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All the M1s just returned from a nearly week-long Thankgsiving Break to our second Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM) week this semester, a course dedicated to exactly what its title implies.  We broke out our fancy new stethoscopes for the first time and spent the week learning how to do pulmonary and cardiac exams as well as focusing on how to improve our history-taking skills.  The exams were of course hilariously awkward at times, as we each practiced on a classmate while a faculty member guided us along.  The good news is that everyone in the class appears healthy, the bad news that we didn’t get much experience with abnormal findings.  As such, I wasn’t always really sure what I should be listening for.  When a friend of mine that I was examining asked if I was sure of what I heard, I jokingly replied, “trust me, I’m a doctor.”

However, by far the best parts of this CFM were the final sessions titled “classics,” where patients with common cardiac and pulmonary findings volunteered to come in so we could examine them.  We met patients with everything from heart murmurs to lung transplants.  Rotating through these rooms in small groups, we were able to examine and attempt to diagnose each individual.  Surprisingly, we all did pretty well at it.  In fact, you might say we all saw a small light at the end of that long, long tunnel we call medical education.

Remember to follow the Dose of Reality Twitter as well as mine if you want to stay even more in the loop (I promise I’m better at updating that).  Also, a friend recently sent me this short story about end of life decision-making, and it has been spreading amongst our class online as well.  It’s a short but excellent read that I hope you will check out.  Trust me, I’m (going to be) a doctor.

Lost Lake in Northern Michigan

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

A deserted street in Los Angeles.