Tips for Optometry clinical internship
Hope you have joined a clinical internship by now. This is a continuation of my previous article How to get into a clinical internship. Here are some simple tips that make your internship a learning and enjoyable journey.
Your punctuality and dedication show up how you turn out to be at the end of the internship. Each hospital has a different time table. Make sure you stick to it always.
Keep a small pocket-sized notebook:
This helps a lot. Trust me. There will be situations where you will not be able to ask your doubts to people around or take a minute to browse through the internet; these situations make you forget things. Keeping a small pocket-sized book will make sure that you write your doubts in shortcuts and recall and read them when you have time. Whenever you find an interesting or rare case or a clinical finding which you have never seen before, take down the medical record number and diagnosis. Read about the disease and interventions, and keep comparing what you’ve read with the follow-up interventions for the patient from medical records.
Following up cases:
Sometimes we encounter cases which are very difficult or complex to manage in a single visit. You might not get a chance to see the same patient in the next few visits. Following up of medical records in this kind of cases helps you to understand the disease comprehensively and learn thoroughly.
Every day, in the end, make sure you open your notebook. Clarify your doubts with books or the internet or colleagues or faculty.
Don’t be shy:
Remember that you are here to learn. Sometimes you see people with greater/lesser qualifications than you. They might be more experienced in clinics than you, so it’s okay to ask anyone and learn from them. Because you are here to learn. Not everything is written in books, some things can only be learnt by experience or from listening to the people who have the experience.
All institutes have a set of rules which may require you to get your own instruments. Ensure that you find out about the requirements before the start date. Make sure you get them as soon as possible so that you learn maximum from the internship.
Find the correct mentor:
Each department/ hospital has a few special people who are interested in teaching. Find them and clarify all your doubts. Do not make an excuse for yourself that no one has taught you, at the end of the internship. Be self-motivated and start learning how to learn.
Making a case report:
Once you start your internship you might know what are the common diseases/diagnosis/symptoms you see on a daily basis. If you find any rare or interesting cases, you can try approaching the doctor who treated that patient. Discuss the case and see if he/she can guide you to write a case report of it. If you want to be in the field of research, this is the best thing you can do at your level.
Attend research forums and case discussions:
This will help in correlating your clinical experience with the ongoing research and known epidemiology of the disease. This also adds value to your CV.
Learn as much as you can:
Take every moment to learn something from every experience that you go through during the internship. Your mentors might give you lengthy assignments to teach you how to tackle a patient or how to handle an instrument. They might not resolve your doubt in time or give time to explain a slit lamp finding on the spot. It’s a learning phase for you, but it would be a job for people around you. They might have other responsibilities as well. They would definitely help you to learn now or later. Hence, try to take it in a positive way and learn to read the situations.
All the best!
Meanwhile, Happy learning!