Thursday, March 16, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
Set a date......
United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)-Step 1
The test that my whole medical school so far was been leading up to is scheduled now. I got the go ahead for my school to schedule it and sit for the exam whenever I am ready. I thought Flag Day seemed to be a fitting day for such an occasion.
This test is the first of 3 steps to the becoming a liscensed physician. Step 1 covers basic medical science and is taken by all second year (or year 4s in the six year program) medical students in the nation. Step 2 has two parts. The first covers clinic knowledge. The second is clinical skills. The second is live mock patients that you must perform histories and physicals on. Step 2 is completed during the last year of medical school for all medical students. Step 3 is more clinical knowledge (I think) and is completed during your internship year, or the first year of residency after you graduate. Students believe that the tests are easier as you go on. The most studying and preparation is done for the first Step. The score often can determine what "type" of doctor you can be.
So, for the next couple months, all my extra time will be donated to trying to achieve the best score that I can on this exam. Let the countdown begin!
Friday, March 03, 2006
Kansas City Star Article
Sojourners Free Health Clinic
Health care for homeless
By Lewis Diuguid The Kansas City Star
Each step on the hard concrete screamed the same message.
I’m getting too old for this. But homeless people on our streets don’t have the option of doing anything but enduring the outdoors, the bad behavior of passers-by, and the physical, mental and emotional strain of living without.
I’ve seen it over more than 10 years of dressing in my black knit cap, frayed flannel shirt, faded blue jeans, ratty sweatshirt and old Army surplus coat to learn how our community treats its less fortunate. Lawrence recently was ranked the second-meanest city in the nation for homeless people. Kansas City was not ranked, but it can’t be far behind.
Some area churches help the homeless when no one else will. My annual sojourn took me to Grand Avenue Temple on a Sunday, where the flier said, “Everybody is somebody special, reaching out to unite all in God’s love.”
It was warm inside. Gospel music played before and during the service. Some people socialized. Others slept. Everyone was happy to be out of the cold.
Close to 200 people, most of them homeless, attended the service. Afterward, a line quickly formed for lunch in the basement at Lazarus Table Community Meal.
I got in a second line for Sojourners Free Health Clinic to see how people without any means found health care. The clinic opened in October 2004 and is staffed by University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine students. The UMKC Center for the City helped them get connected to the temple at 205 E. Ninth St. as a community partner.
Seven young women and one man in medical school scrubs put up plastic pipes and shower curtains as makeshift examination rooms for patient privacy. People interrupted, asking for cough drops and Tylenol to ease their pain. Folks on the street hurt a lot.
Homelessness and the cold expose people to myriad health problems. They include back and knee pains, colds and flu, respiratory ailments, dental trouble, diabetes, asthma, skin infections and high blood pressure.
“We try to help the people as best we can,” said Dan Purdom, a family practice physician and the faculty adviser for the clinic. “There are plenty of doctors to take care of people who have money. They’re learning how difficult it is for people without resources to get the care they need.”
Those without health coverage are among the sickest and neediest.
“I’ve learned how much we can do with few resources,” said Lisa Roark, one of the clinic managers. “We all try to do as much as we can.”
Brook Nelson, clinic executive director and a founder, said Sojourners had a budget of $3,500 a year and received about $20,000 in donated material. With more donated funds, it could expand its services to include additional medications and screenings for HIV and hepatitis.
“We’re kind of limited now in certain things we can do,” said Nelson, who graduates from the medical school this year.
Purdom said students created the clinic from nothing. They held fundraisers for it, decided what medicines to offer and what to put on patient charts.
“It’s a great experience for them,” he said.
They learn every week. At the end of each four-hour Sunday clinic, they have “learning circles” to review what they’ve picked up.
“I never would have known there are so many homeless people downtown,” said Roark, who graduates in May 2007. “It says to me our system is broken.”
Sarah , who graduates in May 2008, took my blood pressure and checked my pulse. Another student checked my aching right knee. It’s likely arthritis, he said. The care the students provided was excellent.
People with chronic conditions return to be examined and pick up prescriptions. Jerry said he got his blood pressure medication at Sojourners.
“It gives them the experience they need, too,” he said.
David said he went to the free clinic because he trusted the people and the care he received. “They make it easy,” he said.
“They don’t question you,” he added. “You’re ill, and they take care of you. They don’t judge you.”
Chris, who was at the clinic for prenatal care, said many doctors were “holier than thou,” which was a turnoff. The health-care providers at the clinic are different.
The church program borrows a passage from the Bible saying, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” It also says, “What we do together makes a difference.”
At Sojourners Free Health Clinic, there is no doubt.