RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
I was a lucky med student in 1957 -- my GP father paid for my education. [NB - in Norway at that time med school was at government expense, but the med school graduate was then assigned a year or two at usually remote locations as a pay-back.]
My most practical medical "training" was informal -- I needed a job for the summer between my first & second year of med school. The Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio was only too happy to hire me on at minimum wage. After a month or so of on-the-job training on emergency room daytime shifts, I was handed the opportunity to "run" the emergency room on night shifts. I sat at the front desk, out in the waiting room, where I waited for a patient to come in. As the E.R. secretary I got their complaint and stats on the log book, then escorted them back to an actual patient room where I now became an orderly, getting weight, blood pressure, temperature.
Then I became clerk, phoning the intern on-call. After his (her) exam, I took orders. If an xray was needed, I became orderly, wheeling the patient upstairs to x-ray. If a shot was needed, I became nurse, getting the medication and giving the injection. I then advised the patient, if necessary, on how to take the treatment advised by the doctor. If a cast was needed, I assisted; surgery - I helped the patient change into hospital dress and wheeled them to the O.R.
At end of patient visit, I logged them out at the front desk. What I was told I wasn't good at was Janitor. After the patient left, I was expected to clean everything up!
Although this job lasted only 3 months, I never forgot who does what in the hospital -- or in an office. Each worker thinks he runs the place -- in most patient encounters, even in the emergency room, the doctor is actually called last!
Eventually I learned another role on that job -- teacher! Eventually the interns and residents declared, "Huffman, you're becoming a doctor. Why don't we teach you how to sew?" Once they did, I could help the intern challenged by the first time he had to suture a wound all by himself.
Dave Huffman, retired M.D.
posted 2 years, 3 months ago
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