Caseload Breaking Point
I just finished my second week at an outpatient clinic where I see a great variety of patients. I'd say it's split 50/50 between orthopedic and neurologic diagnoses. The caseload diversity is going to be a great learning experience. But until I feel up to speed again with my outpatient skills (especially my evaluation skills), I anticipate a few rocky patches and early breaking points.
As a student six months away from graduating, I know there are certain expectations about where you should be in the spectrum of clinical development, particularly with the orthopedic population. However I haven't completed a full ortho eval in about a year-and-a-half and to be honest, we hadn't even covered our entire musculoskeletal coursework at that point. So when I looked at my schedule for the week and saw shoulder, knee, low-back, and cervical initial evaluations, I felt completely overwhelmed.
I managed to tackle it all, but reflecting on the week I'm starting to feel like the caseload is getting away from me. I don't feel like I've had time to think about each of these patients or develop a plan of care that I feel comfortable progressing. It's always a tough situation to be in as a student because you want to be challenged and you want your colleagues to trust you with as many responsibilities as possible, but there's a very thin line between juggling those responsibilities and letting it all come crashing down.