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Whew! It has been an intense past few weeks. Clinical check-outs, an optometry conference in Orlando, and finals. Are we there yet? Finals ended Friday and boy am I glad. While finals are a big deal, there's really not a lot to talk about there, but clinical checkouts....
So for those of you who haven't been following along, "Clinical Checkout" is THE practical of practicals. We essentially perform the core skills that we've been learning for the past 2 years in under an hour. So what was it like? I'll tell you. Just a few more details before I dive in so that you understand the scenario.
Clinical Checkout contains 5 sections: Patient History, Chair Skills, Refraction, Slit Lamp, and un-dilated retinal examination. If you get less than 80% on any section, you have to retake that section. If you fail more than 1, you fail the whole practical. Every time I had practiced it, I was around 53 minutes. "Perfect," I thought...."7 minutes to spare." On the day of the practical, a good buddy of mine was assigned to be my "patient". What luck! After setting everything up, the time began.
First 2 parts went fine, then trouble struck during refracting. For some reason, I just couldn't get things going that day. Everything just seemed to go so slow. Usually I finish the first 3 sections in 33 minutes so that I have 27 minutes to do the last 2 sections. By the time I finished refraction, I only had 15 minutes left to complete everything. I could just see it coming... EPIC FAIL. If I ran out of time, I was sure to fail a section. I buckled down and kicked it into high gear. I flew through slit lamp on both eyes in 10 minutes. 5 minutes to complete a retinal exam and put everything into the computer. I picked up my lens and expected to see my friend's small pupils. Instead, the windows of heaven opened (and his pupils) and I was able to quickly assess his retina in 3 minutes. I put everything in to the computer and then looked at my time.....34 seconds left. I went back and fixed one number in the computer just as the time ran out. Whew! Everything ended up turning out great, but that was so stressful. In our wrap -up, the proctor was complimentary and also gave me some good feedback.
Now for a much needed break before I start seeing patients in a week!