Weeks 52 & 53: The Final Spring Break

At last, spring break has arrived (my last spring break ever), and, needless to say, it has been great to relax a bit especially after midterms. The past few weeks got a bit hectic (main reason why I never had a chance to post a blog), but all of my midterms went smoothly, and my research group (for my Master’s degree) received IRB approval (the institutional review board of the college) to move forward with conducting our research study. So, I’m nearly ready to get back to school and finish these final seven weeks. It feels so great to be able to say that…

In the final week leading up to midterms (Week 52), each course covered one final bit of information (more than a bit, I guess) before exam time. In Emergency Medicine, we focused on the treatment of neurological emergencies (stroke, seizures, head trauma…etc.). In Family Practice, we reviewed the outpatient work-up and treatment of hypertension, chest pain, and chest palpitations. In Pathology, we learned the cause for and manifestations of various forms of anemia and leukemias/lymphomas. Pediatrics shifted focus from infant care to toddler and adolescent care, focusing on psychiatric disorders (depression, schizophrenia, conduct disorder…etc.). The newest procedures learned in Clinical Skills, included urinary bladder catheterization and airway management (intubation). It’s so awesome to finally learn the steps for performing these procedures. Of course, we practiced these two procedures on anatomically correct models, and not real patients, but it will definitely help knowing these steps once I’m out on rotations. Finally, for my Clinical Decision Making course, my group received our next medical case to solve. This time our patient presented to the emergency department with fever and fatigue…and that’s all the clues we got, so this case will definitely take a more extensive work-up to figure out what’s actually going on…

As far as the research project that my group and I can finally move forward with, data collection will most likely begin at the end of this month or early next month. As alluded to a bit last semester, our research topic involves anterior cruciate ligament ((ACL) a ligament within the knee joint) injuries and their high prevalence in college level athletes. Although many of these injuries occur following direct trauma to the knee, most actually occur without contact to the knee, which suggests that such injuries are preventable if the muscles and ligaments, which support the knee, are strengthened through training and exercise. So, my research group has found a training program researched and designed specifically to prevent ACL injuries in athletes by strengthening the structures supporting the knee joint. We seek to survey college coaches (2,000 +) of soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and skiing teams (these are the sports with the highest rates of non-contact ACL injuries) across the nation to see how many of the components of this ACL injury prevention program they integrate into the training regimens of their own teams. If there is an identified correlation between the extent of the prevention program used and the number of ACL injuries that have occurred on each team, then we hope to be able to recommend implementation of this program or others of the like to help prevent these avoidable ACL injuries. With time lost, money spent, and significant medical recovery following an ACL injury, such cost-effective and successful ACL injury prevention programs may benefit all athletes of high-risk injury sports. We’ll see how this progresses over the next year…

I survived my midterms, so here’s a midterm for you:

  1. True or false: Atrial fibrillation exhibits a faster heart rate than atrial flutter.
  2. What is the most common, preventable, injury-related cause of death in children?
  3. Insulin injections are given: intradermally (into the skin), subcutaneously (between the skin and the muscle), or intramuscularly (into the muscle)?
  4. True or false: It typically requires the same amount of compression time to stop bleeding from a vein relative to an artery.
  5. Bonus: What specialty did I choose for my elective rotation?

Last week’s answer:  You just completed an arterial blood draw on your patient. After withdrawing the needle from the artery, you should apply at least 10 minutes of pressure over the puncture site (on average, but varies from patient to patient).

Clinical Phase Countdown: 71 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes (getting just a bit more eager)

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