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Student Life Blogs

Real Patients and Real Patience

Happy August, everyone! Only two more weeks left in this semester, and I will already be a third of the way done with year 3! Woo!

Obviously, the biggest change from last year to this year has been the start of clinic. I am in clinic on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but the day that I see patients in Adult Primary Care clinic is Thursday. I know I keep saying how big of a change it is, but it seriously is a huge change! We’ve been practicing our clinical skills in lab for two years, beginning with retinoscopy the first week of 1st year. Between preparing for practicals and then pre-clinic checkouts, I’ve definitely put a lot of hours into practicing these skills. I think I was the most prepared that I could have been to start using them with patients, but it’s still so different to go into a patient encounter with your first real patient! I was more than a little nervous going into my first exam, but, like I said, we were very well prepared for this experience, and at some point I knew I’d have to just jump right in. My first patient was actually very straightforward, and I couldn’t have asked for a better first day!

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this summer is to be patient with myself and with my clinical knowledge. It seems almost impossible to take all of the things we’ve learned from the classroom and in lab, and to throw them all together in clinic, but every week it gets more and more manageable. I love the feeling that I have no idea of what I could see during an exam, (though it also terrifies me at the same time) and this gives me something to look forward to every week.

Comparing clinical cases with other classmates, I know that there are so many possible patient encounters to experience in Memphis and at The Eye Center. Hearing my classmates’ stories and thinking about my own experiences, I really feel like being in clinic solidifies everything I love about optometry. It has definitely been a challenge, but certainly a welcome one after putting in two years of hard work to get to this point!

So, that’s all for now. I’m gearing up for finals next week, and am also in the process of choosing externship site locations for next year, so stay tuned for more updates on that! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, y’all :)