I spent yesterday afternoon as a patient for the third year medical student exams at the QE Bham. We patients had a great time, sandwiches, lots of tea and the examiner who sat with me was a gorgeous gastro consultant. He loved his history and theatre, it was just a shame that we had to break off the conversation when the students came in! The poor students. The first one was so nervous that she was shaking so much she could hardly hold my wrist to take my pulse. I have bronchiectasis which is really difficult to diagnose and having done these exams before I know that I can even fool experienced doctors, trying to become consultants. It was interesting to me to discover that these students had been well trained to look for the signs of COPD. They started off well and then realised that there was something different with me, which really threw them. Then they simply couldn't put it together. Some really struggled, went into a panic and couldn't name what they thought I had, some mentioned bronchiectasis but seemed scared to be definite. I felt really sorry for them. Both the examiner and I had sinking hearts until the last candidate came in. She did a lovely confident examination and came straight out with it. She then went into a detailed account of treatment that I could have ( and mostly have had over the years). The examiner and I were ecstatic, she could tell and bounced out of the cubicle with a huge smile on her face. The examiner wrote REALLY GOOD! on her sheet and I went home delighted to have had a lovely afternoon, doing something positive for the generation of docs whom we will be relying on in the future.
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