Week 2: No Job For A Scalpel

          It has been merely two weeks, and I can confidently say that I have never learned so much new information before in such a short amount of time. Keeping up with (and staying ahead of) the coursework at the speed with which it is being taught is a challenge…but, so far so good.  

          Five new classes began this week, including Clinical Anatomy, Physiology, and Behavioral Medicine. Behavioral Medicine seems like it will be a very interesting course. It focuses on how to foster effective, professional clinician-patient relationships through proper communication skills. The professors pair us off, one student plays the role of a PA and the other plays the role of a patient. This week, we learned how to manage the patient who has been sitting over an hour in the waiting room, the patient who is confident that he or she needs an antibiotic prescribed, though he or she actually does not, and a patient who refuses to be treated by a young clinician. Trust me, this is not as easy as it seems. I hear very interesting things about our midterm and final for this class, so stay tuned for those stories!

          Thus far, in HEENT, we have learned how to diagnose and treat headaches (both mild and severe), as well as disorders of the nose and sinuses. The past two weeks of Dermatology focused on the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of benign and malignant skin lesions, as well as diagnosing and treating infectious diseases of the skin (bacterial, fungal, and viral).

          Of course, I will never leave out a Summer (the cadaver) update. Tuesday, we excised her back skin, exposing most of the surface back muscles. Yesterday, we removed these same surface back muscles to expose deeper muscles of the back and neck, and then removed the back of her spine (a laminectomy, in fancy terms) to expose her spinal cord. The laminectomy was no job for a scalpel. We had to take a chisel and hammer to Summer’s back to break the bones (vertebrae) surrounding the spinal cord. Yes, it was a loud and messy job, but an amazing experience.

Question of the week: There are 11 recognized organ systems of the human body. How many organ systems can you name?

Last week’s answer: The smallest bones of the human body are located in the ears (the malleus, incus, and stapes).

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