Clinic Day 2

I am proud of myself for many things, but my greatest accomplishment today is learning to work with my interpreter. We are both opinionated, female, third year medical students, neither of us surpassing five foot two inches tall. In orientation I learned that I am suppose to speak to my patient and that she is suppose to translate each phrase for me just as I said it. It turns out, things are a bit more complex than that, for one thing she has a brain. Yesterday I felt frustrated by how rarely I felt included in the conversation. I acted like the boss, telling her what to say, and then just writing my own orders. I was trying to use her like a tool, when really she is so much more. By the end of today however we were calling ourselves “the machine.” The most important thing we learned was that we can trust each other. We have finally found an equal balance where we share the responsibility of our patient. We are both efficient and have learned to anticipate each other’s actions. For common problems she knows what questions I am going to ask and she asks them for me. Once she has given me all this information I may ask more questions or she may have more and then we can discuss our next steps. We take turns sharing our knowledge base with each other. I find I know a lot more about cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases that are more common in America and that she knows more about the diseases that are common in Cambodia. As the day moved on our ability to work as a team went from being my biggest hindrance to my best weapon. I could not treat a single patient without her, and together we are becoming so much better than we could be apart. I hope she will continue to teach me and that I will find some way to show my appreciation. I am so thankful for this new friendship and pleased we have over a week of clinic work still ahead of us.

Audrey Jernigan, Medical Student

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Gayle-Anne | May 26, 2015 at 01:33 PM EDT

Loving reading the blog! It is so great to hear everyone's commentary on what it is like to actually practice medicine in a foreign country. Cannot wait to hear more!

2. Audrey | May 28, 2015 at 10:03 AM EDT

God bless you Audrey, we love you!

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