As the 3rd-year medical students from the Tufts-Maine Track program who will be working at St. Mary’s for the next 9 months, Dave Skavdahl and I have been charged with writing a weekly blog to give readers an idea of what day-to-day life is like for a student doctor. The original proposal was a daily blog but Dave and I conferred and decided a weekly update would be better. We weren’t too sure how upbeat we’d sound in a daily entry after a 12 hour shift in the Emergency Room or an on-call night with OB/GYN helping to deliver babies. I’m guessing that once a week will give you a less grumpy version of a day in the life! I’m taking the first entry and you’ll hear from Dave next week.
For this first blog, I’d like to tell you a little more about what we’re doing here and how our next 9 months in Lewiston will play out. In a broader sense, the program is designed to give us experience practicing medicine in more rural areas, where Maine is often most in need of doctors. This is great for me because I’m originally from Caratunk, up by the Kennebec River. I am also of the humble opinion that Maine is the finest state in this great nation of ours, so after two years of intensive coursework in Boston it’s a real treat for me to get back on friendly soil.
The 3rd-year program at St. Mary’s is an integrated model as opposed to the tradition training model. This means that, rather than breaking the year up into 6 week chunks of time devoted to each major specialty (i.e. Family Med, Internal Med, Surgery, OB/GYN, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics), we work in each of the specialties every week. In the 5 days since I have started, I have already been on hand for multiple C-sections, hernia surgeries, office visits with multiple doctors, psychiatric consults, and a *mammoth* shift in the Emergency room this past Saturday. Beyond the intensive clinical training, the great benefit of this program is that I will often work with the same patients in multiple settings and derive a much better understanding of what it is like to navigate the healthcare system.
I can say from the onset that, in terms of organizing my time, it has been a challenging week. Not only do we work long hours (we’re averaging about 12 hours per day, 6 days per week, plus homework when we get home) but that time is often spent going bouncing among departments and working with multiple doctors. Thus far, I’m really pleased and excited by the response I have received from my teachers. I’m looking forward to a lot of hard work and some great learning.
We’re here for 9 months so there will be plenty of stories to come.