Last week Friday, I took my final shelf examination for my third year of medical school. As Murphy’s Law exists, I decided not to really exhale until I had received my Pediatric Shelf Exam passing results.
I really would like to sit here and write something that can tie my third year experience into a neat literary bow but that just seems like such a tall order right now: so many experiences to recount, so little creativity.
This past Monday we welcomed the former second year students to their clinical years at the Student Clinicians Ceremony and I had the privilege of saying a few words in recognition of one of the Interns I had the real pleasure of working with during my Pediatrics rotation for the resident Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award. I’m just going to leave my little speech here, I think that will have to do as far as bow tying goes:
“Disclaimer: I’ve been known to be a little dramatic…I’ve tried to tone it down but apologies in advance.
I am very tempted to stand here and make mediocre puns about Dr. Shannon Golden’s name being golden and how she happens to also be that in both appearance and demeanor…but I will do my best to spare you.
I got to my very last third year rotation, Pediatrics and thought: YES, the kids and I are going to have so much fun…then I thought oooh, one month of sick kids in the hospital and another month of not so sick kids in the clinic, eh maybe they’re not going to have as much fun. Also, while third year is amazing and you have the privilege of taking care of people in one of their more vulnerable states, it can get to be quite difficult knowing that as a medical student, you are at the absolute bottom of the food chain and some team members see you only as the person lengthening their work day. I was definitely feeling this weight when I got to Peds. Then I met Dr. Golden at Dayton Children’s Hospital and it did not feel quite as heavy and I didn’t feel like as much of a burden.
In my experience, you come across three main types of residents: those that ignore students completely (and from a student perspective, sometimes flying under the radar is not a terrible thing), those that acknowledge your existence by asking you random questions here and there and enquiring if your note is finished 5 seconds after rounds had ended (spoiler alert: mine never was) and those that make an effort to make the student feel like an actual member of the treatment team and this is where Dr. Golden comes in. While sometimes during the year I felt like…an extra…just the medical student, in general, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty great residents but rounding off the year with Dr. Golden was a treat. It was very new and strange to me when she would ask each of us which patients we wanted to see in the morning or suggest interesting cases based on the specialties we hoped to pursue…it was even stranger when before rounding but after we went to see said patient she sought US out to talk about OUR observations, OUR assessment and OUR plan. She was open to answering any questions and brainstorming WITH me and not just leaving me to fend for myself in front of the attending with a haphazard plan during rounds but even more importantly, not just telling me what to say during my presentation so that I didn’t embarrass myself in front of the attending, but I also, didn’t gain as much education-wise since the presentation wasn’t fully my own. Furthermore, she gave daily feedback whether it was on your note or your interaction with a patient, she let you know that you and your work were not unnoticed. Dr. Toussaint and Dr. Taylor, the clerkship directors kept talking to us about active learning and its merits and I can say that Dr. Golden definitely facilitated that on the wards...so much more fun than TBLs. Why was this such a big deal for me: first of all, I learned the hard way that some residents do not want to be bothered before rounds, spending time with the medical student is time not spent elsewhere (but students understand, residents are under extreme pressure and intern year seems scary) and secondly, I felt useful, to both the team and the patient.
All I’ve talked about thus far is how Dr. Golden treated me like I was a person but also it was refreshing to see her treat EVERYONE this way…consistently, not just medical students and not just at the caffeinated beginning of the day (to be fair, the Pediatrics day started a lot later than the Surgery and Obstetrics day so she had an advantage in the morning grumpiness department). She seemed to be such a pleasant light on the team, a light with difficult patients and a golden light (sorry, I really could not help it) with parents of difficult patients. She was a great example of what it means to be a conscientious resident physician and that’s why she deserves this…she deserves to know that we appreciate her. ”
In the end, Dr. Golden was not able to make it to the event so it was a little awkward. Additionally, I have a fear of public speaking so throughout the entire time on stage I suffered palpitations and wondered why I had volunteered to participate, but it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, right? I am also avoiding photos since I don’t want to see pictures of myself looking scared while wearing red lipstick, something tells me that isn’t an attractive combination.
Peace, Love and one year closer,
Ps. I am going to be out of the Dayton area for a few weeks trying to rock out at an away rotation. Added bonus: my baby sister is in the country visiting from Trinidad, and my away rotation is in the same location as my other sister…three Metzger sisters reunited…and yes, you guessed it, it does feel so good.