The first assessment in the medical curriculum will
be history taking – an activity in which I have some skill
thanks to my time spent working as a pharmacist in the community
and I feel that experience will surely advantage me.
But although it’s listed as an assessment in all our documentation,
it’s “formative”, which means it’s something closer to an initiation
into the grading structure and the format of the actual markable test
conducted mainly to give us feedback for our own professional interest.
But although this doesn’t officially count towards our final grade
it does get recorded and in a few weeks we’ll watch the DVDs that we made
of us taking a history from our colleagues playing the parts of patients
acting as if they suffered from a range of mysterious, unknown ailments.
My partner played the part of the doctor first
while I pretended to be a patient with the worst
diarrhoea he’d ever had with intermittent emesis
(that’s vomiting, for those of you don’t know what it is)
My partner actually did really well,
until right at the end she fell
into a trap you’d think she would have saw
and forgot to turn off the video feed before she swore.
I don’t know what reaction that’ll get when our class views the DVD.
She was worried about our tutor’s opinion, but if you ask me
no-one will care. We’re all adults and I’m sure we’ve all heard worse
than someone idly dropping an impulsive, poorly timed curse.
After that little faux pas it was my turn to record a history.
Her fake patient had productive cough and other respiratory
symptoms. It was fairly easy to work down the question list
and a record of travel to India was the only detail I missed.
Taking a patient’s medical history (at least in this artificial case)
is surprisingly simple but perhaps I’m just used to having to face
real patients in the past who were usually either confused, confusing or hostile
and by comparison these prewritten scripts for preclinical students are a little bit facile.