Sunday, September 19, 2010


Having attained a certain level of knowledge as a student, I wonder if it is adequate when the rubber hits the road. Exposure to the community and patients gives plenty of opportunity to find out what I really know.


It's easy to forget just how far we've come. A little over two years ago I was starting medical school and now I am being trusted enough with private medical information that leads to the decision making process in patient care. I often feel that my knowledge base is not strong enough or lacks in certain departments, and the truth is that it really does. But when interacting with the general public I realize the wealth of information that I have accumulated in such a short span of time.

It can be expected that friends, family and others will inquire about their health at any given opportunity. Just recently, during a community blood pressure screening, I fielded many medical questions. The information that I take for granted in my education is easily foreign to those not in the medical profession. From medications to physiologic processes, there is so much to know. I remember just a few years ago thinking how fascinating it was that someone could see your symptoms and differentiate between virus and bacterial origin. At the time, it was a mystery to me. Now it seems that the "secrets" are being revealed and it's my turn to share that information. This task, although daunting, is what being a doctor is all about. According to the translation of the Latin word doctōris, a doctor is a teacher. Curious to say the least.

Question of the Week

After weeks of observation, seeing patients on my own and asking my own questions my attending physician decided to "pimp" me out of the blue. Unprepared and with my head wrapped around the circumcision just performed, I failed to provide the correct answer. Introduced with discussion about the effects of injecting Lidocaine into a neonates vein, he instructed me about the risk of inducing methemoglobinemia. In his calm demeanor the question came as a surprise, "What is the treatment for methemoglobinemia?" The answer was in my head somewhere, just not where I thought I left it.


  1. JBatt, I hear you on this post.
    Stumbled unto your blog by google-searching OSCE preps and I've gotta say, good read here.

    I'm a 6th year Med from the Russian State Medical University, Moscow and after all this years and hours spent in the clinics/wards I still feel there is so much more to do.

    All the best to you and your studies. Will be following your blog from now on.

  2. Great to hear from you Lightofheaven. It's definitely a long road but well worth the effort. Keep up the good work!


Share a suggestion, question or just leave your mark.

Subscribe to Life as a Medical Student