Reflecting on Clinical Correlations over the two semesters, I realize how much I have learned about formulating a differential diagnosis and preparing a treatment plan. One skill that I really focused on was using algorithms to systematically go through the information presented in the case. This helped me think logically in a step-by-step manner so that no important details were overlooked. Another skill that I developed over Clinical Correlations was working with a team to evaluate a patient and share ideas regarding diagnosis and treatment. Although our sessions took place over Zoom, we learned to work together as a group. I feel that this collaborative approach was a great preparation for working with a medical team in the future.
I have also gained greater insight into how best to evaluate patient finding and narrow down my differential diagnoses and formulate a plan based on them. At first it was hard to separate incidental findings from information relevant to the case, but as we practiced more, I got better at noting which findings require urgent evaluation and which should be documented to be assessed more thoroughly at a later date. We worked on developing treatment plans that were practical for the patient to follow while also studied to have the most benefit. I especially enjoyed preparing presentations on topics that I chose to research. This allowed me to take a deeper look into diseases and treatments that I had not been familiar with. Through presenting my findings to the class I became more comfortable with the material and was able to share the knowledge I had learned.
There are many areas that I am looking forward to working on during the clinical year. Interacting with real patients and eliciting a thorough history and physical is something that I am eager to have more experience with hands-on. I also would like to focus on formulating more complete lists of differential diagnoses and have a working knowledge of the tests needed to rule each of them in or out. These are definitely skills that come with time and practice, and I hope to improve in these areas in my clinical year.