I am in a class right now called Advanced Diagnosis and Problem Solving. In this class, we have a simulated patient every week, which now has to be done via Zoom due to COVID-19. A simulated patient is a paid actor who acts through a case as a patient, and then gives us graded feedback afterward so we can improve.
I had my first patient encounter this week, and it was really cool. I was even more nervous than I usually am, due to all the uncertainty about how it would work online instead of in person. I really enjoy the ability to sit in front of a patient and talk through their history. I wasn’t sure how that dynamic would work through a computer.
At the very last minute, I ended up being paired up with a classmate. As someone who doesn’t always adapt super quickly to change, I needed to adapt and adjust my thinking patterns accordingly so that my partner and I each got a fair amount of time to ask questions. It ended up going really well! I think experiences like this are helpful. I can guarantee there will be times I am in the clinic with real patients that things are going to be changed on the fly, and it will be important for me to be able to adapt to those changes.
Then there is also the fact that when I came to Maryland a few months ago, I never dreamed I would need my white coat. Unfortunately, I do. We are supposed to wear our white coats for these simulated patient encounters, but since my white coat is still in Chicago, I had to adapt. I did have a white denim jacket, so I wore that and tried to cover up the buttons with my hair. A friend is mailing me my white coat from my apartment, so hopefully I will have it before my next patient encounter. Here’s to hoping I won’t need too many more lessons on adapting this summer!