Thursday, July 18, 2013

Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment

Today is the day that I got to tour the Vanderbilt University Hospital and I was super excited. Half of the class had a clinic, OR, or tour while the other half stayed to watch a movie. Those who are going either wore scrubs or clinical clothing to fit in with their surroundings. I chose to wear a collar shirt and dress pants instead because I wanted to save my scrubs for the OR. Jon was the person who led the VUH tour group and we started on the eight floor. 

The eighth floor was the patient care unit and it's for the general people who are admitted with nothing too serious. Jon explained to us about the team of doctors, interns, and residents who are assigned to patients. They all have to do their rounds each day and check on their patients' condition.

As we walked around I noticed there are hand sanitizer stations everywhere, I know the importance of keeping your hands clean but that foam hand sanitizer stuff makes my hands feel more icky than clean. We then went to see the intensive care unit and we actually got to see one of the rooms because it was vacant. This area is for patients with unstable vitals or patients that might need close monitoring. The rooms are designed for both the patient and their loved one's comfort. We also went down to the CT scan room to see the big machine used to scan your body. There were two doctors in there and they were kind enough to explain CT scans to us and showed us a few. CT scans are like x-rays except they provide a much clearer image of what is going on in the body. They can be compared to a sliced loaf of bread, you can take each slide out and see the inside of the bread. The doctors sit at a desk behind a lead wall to do their work since CT scans give off more radiation than x-rays.

We got to see the radiology department and it was not what I expected. It was a large, dark, and extremely quiet room full of roomy cubicles with radiologists reading different scans on computer screens and using a voice-to-text system to take down notes for doctors. Jon told me that they rarely get to meet patients and only interventional radiologists get to meet patients sometimes.

We went down to the emergency department after that. It was pretty peaceful since it was just a regular Thursday morning. The workstations in the emergency department are barricaded with a glass wall and Jon said that it was because crazy things happens in the ED. They used a TV screen as a board to show all the patients who are admitted in the ED, the board showed their age and gender, reasons why they are there and what kind of doctors they might need to see. There were tons of other information but we couldn't understand and neither could Jon since he has not had his ER rotation yet.

Next on the tour was the Children's Hospital. There was a huge difference between the regular hospital and the childen's hospital. While the adult one is all white and stiff, the children’s hospital felt happy and colorful. It was pretty sad to see the little sick babies that have to be in there and their parents are just by their side hoping they would get better. The whole tour was really awesome and, as weird as this sounds, it felt right walking around the hospital. I can just imagine myself working there one day and being part of the team to treat patients.

For our afternoon class, we went to the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment. There we went into different rooms to learn about physical exams. The first room I went to was for pulmonary and abdominal exams. It was pretty much a reminder of what we were taught in class last week. The next room was learning how to exam an ear. They used models of ears and different images to stimulate it, I got to use an otoscope to look into the 'ears’.

Then I moved on to learn how to do a blood draw. The name for a person who collects blood samples is a Phlebotomist. They had a lifelike arm with fake blood in it for us to practice on Jon was the one teaching us, verbally he did an excellent job but when it came to demonstrating he punctured the arm several times before getting it right. It was really easy to do it on the fake arm because I could feel the big 'vein' in it but when I reached to feel my own arm I couldn't find any vein, especially with gloves on.

The next station was learning how to to a blood pressure test. Jake was the one to teach us in this one. There were four of us in the group and we all took turns to test each other's blood pressure. I found it to be really interesting because you have to focus on doing two things at once, listening to the voices and looking at the sphygmomanometer.

After the blood pressure session we moved on to the cardio exam. We listened to different heart sounds and compared them to normal ones. I found that session harder to grasp on, I might need a few years of listening to heart sounds to be able to distinguish them correctly.

Last but not least was the neural exams. We learned to give tests to see how the patient's brain is functioning. When the whole thing was over I couldn't help but wished that we had more time because it felt a little rushed.
For SOFT night, my friends and I decided to go to Starbucks to grab a drink and spend the rest of the time playing Monopoly. We have been a bit obsessed with the game these past few days but who can blame us, it's a great game. This time we all lost to Savannah because she won the huge free parking space jackpot near the end of the game. It has been a long and exciting day filled with new experience, as usual, and I'm ready for a little shut eye. With tomorrow being Friday, we all have to prepare to showcase our Arete this week and I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. I’m amazed at all that you accomplished today. Just from what you wrote it seemed like it was several days’ worth of experience.

    When they showed you how to draw blood I’m guessing that the test arm really didn’t resemble a real arm. Real veins and arteries can be difficult to find and it’s critical to get the needle in just right so you get a good draw.

    And most important when you draw blood is to stick the patient without the patient going ballistic.

    For about 35 years I routinely gave blood but it wasn’t a regular donation. I gave platopherisis, which takes between 2.5 and 3 hours. When they first started using this process they stuck you in both arms and you had to sit perfectly still for the duration. Try sitting perfectly still if the needle isn’t inserted ‘just right’.

    It finally got to the point that my arms had been stuck so many times (more than 250 donations) that my blood vessels were too scarred up to find a good place to stick me. No matter where they stuck me the pain was more than the nurses wanted to inflict. Thus ended my association with the blood banks.