Prior to going to the ED to get worked up for my blurry vision, my friend and I did our own limited eye exam in my apartment and successfully diagnosed me with a corneal abrasion/ulcer. All it took was a picture, history-taking, and comparison with online images. After this incident as well as my diagnosing friends and family with conditions such as hemorrhoids, contact dermatitis, pityriasis rosea, and patellofemoral pain syndrome, I realized that we are now at the stage in our training where we have achieved adequate knowledge of most of what we need to know as practicing physicians. The fact that we are able to accurately diagnose is monumental, and it made me reflect on how much we have learned from first year until now. In discussion with peers, we often lament about how we feel our knowledge gap is still quite large, and we have a long way to go in our training, but I believe objectively the progress has been exponential. It is hard to notice how far you’ve come when you are grinding every day and constantly learning new things. Medicine is also such a vast, constantly evolving field that it is tough to believe that you have achieved some sort of mastery of it. However, I am satisfied to know that after four years, I can accurately diagnose the majority of common conditions, and understand what are the relevant questions to elicit from a patient history in order to come to this diagnosis. Beyond diagnosis, as fourth years, I believe we also know how to treat the most common conditions. It is a relief to see how far we have come and to know that we will be entering intern year with as much competence as a recent medical school graduate can have. Trust the process, because it works!
My Blood on the Floor
Alex is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As an avid lover of the intellect and interspecialty collaboration associated with medicine, she is excited to be applying for Internal Medicine residency programs. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.