Medical School Highlights: Year Two

Me, thinking about the last year of school. (kidding!)  Photo by  Mathew Schwartz  on  Unsplash

Me, thinking about the last year of school. (kidding!)

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

I'm still recovering from finishing my second year even though the third week of my third year starts tomorrow. It's really boggling to me that I've completed enough credits to have another bachelor's degree--in under two years. Even though I'm 40% finished with my programs, I still get questions about what I'm learning at school. I thought it would be a great idea to share the highlights so you could have an idea of what I learned this year. (You can follow me on Instagram if you want frequent updates!)

Year two promised to be exciting because we got to start the block courses. (If you want more information about what that means, go here.) Year two was the first year of the really meaty stuff: diagnosing and treating conditions. I enjoyed anatomy and public heath and such during my first year, but I was excited to dig more into the clinical aspects of medicine. 

Highlight #1: Learning Adjustments

I really enjoyed the orthopedic block because it was hands on. I spent 12 hours every week, outside of lecture and not including study or open lab time, doing orthopedic tests or learning physical adjustments under the supervision of a chiropractor. There is nothing quite as satisfying as a good cavitation (the "pop") from giving an adjustment. While many of my classmates were nervous about practicing cervical (neck) adjustments on each other, that fall term was the best my neck has ever felt! I know the basics of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, pin and stretch technique, strain/counterstrain, and spinal and extremities adjustments. We learned so many physical medicine techniques to help patients feel better--I think the physical medicine rotation is going to be so much fun!

Highlight #2: Hydrotherapy Rotation

The NUNM main clinic offers hydrotherapy, which is basically the alternating of hot and cold water applications. (I will probably do an explanatory post in the future.) It's an incredible therapy that I use often at home, and the rotation was a great first introduction to working directly with patients and charting in EPIC. Many of my patients fell asleep, they felt so relaxed! I got to listen to sick lungs for the first time in a real person. I did my first abdominal exam on someone other than a classmate. 

Highlight #3: Cardiology Block

On the list of things I didn't expect to like, cardiology is at the top. I like women's health, babies, and food, so I was surprised to find myself really enjoying cardio and excelling at it. Pulmonology is ok (that was the other half of the block). I liked trying to figure out murmurs, reading EKGs, and learning the mechanisms of action for pharmaceutical and botanical therapies. Cardio did intersect nicely with my love of food because any intervention for a cardio related condition is likely going to require nutrition counseling. The best part of the cardio block was the simulation lab. OHSU has a beautiful collaborative sciences building, and it let us utilize the simulation labs. In pairs, pretending to be physicians at a primary care center, we were tasked with diagnosing our patients' conditions; and our patients were blinking, breathing, talking mannequins. We didn't know what condition our patient might have. All we knew is that the scenario would end with us calling 911. My partner (who was amazing) and I got unstable atrial fibrillation. I had a blast. 

Highlight #4: Therapeutic Diets

Any class that takes place in a kitchen is bound to be enjoyable. I really appreciated walking through major dietary patterns--Mediterranean diet, ketogenic diet, paleo diet, anti-inflammatory diet, etc.--by making those foods and discussing them over a meal. I really, really appreciate being assigned homework that I can use out in the real world. I created a ketogenic diet handout that I was able to use with real people during my first clinical nutrition rotation! 

Highlight #5: Gastroenterology Acute Abdomen Simulation

I was in Gastroenterology and Proctology this spring. Let me tell you--many, many things can go wrong in the abdomen! 

We got to do another simulation lab. This simulation was still at OHSU, but this one involved real people--actors portraying a variety of serious conditions. We didn't which urgent or emergent condition we might get. I was paired with different partner, who was totally cool and calm. Our patient had a perforated peptic ulcer and spoke limited English. She didn't want us to call 911 because she thought we were calling the police. We had to convince her to go to the hospital, otherwise she would die. As you can imagine, it was stressful; but it was the type of stress made me grow a little. The terror and the tears of our patient felt very real. The situation was meant to feel real, because ICE is very active in the Portland area.  


Things will only get bigger and better this year. 

  1. Clinical Nutrition Rotation (which I'm currently in)

  2. OSCE's in the fall

  3. Rotations as an official secondary intern in the winter

  4. More preceptorship hours

  5. Nutrition internship (hopefully)