Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Somewhere, someone in the PRCC committee must have read that a good way of terrifying your medical students into submission is to stage a mock clinical exam (OSCE) eight months before the real OSCE. That way, your students will realise that they are in no way ready to face the challenges that lie ahead, and after a brief period of major depression, will become “consciously incompetent” and work really hard for the rest of the year. I suppose that’s the theory.

Personally, I crashed and burned today. I started on a rest station, but somehow did not become magically more prepared by sitting there staring blankly at the wall for 15 minutes. My first real station involved a child with a bright red rash on both cheeks. Most of the children I’ve come across in practice so far have been injured, not sick, so I was unprepared for this. And in my panic, my brain shrunk to the size of a pea and when consulted, would only scream “IT’S LUPUS!” Operating without my brain was difficult, although it might have made me a nicer person. I ended up with a mark of 5/20 for this station – 4 of these marks were empathy points.

The rest was not quite so bad, in that my brain decided to re-join the party, and I managed to at least pass the remaining stations. I even did quite well in managing a patient with acute pyelonephritis, although it probably helped that we’d been told to expect a station on genitourinary infection, so I couldn’t really get too far off track. Surprisingly, we all lost marks for not eliciting a positive ‘loin punch’ by lightly punching the patient in her already-painful kidney. The trade-off was, I got almost perfect empathy scores.

After a lengthy group de-brief, my classmate and I drove back to our own town to try and console ourselves, and that was when we encountered the lowest point of our day.

Neither of us could open our beers.


PTR said...

We had the same stations as you. But I'd mis-read my summary notes while studying so I did a "groin punch" instead of a "loin punch". Lost the marks for that AND empathy. :(

Pink Stethoscopes said...

Sounds like you were thorough, anyway. We also got told off for not exposing enough of the patient, so you might have made up some ground there.