Last week I said goodbye to the clinic I'd been working in for the previous 8 weeks. It was an interesting feeling - I was tired of the outpatient setting, but at the same time I felt like I was leaving something undone. In all my previous rotations I felt like I was taking up space rather than helping. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect more than that when I started my clinical year. Students can help out a little, but for the most part we take up extra space, time and effort. Which makes preceptors that are willing to take on students wonderful people.
Anyway, back to my previous rotation. Instead of taking up space and time I was actually practicing medicine and helping people. My patients were truly grateful after seeing me. By saying that I'm not bragging, I'm being honest. These people have nowhere else to turn for affordable medical care, so they are happy to have someone take the time to listen to them and treat their ailments. About halfway through my rotation, I was talking to my preceptor about patient compliance and other issues and he said to me, "You have to understand that this clinic is a third world country. We are not in America when in this building. It's a third world country and you have to remember that when treating our patients." The staff and I had a chuckle at this common phrase but its a very true statement. The clinic had quite a few resources, but it was somewhat limited in what it could do. Also, most of the patients are the 1st or 2nd generation to live in America. They bring with them a lot of differences in culture and beliefs about medicine and healthcare. It makes for a fascinating mix of patients and always an interesting day.
My last day the staff had a cake and a card for me. I've never had anyone thank me for being on a rotation before! The past 8 weeks has been interesting, frustrating and oh so rewarding. And now its time to move on. But first - spring break! :)