Experience analysis is a series of short interviews with medical students, who shared their funny stories about what happened to them at our Faculty. Since the EPASS format is (or, in the case of the first years, will soon be) very much familiar to each one of us, I decided to transform their stories into what at least briefly resembles the infamous STARR method.
Student: UM Medical Students » Assessor: The Reader
University: Maastricht University, Maastricht » Specialty: Medicine
Assessed on: *Time of Publication* » Created on: FHML grounds
Card title: B-side EPASS material
SITUATION It happened in a tutorial in 1.4. The case included a photo of a lady experiencing the symptoms of what we had to attribute to either a stroke or facial nerve damage. Before discussing the photo of the patient, we spoke about the other learning goals.
TASK Seemingly, the discussion got a bit repetitive, which is why I started to look for a not too obvious distraction (which, in non-online settings, is quite a challenge). Luckily, this case included that photo of the lady, which I could modify a bit. And by modify I mean drawing a unibrow, a moustache, crazy hair, earrings, and more. Something many of you might have done when you were younger.
ACTION Just as I am done with my doodles, I hear the tutor announce: “Now, all of you look at the case again and let’s discuss how these findings link to what we have just spoken about”.
RESULT Something I have not mentioned before is that the tutor was sitting two chairs away from me on my left side, while my best friend was sitting on my right (proved far enough to avoid getting caught, while evidently drawing and not listening). I was sitting closest to him of all students in the tutorial that day. Because he did not have the case printed out, he looked over to my case. And, you guessed it, he saw what I had done. His face went blank and he looked at me confused. He tried to hold back his laughter, quickly looked away from the edited photo and started summarizing clinical signs again. My friend and I glanced at each other, both hoping the other wouldn’t start laughing, as that would have been the end of both of us.
REFLECTION I will definitely never forget my tutor’s face, or the one from the case with my creative additions.
SITUATION I believe a brief description of the setting of the experience will already serve as a spoiler to what happened to me: Skillslab. Injections. Gluteal intramuscular, indeed.
TASK Mine was just lying still. Theirs was to prick me into my gluteus maximus. What could possibly go wrong?
ACTION I was laying down on the examination table. As you might imagine, I was quite exposed. My classmate and my Skills coach were going over the procedure once again, to avoid making any mistakes. Meanwhile, I was focused on lying still and pushed their voices to the back of my mind, trying to relax. And then…
RESULT Just as I nearly forget why I was lying on that table at all, it hits me. The needle, that is. And the realization that no one announced when exactly the classmate is going to begin the procedure. If you are imagining me jumping into the air and then somehow managing landing on the examination table, you are not too far from the reality.
REFLECTION Always announce it when you are about to stick a needle into someone’s gluteus. It might come as a shock if you don’t.
SITUATION When I was in my third year, I used to work at the ophthalmology department, at the administration desk.
TASK Some of my tasks were patient logging, confirming their appointments, and directing them to the waiting room.
ACTION The day started as normal. An old lady came to the desk and told me she had an appointment. I opened her file and saw she had not come to our practice before. Usually, there is a photo of the patient in the system, if they have been logged in before. Now, this was not the case. I explained we had to take a photo of her for the files, and she agreed to it. I told her to go and sit in the waiting room.
Twenty minutes later another woman came in. I asked her about her name. To my surprise, it was the same name as of the woman I had checked in earlier that day. “That’s weird”, I thought to myself and started feeling a bit nervous. I thought I already checked her in. I scrolled down the file with the names. There was a second person with that name on the list. I clicked on the file and recognized the old lady. So her photo had already been in the system after all. And, she had already been called into the examination room to have some tests done.
RESULT I panic, jump off the chair, and run to the examination room. “Stop, you’ve got the wrong patient!”. It could have gone very wrong. But luckily, no major procedure had been done to the patient yet, apart from some tests.
REFLECTION Turns out the old lady was 40 minutes early for her appointment. This made me conclude she was the first one on the list, and not check the rest of the list. I was very ashamed of myself, but also relieved the consequences were not as big as they could’ve been. But from now on, I always check the date of birth before I sign someone in.
SITUATION I was still quite new to the whole being a university student scenario. Very new actually, it was one of my very first days at FHML.
TASK I had to find a room where my practical was going to take place. This did not really seem like too difficult of a task.
ACTION I found myself in a long corridor with doors everywhere. I realized that I still had no idea where everything was, since the labelling at FHML can be a bit of a struggle until you get used to what the numbers and letters on the timetable are actually for.
So there I am, standing in this corridor, and deciding on where to turn. I put on my best take on a confident face and started randomly walking around. This tour takes me about 30 minutes, and the letters and numbers still do not seem to quite match the ones on my timetable. During the walk, I get more and more suspicious about what kind of a faculty I am in: I am surrounded by old people and only a couple of what I would consider university-aged students. Because, you know, my idea of a university would include mainly young people. Which did not seem to be the case in Maastricht. Strange.
RESULT Little did I know, I was not at the university anymore. I was at the hospital.
REFLECTION I felt quite stupid for not having realized it earlier. I would maybe not have realized it for the next 30 minutes, if it wasn’t for someone who told me where I was. At the time, I must have been so nervous, that I wasn’t thinking about where all the students were. In my defence, it was one of the first days.
[Thank you for reading! And, of course, a big thank you to all the students who took their time to think about their experiences and shared them with me. There are more stories that I have received and could not include in this article so you can expect them to be featured in the future. And, if you happen to think of any others that you would want me to incorporate into the upcoming articles, send an email to email@example.com].