It’s when you enter your clinical years that you as a medical student get a true taste of what the practice of medicine is all about. Its very very different from what you learn from books, tutorials and lectures. You cannot learn medicine without stepping into the wards and clinics.
The best textbook is your patient and clerking patients can be a most humbling experience when you realise there is so much to learn and how little one knows at this stage.
Don’t be overwhelmed but at the same time also do not waste your clinical clerkship. Spend time talking to your patient – you’ll come to know how much your patient appreciates this as their doctors don’t have as much time to spend with them as you do.
It’s the beginning of a life long career of learning and much of it is in the form of an apprenticeship, learning from your seniors and in fact anyone more experienced than you. There’s nothing to be ashamed about learning from experienced nurses and MAs. Be humble and you’ll go far.
Here’s a great little video on Albert Einstein College of Medicine clinical year students reflecting on what they learned about caring for patients in their third year of medical school.