This week was monumental for me and my fellow classmates. We practiced spine boarding and applying a cervical collar on a mannequin and on each other in Ambulatory Trauma class.
We had to practice surveying the area, assessing if the patient is conscious, and check if the patient is breathing. We practiced stabilizing the spine, screening the spine for abnormalities, and rolling the patient onto the spine board.
Once on the spine board, we secured the patient and made sure the straps were tight. We then practiced lifting and carrying the patient. This is very useful for someone like myself who has ambitions to work with athletes. When athletes have trauma to the neck or spine, the medics will spine board the athlete to prevent damage to the spinal cord.
This season one of the players on my favorite football team, the New York Jets, was put on a spine board after sustaining an injury. For me, this was a review because I went over this in undergrad as a kinesiology major, but I hadn’t done it in years.
This week in my advanced problem solving class, I had my first patient encounter. We are required to dress professionally for the meeting, and approach it as if it is a real patient. The patient encounter is with a standardized patient whom we have never met before. My colleagues and I have to take a comprehensive history, perform a problem-focused exam, perform the indicated orthopedic exams, and come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan.
It really was a milestone in our academic careers. We needed to take a picture to commemorate it and of course we took a selfie! We were all very nervous for this experience but a quick photo shoot was just what the doctor ordered to relieve our stress. We had to remind ourselves to relax because, “We got this!”
We nailed it! Our first patient encounters were stressful but we had to laugh because we were more prepared than we thought. We filled in our history of chief complaints form, our SOAP notes, our exam sheets, our problem management sheets, and turned them in for a grade.
We will have a patient encounter each week for the next 10 weeks, so by the time we get to clinic, it will be second nature.
That is all for this week! If you have any questions please email me at [email protected]