Sunday, March 3, 2013

Narrative Medicine, Jazz, and Shuttle Buses

Feb 25th – March 3rd

This week has been quite the action-packed week, or so it seems looking back. On Monday, my program, Science, Technology, and Society, went to the US Green Building Council. We took a tour of the place, which was freaking awesome, learned about their green building rating system, and then learned how they are involved on campuses. For starters, the two floors of the building they are in was freaking awesome. It had a platinum rating on being environmental friendly (of course), and was very modern. For one, they had a break room with a Wii and PS3. I have never seen an office building that had a kitchen that modern and green. They even had showers there since they promote people to ride bikes and walk to work! The rating system was fairly straightforward. They have different scales for the types of building, age of building, etc. There school involvement was pretty cool! They had student organizations and promoted building green schools. Apparently, it really is not that much more to build an environmentally friendly house as opposed to the regular, earth killing, polar bear displacing houses the rest of America makes. Haha If that really is true, I will build green if I ever build a house.

Work on Tuesday was a bit hectic. We got the VA’s Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP) scores as well as the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) scores from November (because they are 3 months delayed), so we had to put it on the powerpoint for the Director’s morning report the following day. We were originally going to put them side by side with the TruthPoint inpatient and outpatient surveys to see if TruthPoint was a good indicator of what SHEP and PCMH scores showed since TruthPoint comes out monthly, but that did not work out. Diane had us interns work on that while she did other things, and we were confused on what to do. She couldn’t really show us what exactly to do, though, because she was busy doing more important things. We eventually just scrapped the whole comparison thing; TruthPoint wasn’t a very good indicator of what was going on with SHEP and PCMH.

Wednesday was a lot easier. The main thing Lauryn, the other intern, and I did that is worth putting in this blog is that we ran an errand to get a Equal Healthcare Index. Since the repeal of Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell, the LGBT community will steadily grow at the VAMC. Obviously it was not a huge presence before since people could not be openly gay in the military, but the times have changed! Because of that, the office of Patient-Centered Care and Equal Employment Opportunity office are working together to develop policies and procedures on how to handle certain situations with the LGBT community. For instance, if Olga is in the process of transition from a man to a woman and considers herself to be a women while still having the male genitalia, does she room with a male or a female? What if a male patient does not want to room with a gay man? These are the type of things that we will address with the new policies. Once they are written, then the staff will be trained on how to handle those situations!

Thursday was a really good day. The highlight of my day was getting to sit in on a narrative medicine meeting; I believe I talked about narrative medicine in a previous blog. Essentially, narrative medicine is when the doctor takes more time to listen to the patient’s story and possibly write it down; the doctor might keep a journal of his or her thoughts on the patients and situations. This helps the doctor to really get to know their patient, get a better-rounded story to diagnose, and gain empathy towards the patient and situation. Dr. Kheirbek (I probably just butcher the spelling of her name), who is the assistant chief of staff, is the person spearheading this new way of practicing medicine. The meeting was about doctors sharing their different stories and struggles throughout the week. They started by watching a YouTube clip from a movie where a doctor tells a professor that she has stage 4 ovarian cancer, and that there is a treatment she can do which could also be used as research; the doctor was so blunt and matter of fact. The professor seemed fine with it at first. Later, after her treatment, when she was close to dying, she wished that someone would just be kind to her and show her compassion. After that, they read a poem from a book of poems solely based on the medical field. The book is called On Doctoring. They all took turns reading a poem (I know, sounds like a middle school classroom) about a man who is given the news that he is going to die. We discussed that for a while and then reflected on a time when we, or they I should say, had a difficult encounter with a patient. Some of the doctors told some very surreal, sad stories. A lot of them were so surprised at how macabre and blunt they could be at times. Some of them talked about how they just bluntly told patients “you don’t get it, you’re going to die” when they aren’t accepting it or something; they were mortified with themselves. It seemed almost like a group therapy or debriefing session. One of the doctors there was a psychiatrist, so she shed some light on how some of those people need the blunt response; that made some doctors feel better. I felt so fortunate to be able to be apart of that meeting.

Friday was fairly easy as well. The only two things I really did was coordinate a SAVE training session, which is a training program for suicide recognition and prevention. That should be very interesting. The other thing I did was start looking into shadowing a psychologist. The VAMC has around 27 psychologists, so I have a good selection to choose from! I emailed a neuropsychologist and asked him if I could shadow him. That would be epic! The highlight of Friday, however, was going to Blues Alley. Mike Stern, one of my favorite jazz guitar players, and Dave Weckl, one of the best drummers of all times, were there; it was amazing. I had to go alone since no one here really likes that type of music, but it was totally worth it! I made some new friends while there, so it was fine. I had to take the Metro to a stop and then walk 1.5 miles to Blues Alley, which was in Georgetown. I made that trek in a full suit, overcoat, winter attire, and dress shoes; I think it is fair to call myself a jazz enthusiast.

The weekend was pretty mellow. I met up with a friend and went to the Smithsonian zoo, Hot and Juicy Crawfish, and then a movie. The zoo was awesome! Like every other Smithsonian facility, it was extremely well done. They have two pandas!!!! I think my favorite thing may have been the Think Tank, which is a facility where they do research on the great apes; a lot of the research is cognitive. The Cajun place was awesome! We split a huge platter, which was actually served in a bag, that had a pound of crawfish, a pound of shrimp, 12 sausage, 2 cobs of corn, and 2 potatoes. My hands still smell like the garlic butter sauce. It was so messy, but it was amazing. On Sunday, I just chilled around the apartment, finished the book Ender’s Game, got caught up on Community, and watched some other stuff. I didn’t go out and about because the red line was shut down for maintenance between Takoma and Noma, which is like 4 or 5 stops. They have a free shuttle system, but it adds around 45 minutes to the commute. Overall, it was a good week!

No comments:

Post a Comment