The Day We've All Been Waiting For

May 30, 2016

     All of the excitement that has been building over the last week (and months, really) culminated in what many of us students have been looking forward to:  our first day of clinic.  For those who don’t know, patients move through the clinic in a series of stations.  They begin with intake and vitals, then have time with a clinic team (medical student with another pharmacy, nursing, or undergraduate student and an interpreter), and finally move to the pharmacy to obtain medications and/or glasses.  The set up allows for us to see as many patients as possible while still spending time addressing the patient’s needs, work with different people every day, and have different jobs.  Altogether, we saw over 100 patients and were able to learn a little more about the Khmer culture and language and about medicine.  

     Despite all that we learned today, there is still much to learn and work through as clinic continues for another 8 days! As a medical student, I really enjoyed getting to teach the undergraduate pre-medical student and see her excitement when she put the pieces together. I was surprised to find how difficult it is to balance attention toward the patient, communicating via an interpreter, teaching and involving another student, and formulating a differential diagnosis all at one time. I am incredibly humbled by my experience today, as I have a greater respect for residents and attending physicians who teach us medical students. The patients we saw today left the clinic with smiles on their faces, saying "aukun," whether we gave them multi-vitamins or fashioned a make-shift brace for a potentially broken wrist. As much as Mercer on Mission supposedly brings to the Khmer people, we have just as much to learn from them and their simplistic lifestyle.

Kristen Corcoran, Medical Student

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