Thinking of doing geriatrics,? Okay, then go live in a nursing home for 10 days! That is exactly what students at U of New England are doing. Now, I do not have dreams of geriatrics in my future but this program impresses me. I don't know how helpful it will be to the shortage of physicians entering into geriatric care but its a novel idea. And one that could probably be applied to other specialties as well. Rehab therapy or inpatient pscychiatry for instance. Or maybe it should be required that all medical students spend the night in a hospital (as a patient). For the majority or us, we are all fortunate enough to have not had some major medical trauma that caused us to be admitted and a "patient". There are books written about this, the cardiologist who has a heart attack, the neuroscientist that has a stroke but maybe it should be an added part of the cirriculum of our medical education. Of course short of actually experiencing these medical problems: having disabilitating arthiritis or suffering a stroke and subsequently the inability to move one side of your body it is hard to fully experience what these patients go through ever day, but maybe this program is a start.
Many years ago I was in a car accident and what I remember most vividly is the ride to the hospital and the fuss at finding my insurance card- the EMT was just doing his job but since I only had superficial face wounds from my head going through the windshield, this took up time between vital sign checks. I then remember having to pee but since I was on a backboard awaiting CT scan to rule out fractures or internal bleeding I had to lay there. I finally grabbed a nurse walking by and begged for a bedpan. I really thought I was going to urinate on myself but somehow I got my x-ray next and was able to walk myself to the bathroom. In any case, my point is that I was only a patient for several hours and my memories are of the insurance and being left in the hallway on a backboard with a headache. So combine those with 10 days in an institution and maybe I'll become the empathetic doctor I hope to be.
Oh, and I guess study break is over, genetics is calling... I love term 2!