This trimester, I spend 4 hours each week at the Student Clinic observing naturopathic medicine interns interacting with real patients. Through observation, I have been able to witness and reflect on various things, such as the doctor-patient relationship, my personal strengths and weaknesses, and how the basic sciences connect to the clinical sciences.
I have observed a wide variety of patient interactions, spanning from new patient intakes, follow-up appointments, review of laboratory results, nutritional consulting, acupuncture, constitutional hydrotherapy, Russian steam cabinet, cold laser therapy, and physical exercises to increase the strength of specific muscles. In all of these interactions, I play an observer role. I have been developing my SOAP note writing skills with each patient interaction, and it has been great practice for me.
It is nice to finally start applying the information that I have learned during the past several years in a way that is clinically relevant to each patient’s case. Getting more exposure to clinical reasoning and treatment has been exciting. Playing the role of observer has greatly contributed to significant learning for me. The learning is not only in connecting the basic sciences with the clinical sciences, but I also notice that having great interpersonal skills are absolutely critical in effectively communicating and connecting with patients.
I have also enjoyed asking both interns and clinicians various types of questions concerning anything that I have questions about. I have learned a great deal in the several weeks that I have been observing. I look forward to more clinic observation learning experiences.