Fall Quarter ’16: Week 1-3

Summer has come to an end, and I welcome fall with wide open arms as a 2nd year Naturopathic medical student! This past summer was my first one in California AND as a medical student, and it was great but went by too fast. The first year in naturopathic medical school is the only time throughout all 4 years that you are given a summer off and do not have to attend mandatory classes. I opted to register for a Whole Foods Production class and Clinic Observation II so that I could continue receiving financial aid, and I still had a lot of free time to relax, travel, and explore.

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The first place I traveled to after spring quarter was my hometown in Upstate New York, then to Dallas with my boyfriend Corey to see his family, and then to South Korea for a couple weeks. I’ve been traveling to Korea ever since I was a child. The last time I visited was in 2011 so I was excited to have an opportunity to see my family there again! This time I went with Corey and we met up with my mom a few days after our arrival to visit the rest of my family. So for the first few days we were there on our own…it was a little scary but we survived with the little Korean that I remembered. We visited Seoul (Hongdae, Dongdaemun, Women’s University, Myeongdong, Gangnam, Namdaemun), Gimpo, Mungyeong, and Busan.

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My second year of naturopathic medical school is a little more hectic, but not necessarily as hard as my first year (so far). There are just a lot more assignments due such as discussion/reflection posts for counseling, chart notes for Naturopathic Clinical Diagnosis and Physical Exam Medicine, chapter outlines and take-home quizzes for Pathology, etc. One thing I love the most about second year is that the classes are more clinically-oriented rather than science based. So, here’s my fall schedule:

MONDAY:
  • Naturopathic Clinical Diagnosis I – we cover everything having to do with diagnosing a patient in the clinical setting (i.e. discussing signs and symptoms, conducting and understanding physical exams, ordering and interpreting labs/imaging, how to formulate a differential diagnosis, how to interview patients and create SOAP chart notes, etc.).
  • Botanical Medicine Lab I – we learn how to create herbal medicines and aids! (i.e. tinctures, salves, oxymiels, syrups, lotions). So far we’ve made herbal teas (via infusion or decoction), medicinal syrups, and acetracts/oxymiels.
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Lavender Calendula acetract (vinegar infusion)
  • Physical Exam Medicine I – the same as clinical skills but now we are learning how to look for and recognize abnormalities. This quarter we are performing detailed examinations of the head/eyes/ears/neck/throat (HEENT), lymphatics, and skin on our partners.
TUESDAY:
  • Naturopathic Theory and Practice IV (every other week) – we discuss the philosophy of naturopathic medicine, history of naturopathic medicine, professionalism, and basic business concepts (i.e. career planning, networking, time management, public and professional communications).
  • Behavioral Medicine Theories and Intervention I – we continue working on our counseling skills and incorporating more counseling interventions into our current set of skills.
  • Integrated Pathology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases I – a combination of pathology (the study of the cause/effects of disease), immunology (the study of the immune system), and infectious diseases. By week 2 we had our first pathology exam that tested us on over 200 medical terms (suffixes, prefixes, general, body systems…).
  • Behavioral Medicine Theories and Interventions I Lab – here in lab we actually practice what is taught to us; this year we are doing the “fish bowl” – the “patient” and “physician” sit in the middle of a circle formed by the rest of the classmates. Each patient is given a role to play and the physician has to counsel appropriately, while being critiqued by everyone watching. It’s really not that bad since there’s only 7-8 people per lab group, but it can still be nerve-wrecking to be put on the spot like that.
  • Physical Medicine III – we are more hands on with the human body this quarter and use observation/palpation to assess the physical structure of the body. More so, we learn about postural abnormalities and how to fix them with therapeutic touch.
WEDNESDAY:
  • Naturopathic Clinical Diagnosis I*
  • Homeopathy I – we are finally learning about homeopathy this quarter! In this course we will learn about the history of homeopathy, and about remedies that can be used to treat various ailments. Homeopathic thinking is very different from clinical thinking when it comes to diseases; for instance, the remedy must be matched to the patient and their symptoms (not the other way around). However, homeopathic remedies have been shown to work and more studies are slowly coming out to support the science behind it all.
  • Integrated Pathology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases I**
THURSDAY:
  • Integrated Case Studies IV – we get more into depth with SOAP note charting for given cases.
  • Clinical Diagnosis Lab I – aka STAB LAB! We learn how to use laboratory diagnostic tests in diagnosing clinical disorders and disease states. Week 2 we practiced drawing blood from a fake arm, and week 3 we “graduated” to drawing blood from a real arm. It took me two tries but I successfully drew blood for the first time in my life!
FRIDAY:
  • Integrated Therapeutics I – this course is a combination of pharmacology (the study of the uses/effects/actions of drugs) and botanical medicine.
  • Integrated Pathology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases I**
  • (Gross Anatomy Lab I – Retake) – unfortunately, I failed gross lab last quarter. It’s a sad reality but it is what it is. At least this time I know how to study for the exams, and going over the muscles, nerves, arteries, and veins will be like review for me.
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