Thursday, 18 April 2013

7 Quick Takes #2: the eclectic in-between

My life is now in a transitional period from being a medical student to a full-fledged doctor. At this moment, I'm finished with clerkship, but I won't be a registered physician until August, and even that will only be a  temporary status for the purpose of internship! Hopefully, I will have my first real license for independent practice at the end of next year. So don't ask me what I am now, because I'm really not sure... maybe I'm a... quasi-doctor?

Anyway, this period proves to be a great blessing for me. Not only it is a restful time, it is also an eclectic time. Since I'm free from particular routines, I can fill my days with various activities both medical and non-medical-related. Here's some of the highlights so far:


I got my ACLS certificate! ACLS is very important for us working in the medical field. It is a continuation of the Basic Life Support (BLS); the latter can be performed anywhere and by anyone. ACLS is performed in a hospital setting equipped with medications, a manual defib machine, ECG, advanced airway devices, and more than two helpers.

This ACLS course was the first course that I took that required its participants to pass an exam to be granted a certificate. A couple of my classmates and I passed and I felt like a thousand bucks, to be really honest with you. To this day I'm still grateful to be matched to a very nice and very patient examiner. I promise I will use all the lessons I got from this training to the fullness of good.

License to fix a broken heart.


My last rotation, forensics, was apparently one that made some lasting memories. There, our group worked with students from two other universities, Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta (UMJ) and Universitas Krida Wacana (Ukrida). I'd never met folks from UMJ and Ukrida before, but these groups who happened to join us, were jewels! I made really good relations with some of them. We even held three small gatherings and took lots of pictures! I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these people, because I love them dearly and I pray for the best for them.


I got my first ever job! Possibly paid too! (possibly) The university hospital is building, from scratch, a searchable database of symptoms and diseases for laypeople, similar to WebMD's Symptom Checker. This website would be the first of its kind in Indonesia. I am SO excited!!! I hope we will begin very soon, paid or not paid!!! =D Details to follow, after we actually start working, hehe.


I PASSED MY EXIT OSCE!!!!! *beer* *dance* *more beer*

For those of you who don't know, OSCE stands for Objective Structured Clinical Examination. It is basically a performance-based exam that tests you on clinical skills. Candidates are presented with standardised patients (healthy people who act ill) or sometimes mannequins on which they must perform certain procedures. An OSCE consists of several stations, usually around 10, and in each station there is a different task based on a different topic or discipline (for example, the first station is cardiology, the second is pediatrics, etc.).

It goes like this:
1. First bell. You read the instruction taped on the wall outside. Take note of what things you must perform. Only do those things!!
2. Second bell. Get inside the room. Ignore the examiner. Do what you're asked to do.
3. Third bell, some time nearing the end, to inform you how much time remains.
4. Fourth bell. Time is up. Get out, run to the next station, read the instruction. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until finished and you're all blood and tears.

Meanwhile, "exit" OSCE is just my med school's term for the final comprehensive OSCE that, if passed, lets you "exit" the med school, i.e. graduate.

In our exit OSCE, there were 8 stations without rest. The tricky part of this exit OSCE, unlike our past pre-clinical OSCEs, is that: 1) there's a writing component, with questions asking you about your working diagnosis, your differentials, your management plan and/or therapy, and 2) not every tool in the room has to be used; this requires a sharp diagnostic skill to minimise waste of time (and in real practice, money) on unnecessary procedures.

Our stations were gynecology (post-menopausal bleeding), cardiology (congestive heart failure), respiratory (pulmonary embolism), emergency (peritonitis due to perforated appendicitis), ophthalmology (third nerve palsy), neurology (migraine with aura), internal medicine (anemia due to malignancy of the intestines), and breaking bad news (pediatric leukemia). No mannequins, yay!

I definitely messed up at cardio station; I misread the instruction and consequently I did the history taking while really I was only required to perform physical exam, so I had no time to complete the written test. Stupido. But I know I did very well in neuro; it is, after all, one of my favourite specialties.


Our board exam is approaching deceptively fast! I took up a course (we all did) as well as studying with workbooks and past papers. Lots and LOTS of past papers.

UKDI (or NACE, National Competence Examination, in English) is very similar to USMLE Step 2 CK,
although there are questions about basic medical science, which resembles Step 1


For the first time in my life, I successfully completed the Divine Mercy Novena. Not sure if I was spiritually eligible for the full indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, though. I really hope I was!

During the Novena, I discovered that reciting the 3 PM Prayer (Hour of Mercy Prayer) is very comforting. It takes my mind and my heart away from worldly affairs for a while and back to my little spiritual altar. This spiritual altar is home to my soul. It feels rather like revisiting your family when you have traveled a long long way. I might have to make this prayer a regular :)


My library of religious reading is expanding! Welcome, Gilbert! I've long been a closeted fan of Chesterton, even though I'd never read his works before. I only came across quotations by him online, and I was immediately hooked by his charming wit. So I finally bought Heretics and Orthodoxy. If you think there are other works by dear Gilbert that I should read, please let me know!

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