Friday, August 19, 2011

I am now orientated (Part 1)

Orientation for medical school is finally, finally over. Longest 4 days ever.

The best part of orientation was the people, hands down. They are really fun! I'm excited to start with my class. They are all down-to-earth, friendly, smiley, open people. I have yet to meet someone I didn't like or get along with.

Weirdly though, our entire class looks like rock stars. About 80% of our class look like they could be models. Most of the women have really long luxurious hair, and almost everyone is rail skinny. The men are all handsome, in shape and have great smiles. Is this coincidence? And it's not just me, because I've had 15 other students (both male and female) comment the same thing to me.

I'll only give you the highlights of Orientation - otherwise you'll be bored out of your mind as well.

Day 1

In the "Safety" course, we learned that we should use common sense. Comments were made like "Do not enter the building when the fire alarm is going off". I'm super glad they went over that, because I was confused. Other gems out of this course included making sure we pack up our laptops before evacuating for a fire and making sure to post Facebook status if there is an emergency.

I hate to break it to my school, but if Godzilla surfaces off the coast and sets the city on fire, I'm not going to update my status on Facebook: "OMG, giant dinosaur just ate my advisor! gtg pack up my laptop ttyl"

But who knows, maybe Godzilla uses Facebook too? So he will be too busy updating his status to eat me.

Status Update: No longer hungry.

During the computer setup portion, I knew more about setting up email forwarding than the person giving the talk. I stayed quiet until they started floundering, then I inconspicuously offered my services, and somehow got roped into coaching half our class on how to setup email forwarding. But being a computer engineer is a double edged sword; I can already see that I will be the go-to person when someone's computer is broken.

We did get to try on our white coats though (for sizing). That was pretty neat. The men were in and out in five minutes flat. The women...not so much.

How does this look on me? Is it too white?
Day 2

The first part of the day consisted of the staff preening our feathers. It is a big change from undergraduate to be in a school whose entire reputation in 2015 rests with our class of 200 people. I'm so happy to be at this school; I'm convinced they truly care about us.

If we start to slip with our grades (overall it's Pass/Fail, but they still keep track), we get contacted to see what's wrong. We have on call counselors, tutors and support systems for just about everything you can imagine from thoughts of suicide to family planning to having problems studying to losing a family member.

Then, we got certified in Basic Life Support (BLS). I asked our instructor whether we were actually ever going to do CPR, and he looked at me incredulously, "Yes, that's why we are teaching it to you! By the way, be proactive about your first time. When you go into rotations, elbow your way to the front of the line to switch in for compressions."

Did he just give me permission to tackle others to the ground so I can break someone's ribs?

8 hours later, my newly BLS-certified friends Jackie and Barry (yeah, not their real names) were walking in a nearby neighborhood when they heard a pop-pop-pop noise and rushed around the corner to find a victim of a drive-by-shooting. He was shot 3 times, so, I kid you not, they followed the steps. Scene safe, check. Are you okay, sir? Well, no, I've been shot 3 times and I'm bleeding profusely. Check for pulse: little weak, but he regained consciousness.

Less cool in real life
They waited with him until the police and ambulance arrived (he was stable when he left). Never know when you're going to need those skills!


  1. As my ER preceptor said, "the chest during a Code Blue is like home base in a game of tag - as long as you've got your hands on it, you can never be tagged out"

  2. Friendly advice (which your school may have already told you, so ignore it if so): if someone does need your skills in a situation like that, feel free to introduce yourself as a 1st year med student certified in BLS - but under no circumstances should you offer them your name.

    You ARE sue-able, people feel as little hesitation about suing med students as they do about doctors, and even if you didn't do anything wrong, just going through the legal process of being sued is a complete nightmare.

    Just offer "Excuse me, I'm certified in BLS - can I help?", or jump in there if they're unconscious, but a name is unnecessary and can lead to a lot of trouble if anything goes wrong at any point in the process (while in the hospital itself, you're covered by your school's malpractice insurance - but on the street, you're on your own. Sucks.)

    Good luck with school! It's gonna be awesome. :)

  3. What about the Good Samaritan Laws for protection on the streets? Can one still be sued?