Week 27: Eye Of The Storm

          After five weeks of endless midterms, finals, pop-quizzes and projects, I finally have some time to breathe this weekend and upcoming week…and I couldn’t be any happier about this. From that tumultuous Cardiology final to my first two practice patient appointments, I definitely accomplished at least two feats that I felt were nearly impossible. Especially with this semester, it’s very easy to get caught up in the endless studying and exhausting schedule, but nothing rejuvenates me more than surrounding myself with family and friends, and this weekend will involve just that.

          As usual, we covered a lot of new material in each course this week. In Clinical Lab Medicine, we completed the topic of blood transfusions. In Clinical Skills, we learned how to perform the last of our physical exams for the semester, the abdominal exam. The abdominal exam is fairly involved, and entails everything from listening to the patient’s bowel sounds with a stethoscope to feeling the patient’s liver, and estimating the size of structures like the liver and spleen. In Pharmacology, we completed our study of pulmonary drugs and began to learn about drugs prescribed for cardiovascular purposes, especially those used to treat high blood pressure. Aside from drugs, one of the most important aspects of blood pressure maintenance is the promotion of lifestyle changes in patients with high blood pressure. It’s amazing how much of an influence weight loss and simple diet alteration can have on decreasing one’s blood pressure, even prior to (or without) initiating drug therapy. In Informatics, we focused on the newest HIPAA regulations and the affects that electronic health records can potentially have on patient confidentiality. Finally, our last specialty course of the semester, Nephrology/Urology, began this week as well, and we focused on imaging studies used to visualize the kidneys, diagnosing and treating inflammatory kidney disorders, diagnosing and treating kidney stones, and how to correct electrolyte/fluid disturbances (high/low sodium, high/low potassium, high/low water level).

          Overall, this week wasn’t too bad. The one exam (Clinical Lab Medicine), and the one final (Epidemiology), both went well, though they were challenging…unsurprisingly. With only three weeks of this semester remaining, I plan on taking it a bit easy this weekend, because I’m sure these final weeks of the semester will be just as exhausting as the five weeks that recently passed.

Question of the week: Lithotripsy is a procedure used to treat this kidney condition.  

Last week’s answer: After identifying a heart murmur in your patient, you believe that the murmur is derived from the heart valve located between the right atrium and right ventricle. You conclude that the heart murmur is derived from the tricuspid valve.

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