27 August 2009

rockin' the VA

since last i posted, i took my shelf exam in neurology and have started my internal medicine clerkship.

whew! what a delightful relief. i love medicine.

i have been assigned to the VA (Veterans' Administration) Hospital for 4 weeks and Cooper Green (our county hospital for indigent care) for 4 weeks. this is good and bad. the VA is government run, so there are a lot of hoops to jump through. i had to be fingerprinted, get a new badge, get new computer codes, etc. on the flip side, the VA has all electronic medical records which is BEAUTIFUL. adios, illegible notes! computers are magnificent. Cooper Green, in stark contrast, does almost nothing on the computer. the staff and resources are limited there, which causes a lot of stress. even so, i'll have a lot more opportunity to help out and learn procedures there.

i'm currently at the VA with a team of two interns, a resident, an attending (nephrologist), and another medical student. it's been great. we've even had a few patients who we've had to go through a differential diagnosis "Dr. House" style.

best part of VA so far: yesterday afternoon i went to do an H&P (history and physical exam) on an older gentleman who came in with chest pain. he'd been there for most of the day already but hadn't been allowed to eat because of a probable test we would perform. he didn't end up getting the test yesterday, so a dinner tray was ordered... but it hadn't showed up yet. enter: sharon. it was probably dumb luck that i remembered there's a stash of graham crackers and peanut butter at the nurse's station. bingo! so i went and grabbed a handful and a big cup of ice water. i can't even explain to you the look on his face when i walked into his room with a handful of food. ecstatic. so delighted in fact, that he went on to tell me about his recent cocaine use that no one else could get him to fess up to. who says being a doctor is all about the books?

worst part of the VA so far: getting locked in a stairwell for 30 minutes this morning at 6am. ugh. all of the exterior doors at the VA are locked after/before hours, so i had to come in through the emergency room. i got really turned around and went up a different stairwell than normal, fully expecting to get to my floor and then just find my way around. no such luck. i got into the stairwell and the door locked behind me... every door on every floor was locked. even the emergency exit door on the ground floor was locked! i was fortunate to have my cell phone with me and the VA operator's number, otherwise i have no idea what i would have done. i tried to bang on doors, but no one was around at that hour. it was miserable. i just kept running up and down stairs hoping a door was really unlocked. then, after a security officer came and "rescued me", i had to explain to my interns why i was sweaty, frazzled, and had been missing for 30 minutes. ::facepalm::


a girl named heather said...


1. what is a nephrologist?

2. i like graham crackers and would smile if you brought me some in my dorm room. though, i probably wouldn't admit to any drug addictions.

sharon tsay said...

1. nephrologist is the fancy word for a doctor who specializes in treating kidney diseases.

2. i'd make you, you coffee addict. :)