What I'll Take Away from My Clinical Abroad
I apologize for the delay in posting a new blog. I've been traveling around Europe for the past few weeks and Internet access has been variable. Now that the trip is nearly over, I've had some time to reflect on the experience.
I had an amazingly positive clinical affiliation at the Galleries Day Unit in northeast England. I've learned so much about myself both professionally and personally, and I'm starting to grasp some direction for my career as a result.
I really value and admire clinicians who can develop rapport with their patients. It makes such a difference in the patient's willingness to be an active participant in the course of his care. It's a skill that I'm realizing requires a balance between confidence, knowledge and compassion, as well as knowing when to exhibit each. I think I'm one-third of the way there -- I still need to work on the knowledge and confidence bits. Seeing what a difference rapport makes is driving me to learn as much as possible in the next two years.
On the other side of things, I now realize that you don't have to have an answer to every question or odd presentation that you see in the clinic. This really stressed me out before. I used to feel so horrible if a patient asked me something and I couldn't answer him. What matters is that you take the time to follow up with whatever you don't know. I honestly think patients just appreciate it when you listen to what they have to say.
I really dislike manual muscle testing. I did a lot more of it during this clinical than previous ones, and I just don't think it's useful. I plan on looking into functional movement screening when I get home to see what I can learn. I want another way to quantify a patient's strength that isn't as subjective as MMT. The last thing I realized is that I desperately need to review musculoskeletal/orthopedic tests. I'm ashamed at how much I forget about the special tests for each specific joint. I could do with an anatomy review too.
It's been an amazing summer and I can't wait to see how some of these skills transfer to my next affiliation. It's exciting to see my career path slowly forming as I make my way through the program.