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Jan. 18th, 2013

pantshead: (Transformers)
You guys!  It's our final semester!....That was pretty much the mood when we all got back to school this week.

Of course, we've all heard a lot of scary things about this semester, so there was a fair amount of anxiety as well!

We did not have clinical this week, and we've been assured that we'll only have 1 patient next week to start out.  However, we are expected to be able to step up our care and our assessments...by the end of the semester, after all, we need to be able to make decisions on our own about patient care. 

Instead of clinical, we had a lot of classroom theory work.  We started by learning about Total Parenteral Nutrition, which is a feeding solution that is given through the vein.  Basically, it's the major nutrients (carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats) in the state they would be after they've been absorbed from the gut.  Medicines, vitamins, and minerals can also be added.  Each bag of the solution is custom mixed each day by the pharmacy, and they're wicked expensive!  (>$1500 each).  It's used for patients who cannot tolerate any absorption through the gut (like metastatic stomach cancer, or obstructed bowel), and also for patients with extreme healing needs (like burn patients, who need a lot of calories to fuel the rebuilding of tissue).

Then we had a review of some concepts about diabetes, and a math class (review of the calculations we already know how to do, and also learning a 'new' calculation--some medications are given in micrograms/kilogram/minute by an IV.  These might be things like blood pressure medicines for unstable patients.

Then we had a 'skill validation,' which we were all expecting to be really intense.  We had prepared several skills, and were told to come to the lab to do them.  Normally, this means an instructor watches you like a hawk and you have to do every last thing perfectly.  However, in this case we just talked through the skills as a group with an instructor, and reviewed the kinds of assessments we'd make for each skill.

Thursday in class we started learning about liver diseases--the viral forms of hepatitis.  We'll learn about cirrhosis on Tuesday.  On Friday (today) we learned about traumatic chest injuries--blunt force trauma, punctures, etc...and the basic mechanisms of internal damage and treatments.  Usually, this involves a chest tube, which is put into the space around the lung to remove air or fluid from this area (where it otherwise prevents the lung from expanding and will cause the lung to collapse).

That was pretty much our week!  Next week, we start clinical!

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