I have realized that I’m fairly contemplative and like to sit down and think about medical cases, but the busy medical system doesn’t allow for that much contemplation. There are too many patients, too little time. One of the nurses I worked with commented on a resident: “He’s great but he takes too long. He gets fascinated with the cases. He needs to learn to churn ’em and burn ’em.”
I spent 7 weeks in Ghana and got sick and got to experience being a patient over there. It was even worse – the doctor saw about 200 patients/day. There was no extensive history and physical. Just, “What are your symptoms?” and next thing I knew I was getting a malaria shot and pills to take with no explanation of my diagnosis (and I probably didn’t have malaria).
Sometimes in clinic I feel like this Ross Noble skit, only instead of “Next Muffin,” it’s “Next Patient:”