I feel quite privaleged to be at the school I am at. One of the reasons I wanted to come here was that they gave you clinical experience from the first year of school (unlike many schools that limit your clinical experience until your third year). So today, 1 month and 9 days into my medical school career, I had my first ER rotation.
I was nervous to go, mainly because I did not know what to expect – would my attending be mean, what would I see, would I get asked questions I had no answers to and be completely embarassed?
Well, first off, I was not alone (thankfully)! I was with 2 other classmates of mine which put me at ease once I saw them. After that, I wasn’t so nervous. Our attending was nice in that he took us around to different patients and allowed us to practice our interviewing skills. One patient allowed us to listen to her lung and heart sounds. It was definetly an experience.
The thing that affected me the most, I suppose, was seeing our very first patient pass away. It’s not so much the death of this woman that sticks with me but the familal reaction. Upon seeing one of the family members come in, crying, and watching her tenderly kiss her loved one and say goodbye – even now I want to cry. It was such an emotional experience. I didn’t even have time to process it before we were moving on to the next patient, but that’s the name of the game in the ER.
As I reflect on that particular experience, the greatest lesson I took away from it was that people die and, in most cases, they have family who will miss them dearly. May I never forget that as physicians, we not only treat patients but we also treat their families as well.
This also brings me back to the lecture we had in class yesterday about advanced directives (AD). I just find it interesting that the topic of my last class was basically leaving something behind for your family upon your death and then today, my first experience with a patient is death.
Much to ponder but much learned as well.