So What Now Clerk?

Clerkship. Just mentioning the word probably sends chills to any med student's spine. It's about as fear inducing as initiation is to fraternities circa 1990s. Clerks are commonly described as the lowest form of animal in the hospital, frontliners in the everyday hospital grind, or more aptly, the way I see it, clueless minions bustling and fumbling about. Every doctor goes through this rite of passage, and possibly the best spin I could make out of this is to distill it for how or what it really is. Because you know, romantization requires that every storm have its rainbow.

Lesson 1: You will not die from clerkship

Remember the feeling of starting med school? How fish out water we all felt? (And yes for you future medical student, it is inevitable to feel overwhelmed, unless you're Buddha of course) Clerkship is the initiation stage to the clinical setting, as first year is to med school academia. I remember my first day as a clerk at the Pedia wards, I was so clueless I could have sat down our outgoing clerk and flood him with interrogation lights from all the questions I pelted him with. No amount of orientation, in my opinion, could ever prepare one for clerkship. So I guess the best advice is to pull yourself together, welcome the experience, and enjoy the ride. After a while you learn the ropes, memorize standards, and get acquainted with protocols; the process itself becomes manageable. Believe me, you will not die. Clerkship is just that, a stage, a phase, a rite of passage. Every doctor goes through this. You can do this. (The last three sentences make up my everyday mantra before going on-duty, whether pre, from or duty status :)

As is distinctly Aubrey, the next lessons will be delivered in the next posts

Related Links
Lesson 2: Clerks are every bit as doctors as their residents
Lesson 3: Clerkship is tiring but undoubtedly rewarding