I know I mentioned getting to work with standardized patients in the last few months. I am so grateful for the experience we get by having the opportunity to interact with standardized patients in our Primary Care course. I seriously LOVED the experience so much and feel that I learned a lot about how to improve my interactions with real patients in the future thanks to that experience.
So, you may be asking yourself, “What the heck is a standardized patient?” A standardized patient, sometimes also referred to as a simulated patient, is an actor who acts as a patient. He or she will have a patient case/scenario that is provided to them by the course professor, and they act out the given case. In the Primary Care course, the focus for the first half of the trimester is to simply take a 45-minute history. That may sound like a long time, but trust me, it goes really fast! In Naturopathic Medicine, we view the importance of treating the entire person, and we never treat on symptoms alone. Therefore, it is crucial that we take a very thorough history beyond the present illness to help us determine any underlying causes or disturbed determinants of health an individual may have.
The second half of the course still focuses on the history portion, but adds in a treatment plan portion. I really enjoyed this aspect. Sometimes the patient (actor) didn’t like the treatment plan I came up with (as instructed by the instructor), so I had to think of alternatives that would increase patient compliance. Some of the patients really made me think! I also learned the value in explaining why I was making specific recommendations. The word “doctor” is derived from the Latin term, docco, which literally means “to teach”. I take this role very seriously. I think patient compliance goes up when a patient understands why the recommendation is important.
In the meantime, this trimester is off to an awesome start! I am getting to observe real patients in the clinic and I’m loving every second of it. I am learning a lot from the clinicians and the interns I am getting to observe. I am also in Phlebotomy lab, which to be honest, I was dreading. But it has been surprisingly fun as well. To top off the awesomeness of the trimester, I am also in Hydrotherapy lab, and every Friday, we get to practice doing hydro on each other which is really relaxing and a perfect way to finish off the week.
This photo is of me and my partner Karah after our first week in the Phlebotomy lab. We were both successful in drawing blood on each other on our very first attempt.