Tuesday, March 13, 2012

“Don’t sit on the back of the plane”

I am currently in my 3rd week of clinical at Anne Arundel Medical Center. I know that I have several more weeks to finish my 1st clinical rotation and I have already learned a lot and been able to do many things during my rotation. At the same time I am not trying to say I don’t love my clinical rotation but as we all know clinical rotations do demand a lot from us. So far my clinical rotation has been a great experience and an everyday learning process. Before I started my clinical rotation, I was searching for books, and magazines that can give me ideas on how to make my clinical experience better. It was not easy to find books as I imagined it. I was not able to find any books that I was interested in so the next think I did was to call my dad. I knew that my dad will find something for me. Indeed my dad found a book called “The Power of Positive Deviance” by Peter Block. The book explains how to become a “positive deviant”. After reading this book I was inspired to write my own list for making my clinical rotation experiences “better”. Here are some tips that have worked well for me thus far.

1. Introduce yourself to everyone. Of course, in the beginning of this internship program we were taught to always introduce ourselves to anyone we meet during our rotations. This is obviously important. But how often do we take the time to introduce ourselves to the other team members ? How often do we just walk up to someone and ask them for something, without introducing ourselves first? I’ve learned that an introduction can go a long way. Getting to know someone by asking them a more personal question is also a fabulous way of making friends, not to mention making the hospital more of a fun place to be.

2. Flying the plane: In every situation that you encounter during your clinical rotation imagine that you are flying the plane. When your preceptor starts to write nutrition intervention or assessment asks if you can help so that you can learn from them. Be reasonable and stay engaged. If it is not an appropriate time to be assertive, stay in the game mentally by asking yourself what you would do if you were making the decisions. Write down questions that were not clear and you can ask when it the time is appropriate.

3. Stand out. Standing out can come in handy in many ways. It’s not even always an intentional thing. But when it comes to making good impressions on your preceptors, nurses, doctors and patients, standing out can be a great asset. Not to mention when it comes to getting letters of recommendation down the road. Know what is unique about yourself, and use that to your advantage.

4.Smile. A smile can be worth a million words. I always try to smile at people as I pass by. When I walk past a patient’s room, even if I don’t know them, I give them a friendly smile. Obviously, there are times when a smile is inappropriate. But for the most part, a friendly smile can brighten someone’s day, make them feel more relaxed, and show them that you care. Even if you’re tired and have had a hard day, try to spread some joy with a nice contagious smile.

5. Get your money’s worth. You’re paying a lot of money to be trained and learn from your clinical rotations. Even though you’re expected to do a lot of work, you’re paying for the experience! Learn as much as you can, and remember that the point of the rotation is not to be tortured or to just “make it through.” You are there to learn, and you’re paying money for that privilege! You’ll never have this kind of experience again, so make the best of it!


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  2. These are truly wonderful suggestions - perhaps we should make this mandatory reading for our next group of interns who enters this program!