The Sensitive Exam 1/6/17

So last week's Intro to Clinical Medicine (ICM) session was... interesting. At my school ICM is a course geared towards teaching us medical students how to interact with and interview patients in a clinical setting. So far we've learned to take a detailed history & vitals, and perform cardiac, lung, and GI exams. 

We learn by performing these exams on "standardized patients" i.e. actors trained to simulate an actual doctor-patient interaction. Our sessions begin with the standardized patients teaching us how to perform different components of the exam. After we're done learning, we exit the room and get to re-enter and perform the exam ourselves. We normally get 15 minutes to perform the exam, followed by a couple minutes for the standardized patients to call us back into the room for feedback. These sessions take place in the Clinical Skills center which is set up like an actual doctor's office. The room holds everything from gloves, stethoscopes, gowns, blood pressure cuffs, cotton swabs, tongue depressors to  just about anything else you can find in a normal doctor's office.

So yeah back to last week's group session. It was interesting to say the least. We were learning how to perform the "sensitive exam" i.e. the female breast/pelvic/gynecological  and male genital/rectal exams.  When I found out what we were doing I was like

Let's just say I was less than excited to be spending 3 and a half hours poking around in a stranger's nether regions. Like shouldn't I take them out to dinner first or something?? But at some point I woman-ed up and decided to be open minded and ready to learn. 

To my surprise the session wasn't as awk as I had anticipated. Our standardized patients were very  knowledgeable  and encouraged us to ask them any questions we had. I was in a group with 2 other students, so we were able to rotate who went first with each new part of the exam. It was actually super interesting. You'll literally never get to see the human  body as up close and personal as you do when you're in medical school. 

Don't get grossed out, but my favorite part was visualizing the cervix through a speculum. Every other part of the genitalia we examined during the exam was pretty easy to see with the naked eye  (...and lowkey easy for anyone who owns a laptop or TV to see #letsbehonest), so it was cool seeing something that you could only visualize during a pelvic exam. 

The 3.5 hours went by faster than I'd anticipated and I learned alot. 

Of course I gained alot of clinical knowledge from my session, but just as importantly I relearned how to go into uncertain situations with an open mind. This is how you maximize your learning and enhance the quality of new experiences. 

Judy Oranika