Although you can only learn and experience so much during clinical year as a student (let’s be honest, interns, and residents do most of the work), pre-COVID clinical year sure was helpful. The hands-on training, face-to-face interaction with faculty and clients sans face masks, and long hours writing records and interpreting lab results with rotations mates was invaluable. The real-time, on-the-fly, in-the-flesh experience prepared me well for internship and, had I chosen to go into general practice, it would have prepared me well for that too. All of my GP friends are excelling and having a grand old time.
But with COVID, well, you are getting a lot less face time and a lot more Facetime. And that’s scary, that’s worrying. This idea, I’m sure, definitely brings up quite a few concerns that are worth discussing. So, let’s do it. Let’s delve into the discourse that demands discoursing right now, shall we?
Are you absolutely terrified? Are you worried about venipuncture? Are you worried about holding off a leg for venipuncture? Or having to make “doctor decisions” in real-time, and not from the comfort of your own bed during Zoom rounds? Or not having the chance to pick the knowledge-soaked brains of clinicians? Or not having enough time to impress clinicians to get good recommendations for future jobs and internships? How do you feel about client communication? Do you feel only speaking over the phone is detrimental to your development as a doctor? They do say over 65% of communication is non-verbal, involving facial expression and body language. And what about missing out on electives and externships? Were you signed up for the Humane Alliance and excited for the best experience of clinical year? How are you going to know where you could see yourself working post-graduation? Do you now feel less prepared for an internship or general practice?
Well, it’s obviously not ideal, but this is where we are. Questions, concerns, and worries aside these are all just questions, concerns, and worries and they are exactly what they are. They just are. And, not out of disinterest or aloofness but rather acceptance, this is the current reality. This is just how it happened. It is clearly not a “primo situation” as they say, and yes, many aspects of clinical year are and will be lost, they will never be had, nor will they ever be returned.
So, just do your best. Keep learning, keep doing, and keep working hard from your bed in pajamas or while on the clinic floor (hopefully, then, not in pajamas). Keep working until the wheels fall off because at some point you are going to make an amazing intern, general practitioner, or whatever else you decide you want to do when you grow up.
And don’t cough. Even if it’s just allergies, or a hair, or a piece of food, in the hospital, at home, in your bathroom, or out in public. Don’t cough, at least not yet. It still freaks everyone out. It’s too soon for that.
However, if you really can’t hold it in, go in and get tested!