was mostly the scribe. Still, I’m excited for the new responsibilities we’re about to take on, as patient experience is really the reason why I’m here.
I can’t wait to learn to be a great doctor, and *gasp* maybe one day get quick at it too. We’re mostly getting proficient at entrance exams while the fourth year clinicians and attending doctors handle things we haven’t learned yet. We take turns as clinician and scribe every week, until the end of the quarter. I feel like this was a defining moment for me because it reminds me why I voluntarily decided to sign up for more school debt and drown myself in piles and piles of notes for four years. My patients are my driving force for working hard in school, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.
Disclaimer: I know I’m not a doctor yet, so it seems a little obnoxious for me to engrave that on my equipment, but I do intend on using it for when I start out my career (2015). When you’re knee-deep in debt, and you actually love what you’re doing, failure is not an option.