Monday, 9 September 2013

One week down, 129 to go.

Well, somehow the first week of classes has come and gone. I'm not really sure where the week went, but really, that seems to be the story of my life lately, so that's nothing new.

I have a ton of ideas for things to write here (and somehow, not enough time to write them all, haha), so I think today I'll just give you an idea of what a typical(ish) week looks like in the life of a med student at my school.

Last Monday was Labour Day, so we had the day off and I got to see some of my family at our annual BBQ (hi to any of you who are reading!). It was really nice to get to see everyone, but unfortunately having Monday off just meant that they squished five days of classes into four days, so it was a busy week!

My school is really big on PBL (which stands for problem-based learning - my school is also really big on acronyms), so instead of traditional lectures, we do a lot of our learning independently. The PBL format is great for me, having just spent two years doing self-directed learning in grad school, so I can study on my terms. I learn way better when I have to teach something to myself and actually understand it, as opposed to being fed the information in a lecture (and let's face it, during the lectures some inevitable internet-surfing occurs). So, we have two three-hour tutorials per week, in which we get assigned case studies that we're expected to research, then we go to tutorial and talk them over (all while our tutor, who is a doctor, makes sure we're on the right track and covering all the important points). My tutorial group is really awesome - I don't think I could have asked for a better group to work with. Unfortunately we're only together for the first 13 weeks of school, then we get reassigned to other groups, but I'm really glad that we have a strong group to start off.

In addition to the tutorials twice a week, our tutorial group has a three-hour clinical skills session at the hospital with our preceptors, who are doctors. In clinical skills, we're going to learn things like history taking and patient exams... and we might be working with real patients as early as this week! EEK! I mean, it's not like we actually have any real responsibility at this point (can you imagine someone treating you who has had a whole week of medical education, haha?), but it's crazy to think we will be interacting with patients right from the beginning. For the most part, from what I hear, the people we'll be working with are patients who are kind of bored and have agreed to let us come in and practice taking a history, so hopefully it won't be too intimidating. :)

We also have a class called Professional Competencies (or ProComp, since we like acronyms so much), which we jokingly refer to as the hugs and feelings class. Really, though, it's probably one of the most valuable classes I'll take during med school. We work with the same small group of 10 students and two facilitators for the 15 months leading up to clerkship (which is in-hospital training, for anyone who doesn't know), and in this class we'll be talking about the non-medical aspects of being a doctor - professionalism, ethics, and anything else that you can think of. ProComp is kind of the 'bedside manner' class - we'll be practicing all kinds of things, ranging from introducing ourselves to patients to practicing breaking bad news to a patient (which sounds terrifying, so I'm glad we get to practice on each other before we have to do it for real).

Lastly, we have sessions in the anatomy lab, which are also self-directed, and we have some sporadic "large group sessions", (also known as LGS), which I think is just a fancy term for lectures, haha! All in all, my schedule is pretty full, but still has room for some extra curriculars and electives and hopefully spending some time with Matt when his schedule and mine line up!

Well, that's a typical week in the life of me. As it stands now, I have Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off of scheduled classes (which probably means they'll be spent in the anatomy lab), and some mornings if we don't have an LGS scheduled.

I'll try to write more soon - heck, I could write an entire post about today (which included the day starting off with being subpoenaed to testify in court in November, fighting to get a refund on some stuff I bought online that never showed up, and returning home tonight to many many fire trucks outside my apartment building - apparently there was a fire at the sub place on the ground floor). In the meantime, though, I'll leave you with a photo of what my life currently looks like - books, and more books. Yay, respirology.

Thanks for reading! I'll try to be better at this blogging thing and post more frequently.

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