Monthly Archives: August 2014

Into Second Year

I’m back, and I’m officially a second year medical student now!  I admit that I was a bit confused about my status over the summer…what happens when you complete your last first-year final exam, but you haven’t started your second-year classes yet?  Are you a lingering first year?  A rising second year?  A one-and-a-half year?  Some told me that I was a second year while others said I was still a first year.  So, when describing my place in the grand scheme of things, I finally settled on something along the lines of “I just finished first year, and I’m getting ready to start second year.”  A bit redundant perhaps, but it worked.

Today, however, I can say with confident nervousness that I am an MS 2 student!  Yes, I am confidently nervous (I think that may be an oxymoron?).  I’m confident because at least I’m no longer confused about my year at Stanford, and I’m nervous (a little) because I am taking a big step towards boards…and clinics…and the rest of my life.

And because I’ll be letting one of my classmates practice an arterial blood draw on me in two weeks.

We’re kicking off the quarter with practical lessons in emergency medicine, and learning to take ABGs (arterial blood gases) is one of them.  Although I could technically opt out of volunteering, I sort of feel it’s my duty to experience an arterial stick since I’ll be doing it to patients in the future.  So, I’ll be getting a needle in my radial artery.

Thankfully, our instructor said it shouldn’t be too painful if it’s done properly.

I hope we are able to pull off “properly” on the first try.  🙂

Back to today: we looked at histology slides of kidneys in our HHD urinary system lab this morning, and I am rather intrigued by the flow of blood in the kidney.  It’s very intricate, and the vessels have great descriptive names like “arcuate arteries” (they look like arcs) and “interlobule arteries” (they run between lobules, which we learned are smaller than lobes.  Apparently the “-ule” ending indicates a smaller version of something else, such as a globule being smaller than a globe).

In our Practice of Medicine session, I confirmed (as suspected) that I’d gotten a bit rusty over summer break.  Thankfully, today’s examples on how to take a focused history and physical exams helped refresh things for me, and I’ll do a more in-depth review of the techniques I’ve learned to finish tuning things up.  I’m excited to continue developing my clinical skills, as I still have much to learn.  That’s one of the great (although sometimes overwhelming) things about being in medicine–there are endless opportunities to grow.  🙂

Well, I’m going to try to get some studying in before I call it a night, so I’ll leave you here.  I’ll try to update my blog description this weekend, although it still feels a bit odd hearing my classmates and myself referred to as second years.   As for my not-quite-so-new white coat…well, it now has some wrinkles in it, and one pocket just might have some stray paper wrappers from those alcohol wipes I use to clean my stethoscope.

Looking back, MS 1 was a great experience.  Sometimes it was like a roller coaster into the unknown, and I had my struggles, but I made it through.  And if you happen to be one of the new first years and you’ve come across this blog, welcome to medicine, welcome to Stanford and enjoy the journey of your first year!!  You’ll grow–professionally and personally–in ways you never dreamed.  Dare to dream those dreams.

The 2014 Stethoscope Ceremony, taken from LKSC 4th floor.  Welcome First Years!
The 2014 Stethoscope Ceremony, taken from LKSC 4th floor. Welcome First Years!