Tomorrow, I start yet another new rotation. This is the year of two-week rotations. Fourth year medicine at my school is full of choice, which is excellent. The goal is to get so many of each particular type of rotation, many of which require four weeks broken into two two-week blocks.
Currently, I am completing my surgical selectives… two weeks of gynecologic oncology, now it is two weeks of surgical ambulatory clinics. I generally do well on my rotations and things go smoothly once the logistics and such get settled. The thing is, I get nervous just before the start of every new rotation. I find meeting new people, adjusting to a new routine, trying to sort out the logistics of everything (it would be lovely if everything were scheduled appropriately and locations given correctly, however that is rarely the case) quite distressing. To top things off, tomorrow, I start surgical ambulatory clinics and the only information I have is a two-year-old schedule. Here are two things that cause nightmares in my books… surgery and some suboptimal organization. I am not a fainter, I don’t get woozy with the site of blood, surgery clinics aren’t boring to me… I am just poorly coordinated and can be a touch on the sensitive side. The issue is that in a lot of general surgery clinics, minor procedures, such as mole removal and such are involved. I can do them. I can do them with a reasonable level of skill for my level of training (definitely not a prodigy), but I am slow and I have the most ridiculous tremor while I do them. Drives surgeons nuts. Every once in awhile someone gets annoyed with my slowness or that I don’t know how to do a certain procedure their way. Not pleasant. I chose to do these clinics to well, do clinics, not procedures, but unfortunately they are a part of many of these clinics. Don’t get me wrong; I look forward to learning and improving myself in those skills. But, the goal is to do as much “clinic” without the procedures as possible. For my own sanity. Oncology does not require that I can cut out moles or lipomas. My internship will likely involve some minor procedures, but thereafter, I can be fairly in the clear… Brachytherapy (implantation of a radioactive source) sometimes requires procedures to place ports or seeds. With training and practice I could do it, just like the minor procedures, but it will take a lot of practice before I feel comfortable. I did learn to draw blood and such, something else that challenged my lack of coordination and such, so I can master procedures… If I have to, I guess (said in an Eeyore-like voice despite the fact that my husband pointed out this is actually a Red-Green quote).
I’d look on the bright side… If I could find it…
Bright sides too all this… I get to work with some of the fabulous surgeons I worked with on my core rotations and go to some clinics I didn’t go to previously… My goal is to hit up some surgical oncology and vascular surgery in addition to the general surgery and thoracic surgery that I did last year. Also, I will learn stuff. Particularly about minor procedures. Who knows when removing an ingrown toenail could come in handy. Plus, I sewed a bunch on family medicine and took off a bunch of moles and such, so I am better than I was last time I was in a surgical clinic. Also, this rotation means there are four weeks until Christmas and only two until I do Palliative Medicine at home (OH BOY!).
On a related look on the bright side note. Here is a lovely song brought to us by the Monty Python folks, but also featured in the musical Spamalot. The medical school choir does a fabulous cleaned up cover of this… unfortunately, this is all I have access to.