I DID IT! I’ve finally finished my 2nd year of medical school, and let me tell you how big of a RELIEF it is to have made it halfway. It flew by so fast that everything is such a blur. I learned about cardiovascular, respiratory, integumentary, immunological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, hematopoietic, musculoskeletal, neurological, urinary, and reproductive disorders. Everything from the pathology and clinical presentation of a disease to how to assess and diagnose a patient. Compared to first year, my second year of medical school was difficult in it’s own way. I didn’t have to deal with science classes such as biochemistry or physiology (thank goodness), but I did have pathology, immunology/microbiology, pharmacology/botanical medicine. So in a sense yes it was difficult, but it was more busy work than anything. There were a lot of papers to write and little assignments to complete on top of studying the various diseases, herbs, and drugs.
Besides the medical science courses, I also had labs including physical exam diagnosis lab, physical medicine lab, and clinical diagnosis lab (or as we like to call it – “stab lab”). Physical exam lab is basically where we perform physical exams for each body system with a partner in class. So, similar to the clinical skills labs that we had in 1st year, but a little more in depth and advanced. PED lab this quarter was a MAJOR milestone in medical school thus far. We had to perform our first male and female exams on real patients (who were actually actors/actresses but still – we’ve only ever performed exams on each other in class!). The male exam consisted of a genital inspection and digital rectal exam, while the female exam consisted of a breast, cervical, and bimanual exam. They were the most nerve-wrecking experiences of my life! For instance, I was sweating so bad during the male exam that even after I washed my hands and dried them it took a few awkward minutes of just standing there trying to get my gloves on while the male patient stood there in his gown waiting. But honestly I was more nervous for the female exam than the male exam, which is strange because you would think the opposite would happen. Anyways…on to physical medicine lab. This year we learned things like MET (Muscle Energy Technique) and spinal manipulation. I have to be honest here…physical medicine is my least favorite class. For me personally I think I would rather refer to a chiropractor than perform manipulations myself. It’s interesting to see and learn but I don’t feel comfortable with it at all. Unfortunately I’m kind of stuck learning physical medicine because it’s mandatory at Bastyr, and we are also required to be on 4 physical medicine shifts in clinic. Oh, joy…but who knows maybe I will eventually learn to love it in the next 2 years. Now stab lab on the other hand is a class that I definitely enjoy. All year long we performed venipunctures with vacutainers, butterfly needles, and a few syringes. We also performed a variety of dignostic labs such as H1Ac, H. pylori testing, urinalysis, rapid strep test, etc. The worst part of stab lab is actually getting stabbed (ha!) especially since we are all learning and not everyone is a pro yet. This summer we will be taking a Medical Procedures class and it includes learning how to do Intravenous (IV) therapy, which is something I would like to provide to patients when I practice in the future so I’m super excited!
At the end of second year we have to perform this exam called Clinic Entry. Everyone MUST pass this before seeing patients in the clinic our 3rd year. Now, the male and female exams were already pretty nerve-wrecking, but in my opinion Clinic Entry was worse. In order to pass you need to get at least 80%. Basically, you are taken to a room with a patient (actor/actress) who is coming to see you with a chief complaint of some sort, and a proctor is also in the room. You are given 25 minutes to ask questions pertinent to the CC (classic OLDCARTS questions), then perform 2 physical exams related to the CC [you can choose to do a cardiovascular/peripheral vascular, respiratory, abdominal, HEENT, or musculoskeletal (5 parts – only have to do 1 based on your CC) exam]. You have to verbalize your differential diagnoses and any labs that you would want to order to your proctor. Afterwards you are taken to a computer room and given 25 minutes to chart your findings using SOAP chart format. Thankfully, I passed my first try, but immediately after I finished I thought of all these other questions I should have asked that would have been extremely important in my patient’s case and additional labs to order. I was relieved to be done with the exam, but to be honest I didn’t feel that great because I felt like I could have done way better. However, I know that if my proctor didn’t think I was ready to be in the clinic I wouldn’t have passed my first time. I know that within the next 2 years I will learn an amazingly large amount of information in the clinic and (hopefully) gain a great amount of experience working with patients.
Last but not least – this summer I will be starting a YouTube channel! I am very excited about it, and I hope that it will be useful for those interested in Naturopathic medicine or medical school. I will post on here when my first video goes up so stay tuned! 🙂