Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Month

Almost a month has passed since classes started and it's hard to believe that we'll be completely finished in 3 months.

Even so it's been a LONG month.

We've had otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), and then dermatology, and then after that infectious disease, and finally we're in neurology.

All of the classes have been pretty good. Though after doing electives in the US I feel like I'm a little kid again who everyone thinks needs her hand held. I've returned to the land of not letting students do anything.

Luckily, otolaryngology let us practice albeit on each other. Even if it was with equipment from the dark ages I think we all enjoyed the practice. It was a tad hilarious though because we used one of those old head mirrors and had to reflect light into the persons ear, nose or throat. The doctors here do use battery powered head lamps though so that was some consolation. I never did see or use an actual otoscope during the whole class though, which would be a tad annoying if I hadn't of used one virtually everyday on my electives back in the US. The fact that this was the first time they decided to teach us anything about the ear or doing an ear exam is doubly annoying, luckily I had a great mentor back in the States who helped me figure it out. Ears are kind of important!

The other classes were pretty much on par with what I've come to expect from my school. Hands off and very didactic. Which I appreciate, but at this point I think we're past the basics that they keep repeating. (I know the difference between a macule and a papule, thank you very much).

Neurology might be the one exception. Since we've just started it's hard to judge, but the teachers really seem like they want to teach and we have seen actual patients and have had time to practice examinations (which would have been nice to know during my time in the ER a few months ago!!!) Granted our best practice comes from practicing on each other. It's easier to get the order and flow down in English before trying to either have someone translate it or trying to translate it yourself.

That's all here. Not too much excitement going on which is why I haven't written.

And finally I leave you with something profound that one of the otolaryngologists told us as he prepared to show us how to examine someones nose.

"Be professional, dress nicely, sit up straight, keep your speech appropriate. From the minute they see you and know that you're their doctor, they're watching. You will be judged. Never forget it."

Monday, February 2, 2015

The 16th Move

Today I realized how much I don't want to leave.

I can't bear the thought of being gone from this place.

It's funny that a place that has caused me so much misery is also the place that has become my safe haven. I know this place, I've grown to be the person I am now in this place, I'm happy here, it's become my home.

Everyone keeps saying that things change, that you have to move on.

I'm sick of moving on. 

Just once I want to stay.  

It doesn't matter how I feel. In 5 months I'll pack my bags and board a plane. Where it will take me I have no idea.

But, I do know that this place will never be my home again and that is something I regret.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Indeks

In Poland we have something that I guarantee most North Americans have no idea about. In fact they might even find it kind of funny and sort of "old school." (Because it is). It's called an indeks. 

An indeks is basically a little green book that has all of our information and all of our scores from every class we've ever taken. Pretty normal right?  Well no, not really.

Once we complete a class the indeks has to be taken to the head of the department and signed and (more importantly) stamped in order for us to get credit. Nothing in Poland happens without a stamp.

Most departments take three or four days to sign an indeks, some like to hold them hostage for weeks. I've been in offices that have piles of the things waiting to be signed. But, you have to wait as long as it takes, because unless the indeks is signed and submitted to the deans office at the end of the year, technically you have not completed the course. Never mind the fact that the department sends all of the course results directly to the deans office via this new fangled thing called a computer. So  the school has all of our results within days after the course is completed.

But, like I said no indeks, no credit. the only place I could find a good photo.

And heaven forbid you or a department LOOSE the indeks.

If it's lost one must hunt down every professor for every class ever taken and get it signed AGAIN. It doesn't matter how long has elapsed between loosing it and it getting signed, the indeks must have ALL of the classes in it; even if the dean has seen it signed and reported it as being signed for previous academic years.

So say for example you loose your indeks in your final year. You must find ALL of the teachers from your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years and get them to sign it otherwise you will not be permitted to graduate. That's right, despite the fact that the school has all of your results, if you don't have it in the indeks you will not get a diploma.

What's even better is that there is also a single standard sized piece of loose leaf paper which must also be signed and stamped with the indeks and then submitted with it at the end of the year. The piece of paper is placed in the indeks and one hopes that it does not fall out or is not lost in the process of signing- as the same rules apply to the piece of paper as to the indeks. The only exception being that the piece of paper is only for one academic year and it's replaced before starting in the fall.

And you know how in North America they have those fancy white coat ceremonies to mark the beginning of med school. Do you know what type of ceremony we have?
An indeks giving ceremony.

So there you have it. Our report card system. The indeks!

If mine makes it through this final year without being lost or misplaced I haven't decided if I'm going to frame it or burn it- right after I submit it to the graduation overlords to get my diploma.

(I should probably add that despite the tone of this post, it's actually a really interesting system. It's just so different from what I'm used to. The US also has loads of traditions that might seem odd to outsiders.)