Of all of the rotations this year, this was the most apprehensive I was prior to starting. As a male student, it is not uncommon for patients to be uncomfortable in this setting, especially when performing exams for gynecological complaints. Fortunately, having a male preceptor for this rotation, I was able to get more comfortable with ensuring patients that their care, safety, and respect are the highest priority.
In terms of experiences, I appreciated that as Woodhull Medical Center is a part of the NYC Health&Hospitals network, it provided me with the opportunity to interview a wide variety of patient populations and allowed me to practice a wide range of clinical skills in a safe teaching environment.
One area that I had not considered as a challenge going into this rotation was your ability to connect with a patient on a personal level. As one of my preceptors told me, in OBGYN, you are going to see mother’s on the happiest and saddest days of their lives. It is our job as providers to show sympathy and compassion while also treating our patients however they may need.
My nights on the labor and delivery unit were a great chance for me to put myself out there and be involved, whether that meant introducing myself to each of the patients and their families, so they are comfortable with my presence as a student or making sure the different providers knew I was interested in being involved in each case, looking for opportunities to develop new skills.
The two weeks I spent in the clinic during this rotation were perhaps my favorite. It was quite instructive to be able to spend an entire day with a PA or midwife and observe how they handle each patient. I was able to gain the most practice in procedures including using the speculum, performing pelvic and breast exams, and collecting culture samples. Each provider always seemed eager to share their knowledge and took great care to ensure that each patient was at ease while gradually letting me take on more responsibility throughout the visit.
Overall, I had a great time on this rotation, as each week there were different opportunities to be involved directly with patient care and to work as a part of a cohesive team that is essential in providing the highest standard of care. It also reinforced the notion that healthcare is a team approach; and seeing so many providers with different levels of training work seamlessly together, you could see that patient care is the top priority.