So I’ve finally completed my first clinical year! Yayyy!!
How did it go?
It wasn’t a total flop so I’m not mad. I’ve honestly enjoyed the ups and downs through it all. Although extremely tiring, I’ll definitely miss the early morning rounds, history taking, physical examinations, huh a lot, as I’m going on this vacation. It’s not the end of it though.
The rotations I had for this clinical year were Internal Medicine and General Surgery.
Of the two, which did I enjoy?
I, without a thread of doubt, would choose Internal Medicine just because my anatomy was not as sharp to match up with General Surgery and Covid-19 made me miss the in-person experience on the ward with General Surgery as well.
Related| Day in the life of a Medical student
All in all, I’m glad it’s over. On to the next; Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Here are 10 things you need to know before you kick start your first clinical year
1. Follow Instructions
No truer words have been said about Clinical years than this. Entering it, all you want to do is excel and do better than the previous years. Hence, some people unfortunately study the unimportant stuff and leave out the vital ones. What you’re usually expected to come out with at the end of this year is a good history, performing all the important physical examinations, and arriving at an appropriate diagnosis. Just do that. If your school has a standard set of questions and areas you need to pay more attention to than others, do just that. You’ll only be frustrated in the end if you burden yourself with the low yield materials
2. You can’t remember everything & that’s ok
Sorry to say this but it’s highly likely you’re going to forget most of your anatomy and physiology in your first clinical year. It’s ok. The best thing to do is revise whenever you can. What I did to prepare for a class on a particular topic/region I knew very little about was going back to the basics. Literally, everything, so that you understand what’s going on. You don’t need to do the whole anatomy and physiology course again and don’t stress too much about it.
3. You appreciate medicine much more
This should’ve probably been the first. I’d be spitting facts if I told you half of my theory was merely memorized in the basic sciences/pre-med. When lecturers mention beautiful names and make analogies you try to imagine but never can, it is very unfulfilling. You appreciate and love medicine more on the ward especially if you take the ward sessions seriously. It’s so amazing to actually see the things you were taught in books in real life.
4. Prepare yourself mentally
I’m starting to understand the importance of all these positive mentalities, affirmations, etc, that everyone uses now. They are very much needed for your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s not an easy journey trust me. When you condition your mind to accept whatever challenge lies ahead, you’re good to go. Tell yourself, you’ll make it and it’ll come to pass
5. Your body won’t like you
At a point, especially during my finals, I cared less about developing stress acne coupled with anxiety diarrhea. My body was just not having it because it was adapting to a new system. This may not be the time to be on strict diets and gyming all you can. Let it go if possible and concentrate on what’s important and you’ll be shocked at how fast your body returns to default mode when it’s all over.
6. You have to be intentional & willing to compromise
1st clinical year can take a toll on your friendships and relationships even before you realize it, and it’s mostly with people who are not into the medical field and therefore, don’t understand how things work. It requires you to be intentional, putting in much effort to do daily, weekly, or even monthly catch-ups. Here, is where priorities set in. Know who comes first and make it a point to keep in touch and maintain that contact. They’re usually your greatest support systems during the many downtimes in medical school. Don’t ignore them
7. Adjust quickly
Also, in this new learning experience, it would be 100% beneficial to adjust quickly to the new scheme of things. It’s a one time, never-ending marathon. There is no time to waste. In the first few weeks, things may seem slow but it’d be prudent on your part to look for relevant materials to keep you on top of your game because when the pressure sets inn, you’ll be overwhelmed.
8. Stay organized
Staying organized is such a powerful tool in med school. It saves you so much stress and makes your life very simple. Since I started using the digital google calendar (which I never used before until now), most days are fairly smooth. I’m able to chip in additional patient and library visits and get notified at least 15minutes to the intended time.
What more could a girl I ask for? These student planners listed on Etsy are beginner-friendly and serves its purpose well. They are from one of the categories of the famous The Happy Planner
9. You may not be taught this again
It can be scary how you learn so much in less time on which grounds you’re going to practice as medical doctors in the near future. I keep asking myself if I’m even ready. If you come to terms with the fact that this is a once and for all shot, you’ll learn even harder for it.
10. You have to enjoy it
I really enjoyed this year as I said early on. I keep talking about being a chronic procrastinator in my previous blog posts. This year I vowed to avoid that, keep it all together, nice and smooth, and have fun with it. I tell you, it’s so interesting and wonderful that way. Don’t focus too much on the stress. Just go with the flow and have fun with it
What questions do you have about starting the clinical year? Your fears and the rumors you’ve heard. Kindly let me know in the comment section down below and I’ll gladly answer them
Thanks for reading. And all the best.
See you soon!
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