The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Exam

Just in case you were wondering, I've decided that I'm going to sit for my board exams in September. I've already paid the fees, and I *do* still have 2 months and 21 days left to study.

I decided that I would wait and see how I felt after the practice exams that my department was nice enough to organize for us this week. I didn't have high hopes, as I've done all of two months of emergency medicine in the past year and the last time I was in the emerg here was 11 months ago. That's a long time to be out of the swing of things. 

Well... I wish I could say that I aced the practice exams and that my confidence is back. But no. In fact, I failed two of the four orals. In one of them, I practically killed a patient. 

So why am I still thinking of writing the exam? Well for starters, I did really well on the written. And my strength is usually the oral. I'm good at thinking on my feet, less good at retaining minutiae that I don't use every day. So if I already have a pretty good base of knowledge for the written, that helps a lot. As for the oral... well, I sucked. I won't sugar-coat it. But one that I passed I managed to get through with very little knowledge simply by thinking my way through it, and the two that I didn't pass were for incredibly STUPID mistakes on my part. Things that when I'm actually confronted with the situation, I always think to do.

If you're curious, I forgot to ask about Viagra use before giving a cardiac patient nitro, and had to watch helplessly as his pressure bottomed out in spite of fluid bolus after fluid bolus. Finally I conceded defeat after starting him on two different pressors and crystalloids. Gah. The other case I failed because I didn't examine the scrotum of a young boy with RLQ pain and vomiting. I ruled out appendix and missed a testicular torsion.  Again, stupid mistake that I would never make in real life. Grr.

Basically it all went down in a way that made me realize that once I'm back in the emerg and getting back in the EM frame of mind, it will all be second nature. I *can* do this. 

Hearing that PGY-3 EM candidates have over a 90% pass rate made me feel better as well. Heh.

One more week until I'm back in emerg. It's been forever. I can't wait!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good luck dr. couz!!! U can do it! :)

PS. I'm writing my MCAT....that exam sucks big time!!!

9:55 PM

Blogger Resident Anesthesiologist Guy (RAG) said...

Good luck. Sounds like you're heading in the right direction as far as taking the exam.

9:10 AM

Blogger eziukai said...

frustration in medicine is quite natural, for my opinion. i think you will pass your exam ;). good luck.

6:42 PM

Blogger Jeffrey said...

all the best in your preparation!

9:37 AM

Blogger Mrs. Spaghetti Bender said...

you will do great. As you said once you are back in that mind set everything will go well.

11:00 AM

Anonymous rach said...

hi there. i've just started bloggin' and i happen to stumble upon your blog through links and i think by far i like your blog most. i am now a nursing student but i really want to be doctor. im planning on taking medicine after finishing my nursing course, but that still depends on our financial status. i really want to be a doctor to the barrio and reach out those people from far-flung areas that our Department of Health can't reach (i am from a third world country, by the way). i am inspired by your witty reflections and your medical insights. i hope that you will succeed in your every endeavor. god bless you and i sure would love to hear about your exams afterwards. =D

11:24 AM

Blogger Milk & Two Sugars said...

Hell yes, you can do it. In my most recent practice oral exam, I consented a sedated patient for surgery. Yes, really. Am now feeling very thankful that we're given the opportunity to stuff up prior to the real thing!

6:25 PM

Blogger Dragonfly said...

Hope it went well.

7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

update already!!!!


9:52 AM

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