I’ve been absolutely terrible at updating. At one point I did think to myself, maybe I should just continue to make little updates about what is on my mind, even if it’s about optometry school 95% of the time. I could try explaining the new skills I learn and the struggles I have… And then I never did, lol. Constantly being busy and stressed didn’t give me the chance to entertain the thought very much!

I’m in the beginning of week 2 of “the madness” and there are pretty much 3 weeks total. Those 3 weeks consist of 4 proficiencies and 7 final exams. Proficiencies are basically exams that test your actual skills learned and you have to show you are proficient. The final exams are written exams based off of lecture. I’ve finished all of my proficiencies now; I am waiting on the results for a few of them and will see if I have to retake one of the big ones in particular next week. I also got through one written exam, so that means 6 left to go!

Yesterday I took a proficiency on how to take a case history and on my communication skills. I basically had to sit in front of a “patient” (a staff doctor who is grading you is your patient) and remember to hit a series of certain questions in a logical manner while recording them on paper, and while maintaining all communication skills. Those communication skills include sitting parallel shoulders, inclined posture toward the patient, avoiding awkwardness, constant eye contact, congruent facial expressions, having a “3.0” response to distressed statements (must address what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way), asking multiple questions and listening/remembering with eye contact and only breaking eye contact once in a while between to record data, asking and responding in a non-judgmental way, avoiding any medical jargon, etc. So much more is involved than you would imagine!

You would think asking questions before beginning an eye exam is simple enough, but who knew your doctors had to learn the proper skills and techniques in doing that. It’s not as easy as it looks. And asking these questions are actually extremely important in giving a doctor the “entire picture” to evaluate the person’s eye and bodily health as a whole, including providing predicting factors for certain conditions. I was recorded on camera during my proficiency, so after I was finished they replayed back the video to me and gave me feedback, which was really helpful. I ended up doing really well! :) Although I did well and got a 39/40, the staff doctor gave me great tips for improvement…super beneficial in improving my clinical skills.

And now back to studying for my final exams…