First Day of My Third Year

Today was my first day of the third year.  To be fair it wasn’t a true first day, so much as an orientation day.  This post is going to be a couple random thoughts about the day.

First off, I hate orientation days.  Being the kind of person who likes to jump right in and get my hands dirty – a learn as I go kind of guy – orientation days seem to drag on and are extremely boring from my perspective.  The “need to know” things in an orientation day can usually be summed up in maybe an hour.  They could just tack this to the beginning of the first day and call it good.

Another thing I hate about orientation days are the ice breaker and get-to-know-you games.  Today we had at least four different speakers have us go around the room, introduce ourselves, tell them where we were from, and a little about ourselves.  Doing it once is more than enough.  By the fourth time you feel like strangling a puppy.

Next random thought, I have my own business cards.  The program gives them to us to distribute.  How cool does that make me?  Admittedly, probably not very cool.  But I feel a ton cooler.  Also, I have a pager now.  I guess I’m important enough to page and give out business cards.  Whoa.  Moving on up the ladder.

Yankton, SD has over 65 practicing physicians.  Yankton county only has a population of 21,000.  I was unable to find out the size of the catchment area of the hospital.  But that seems like an impressive number of physicians for a community this size.  Also, while talking to the physician recruiter, she said that they are currently looking for family practice doctors, internal medicine physicians, endocrinologists, urologists, general surgeons, and 3 invasive cardiologists.  I asked if the Yankton community even had the resources to support three interventional cardiologists, and she stated that they had all the infrastructure in place, they could hire and support all three tomorrow.  I was shocked.  Not only does Yankton have 65 practicing physicians, but also it could support many more.  Crazy.

Talking about physicians, a neurologist has just started practicing with the large multispecialty group in the last two months.  I was excited to hear this, with my interest in the neurosciences.  Also, the hospital plans on upgrading their MRI to a 3 Tesla with fMRI capability, in conjunction with research funding.  So, fMRI research will be taking place right where I’m studying.  That is exciting.

We will be getting a TON of hands on experience.  Just recently a student interested in surgery who has been going his third year in Yankton, was allowed to do the left side of a hysterectomy under close supervision of an attending surgeon.  In what other medical school could a person get that kind of hands on experience as a medical student?  No where.

We will be required to do 42 history and physicals with a problem list – over dictation (with our own dedicated transcriptionist) over the course of the 3rd year.  We will be required to assit with twenty vaginal deliveries, assist with five c-sections, do twenty new born exams, and twenty-five well child exams.  There are medical students in the United States who finish their third year having never assisted in a vaginal delivery.  And here at SSOM, 20 deliveries is just the bare minimum requirement, some students log way more.  I wonder how many babies the Ivy league medical students deliver?

While orientation day was boring, the information I received over the course of the day made me super excited to get this year started.  It has a LOT of potential.