Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hands On Training

Hands on training always seems to draw more interest than lecture and books. Despite the risk for injury or mistakes, it is likely we actually get more out of it than a textbook could ever offer.

Clinical Skills Lab

As I walked back to my lab station with a pig's foot cut in half, I admired the piece of anatomy and questioned how this was deemed appropriate for a Jewish institution to support. Apparently, it is "Kosher" as long as we are not eating it. Pig's feet never had the same appeal as bacon, so I don't think that will be a problem.

After creating a laceration in the foot, we learned various suture styles to close the wound. It was more of a crash course in instrument handling as I quickly learned how clumsy my rookie hands performed this common clinical task. Nonetheless, it is a skill I will be needing in the future and any exposure is good exposure.

The next station, phlebotomy, was old hat. While my partner fretted the experience, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a needle again as it had been too long since my last stick. To my surprise there were quite a few in the class who have drawn blood in one form or another. On the other hand, those who attempted it for the first time would shake at the thought of hurting their partners. Learning new skills in the classroom has obvious benefits over learning them in the clinics, fortunately it leaves room for mistakes. Even though my partner impaled me twice before striking gold, he did a great job for his first experience.

Board Prep Question of the Week
On your rotation in the intensive care unit, you follow a patient with advanced sepsis from a central line infection. On exam you notice marked petechiae on his extremities as well as some large clots around his mouth. Concerned about disseminated intravascular coagulation, you check his labs. What would you expect?

A. High platelets, low bleeding time, high PT, high PTT
B. Low platelets, high bleeding time, high PT, high PTT
C. Low platelets, high bleeding time, low PT, high PTT
D. Low platelets, low bleeding time, high PT, high PTT
E. Low platelets, low bleeding time, low PT, low PTT

Answer & Explanation


  1. Hi! I've really enjoyed your posts...! My husband is currently waiting for acceptance to Med school this fall. I was wondering, if you could talk a little about how the experience has been for both you and your wife. How have you two dealt with all the hours apart? When do you find time to reconnect? I've heard stories about affairs... due to hours of study group time with the opposite sex. I just want to be better prepared and supportive.
    What's your take on this subject?
    What's your advice to couples who's significant other is starting med school?


  2. Thanks for asking. That might be better fielded by my wife. She posted her thoughts here...


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