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Most of us have done stupid things somewhere during our student life and as medics, it’s more often than not related to clinical skills. Like Xiao said, “stressful situations, diff la…” and yup, it is definitely the pressure that got us doing ridiculous things. I was reading Jimbo’s posts on exam bloopers and decided to write about my experiences during various clinical skills lessons and exams.
But before that, let me explain how things were done back in IMU. We had CSU sessions, OSCE exams and attachments in KKB hospital, Seremban hospital and various community clinics during the 5 semesters. The hospitals and clinics bits were OK, somehow, I found them a lot less stressful. In the hospitals, you get enough time clerking the patients before you have to present (and you can always peep at the patients’ files :P). As for community clinics, ermmm…. no one really expects you to do anything. :P OSCE exams were scary because you have to think fast, act fast and you’re constantly praying that in the next room, the examiner isn’t someone who’ll eat you up or the patient who you’re suppose to take a history from isn’t going to make your life hell. But CSU sessions weren’t any less stressful… if anything, they were a lot scarier! You’re expected to read up beforehand and my oh my, you had BETTER have read up. Otherwise, erm… *no comments*
Although all those clinical things were crazy scary, thinking back, they were really funny.
There was the time during Sem5 OSCE when Dr HA stopped me half way through shoulder examination (I swear I was doing pretty well!!) and gave me a lesson on “How to examine the shoulder the HA way”, and the thyroid station with Dr N. At the end of the station, after I’ve examined the thyroid gland…
Dr N: Where is the thyroid?
Me: (with a super blur look) Erm… in the neck?
Dr N: Where in the neck?
Me: *points* There.
Dr N: Where?
Me: You mean the isthmus? Below the cricoid cartilage? (or some bullshit like that)
Thank goodness the bell went off then… literally saved by the bell!!! Well, as much as I fouled up then, I couldn’t have done too badly after all. Still managed to get through with a very decent grade.
Mock OSCEs were always more difficult than OSCEs proper. I guess that’s because there’s a lack of standardisation and more than ever, what you should do depends on which examiner you get. Most of us have had trouble with the lack of standardisation during our times and got very very angry at getting scolded for no reason.
CSU sessions have always been a little nutty for me. I was not (and am not) the conscientious student who will study a few days in advance. Most of the time I’ll read 5 minutes before going for the session and sometimes, even as I’m sitting in the briefing room waiting for the lecturer to come in and I cannot seem to remember to get my nails cut! I’ve been caught several times with questions I cannot answer and you should see the ultra blank look on my face! Despite all the times I fouled up during CSU and OSCE, clinical skills have always been one of my favourite bit of the entire course. There were really fun experiences too! Like the venesection class back in Sem3 and when Dr Tim was showing off his artistic side during one of the extra sessions we had with him.
Caryn, Grace, Yiwei, Vasan, Hiang Liang and Adrian are the people who have seen me do really stupid things as I seem to be extra stupid during the extra sessions we have with Dr Tim. As for Dr Tim, well, as he likes to say, “you have to be cruel to be kind,” and I’m sure the students he taught are grateful for his “cruelty” in the past.