Arjun Sharma is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto
Picture a physician on a hospital ward at the day’s peak.
He jumps from one task to the next: patients being careened off for tests, colleagues who wish to discuss care plans, progress notes that need documenting, and piles of orders that need filling. Add to that the tune of beeping pagers, ringing telephones, and clattering keyboards, and not a single minute is spared of its full economy.
I’m watching all this during my first stint on a hospital ward. As a newly minted clinical clerk caught in the professional purgatory between classroom-cocooned medical student and ward-flying physician, I’m asked to do much of the work of the latter. But having only two years of study under my belt means much of medicine still remains beyond my intellectual reach. ...continue reading
University of Toronto
Class of 2019
His voice is warm and soft, each sentence running into the next, broken up only by gravelly laughter and the occasional cough. The honey that coats his voice obscures his jarring story, the suffering hidden beneath the evenness of his tone. He tells me about his injury, rating his pain on a scale of one to ten, and describes its quality and radiation. I ask him for his previous medical diagnoses and he pauses briefly. ...continue reading
Class of 2018
I notice him several times as I hurry past, wondering to myself what his story could be. He’s quite an old man, at least in his 80s. From a distance, I see two bulging black eyes, his face a mess of dripping blood. He’s observing the hustle of the ER with the expression of an accidental spectator at a cricket match: curious, but evidently a bit lost. I read the chart as I stride towards him: tripped and fell forward onto his face. Lives alone in a retirement home. On blood thinners.
University of Toronto
Class of 2016
At the beginning of third year medical school, I envisioned the next twelve months as an immersion in the clinical world, with the personal expectation of learning everything. I never anticipated the subtleties of the patient-doctor dynamic that I would identify. One lesson I learned was about the difference between patient-doctor and patient-student communication – an exceedingly common yet rarely-spoken-about disparity that teaches medical personnel about how different approaches to history gathering can yield varied results in assessments. ...continue reading