20 September 2007

practical exams

practical exams are par for the course in medical school. in any given semester, between opp class and ce class, we have at least a half dozen of such exams. they involve being tested, live, in the presence of a professor, on one technique or another.

today we had our first opp practical exam. it wasn't a big deal--the information at the beginning is basic (e.g. identify these landmarks) and the techniques (basically massage-type) are also relatively straightforward (aside from their names, of course).

i wasn't particularly concerned about this practical--i've been through them before, and i happen to know for a fact that this will be, by far, the easiest one in medical school. i'd also planned to pair up with one of the guys in my advising group, who happens to be laid-back and kind.

aside from having a little difficulty at first understanding the question posed to me at the first station, i got through the techniques part without incident. then i went to the second station, where we were supposed to point out "landmarks" on one another.

one such landmark i was asked to identify on my classmate was the pubic symphysis:

No problem, right? it's an easy enough bone to find...but when someone is lying down on a table & you have to find it, you have to find a way to slide your hand down the abdomen and onto the bone without, well, staring at their crotch. when i'm trying to palpate something, i often look elsewhere or close my eyes, simply so that i can focus on what i'm feeling rather than what i'm seeing.

only, yeah...it kind of backfired on me today, as i veered a little too far left. oops. it's a good thing my lab partner was a good sport about it, but my goodness, did i feel like a goofball! i guess it's better to risk having someone think that you're staring at their crotch rather than accidentally grabbing it..... *cringe*

never a dull moment!

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