History Lesson

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.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

    Mar 01, 2011 @ 02:42:48

    Yes,it could be a bit facile for those who have a facile pen…and facile princeps….
    I like the roleplay simulation you apply ,a very powerful and effective teaching/learning technique despite the embarrassing incidents that can happen.Besides,even President Bush (the junior) and so many other politicians and public speakers have had the same experience.It is not the end of the world and nothing can stop her future career.
    Have a nice day
    PS: I am sure you know that “emesis” is of Greek origin ( from its infinitive form emein .


    • The Rhyming Med Student
      Mar 01, 2011 @ 16:35:42

      Roleplays are certainly an excellent learning tool – and as an added bonus they’re much more fun than sitting through a lecture or tutorial 🙂

      It was a mistake that almost anyone could have made and I really don’t think it’ll have any impact. We’ll all get a laugh out of it when the class watches the recordings, then we’ll all forget about it in a matter of days.

      I knew that emesis was from Greek but not the exact word. Medical terminology often looks like a head on collision between Greek and Latin with a few made up words thrown in to create a new (perhaps intentionally) incomprehensible language for those who don’t know it.


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