Ramblings of an Online Clerk

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately — in both senses of the word. That is, having oddly vivid dreams about people and places, but also spending a lot of time with my head in the clouds.

I don’t know if my peers have been feeling this way, too; but spending time in my head has been a welcome distraction from keeping my feet on the ground, so to speak. Daydreaming about the future and actually being able to work in the hospital have been overriding my drive to finish any task for online submission (and sloppily, no less).

Thank God, it’s finally Friday.

It’s the end of a brutal first week in IM. I had none of the free time I had back in Pediatrics. It’s a world of a difference, really. I’ve actually been feeling frustrated, feeling like my work is never good enough and blaming it on the fact that making slides all day “totally isn’t my learning style”.

Yep. Blame it on the situation. Easy way out, right? (I might as well cry about how nobody understands me. 🙄 hahaha)

Admittedly, it’s been a bad week. I don’t know about my peers, but I’m this close to tearing my hair out. It’s been frustrating to have almost every single requirement returned for resubmission because it’s not thorough enough. It feels like a slap in the face (yes, I do take things in med school personally). This week has forced me to come to terms with my inadequacy, my laziness, my incompetence. But every day, I choose to see these things as areas of improvement. It’s hard, but there really is no way around it.

Our consultants have been so strict and for good reason! I’m really not used to it, making it strikingly apparent how ~comfort zone~ I have been about my work these past few years. But I choose to recognize it as something that just has to be. If this is what it would take for me to be a good physician, then so be it.

It’s my last year in medical school. It’s time to grow the hell up.

Here’s something to think about — maybe I should see things beyond the mundane tasks of being part of the new breed of the so-called hospital bottomfeeders: the online clerks. Yes, we are missing out on a lot of exciting things. Patient interaction and clinical skills are definitely areas of disadvantage.

Some might see us as victims of circumstance; but on the other side of that, some deem us to be lucky because they think that online clerkship has invariably excused us from the bad parts of clerkship. No 24-hour duties, no horror stories about having to measure urine output on duty (“takal ihi gang” daw hahaha), and so forth. Though to that, I’d like to say: it comes with a price. Sitting in front of your computer the whole day just learning theory and listening to lectures isn’t that much fun either.

As with a lot of things, there’s a flurry of different opinions, pros, and cons. Some may look down on us because they don’t see it as “real clerkship”; but at the end of the day, it is what it is. There’s one end point and that is to learn the most and to practice the most in whichever way we can (i.e., buy suture pads and syringes, listen to your own heart and lung sounds, etc). We’re all just trying to become good doctors.

These days, I’ve been feeling like whining a lot. Again, no one understands me! 🥺 It’s so much easier to cry about it, but the deadline doesn’t change. The requirements don’t magically disappear.

So what do I do about that?

I let myself sulk a little (and maybe write an article about my feelings, lol). THEN! I make sure to parent myself, taking this as a time to develop my character. I also recognize that lessons are still to be had, and no situation is 100% tapon. These days, I’m learning perseverance, resilience, and conscientiousness through the frustration I get from seeing the word “RESUBMIT” after the consultant’s comment on my subpar work. It really is a bad feeling, but I really shouldn’t take it so personally. I now use that to fuel myself to do better. See the gaps in my work and try my best to learn from it. I mean, every consultant has their horror stories from med school, right?

I also reassure myself that we aren’t less than our peers who have come before. There’s always another time to make up for things we can’t do now. Just maximize!

While I would much rather have actual clerkship in the hospital — with actual patients to help and not just faceless initials on paper, this is what we have now. We just have to make do. I’m lucky to be comfortable at home, I just really have to stop bitching and work on what I can.

So that’s the point.

Also, my takeaway for the week:

You wanna be in IM? You better work, bitch.

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