Okay, so my second practical exam was this morning. Turns out my professor fractured his arm to the point of requiring surgery, so a different professor proctored the exam with our lab tech. She’s the same woman who proctored the exam I took on Monday. She’s nice (and definitely rooting for her students), but she’s admittedly intimidating.
I went into the exam wearing my fancy white coat and acted as calm, cool, and confident as possible. My partner went first (which turned out to be a blessing because the case I randomly selected threw me for a spin and I needed that extra 15 minutes to think it through completely) and did a great job. Then I had a few moments to collect myself before my clock started (we each get 20 minutes total).
I went through the interview and treatment very calmly. I asked all the appropriate questions and completed all the necessary steps, including critical safety measures (if you mess those up, it’s an automatic failure). The only thing that I didn’t love about my performance was that I removed the patient’s shirt and palpated the affected area AFTER I did a sensory test. Technically I probably should have removed his shirt, palpated, and then done the sensory test. The grading paper doesn’t have those things in any specific order – it just says you need to DO them, so hopefully I won’t lose too many points for that. The most important piece is that I know I appeared to be quite confident in all of the decisions I made and that is very important in a practical exam.
Unfortunately, a good friend made a critical safety error so the professor stopped her on the spot and said, “I’m sorry, but you’ve failed.” It sucks because my friend is a truly incredible student and she KNOWS this stuff. It was just a simple matter of forgetting something basic, but vitally important. Honestly, it could have been any of us to make that exact error. She’ll be fine overall, but now she’s under more pressure since she needs to do well on the final practical in order to pass the class.
Anyway…two down, one to go. By 12:30pm EST tomorrow, I should be done with all midterm practical exams. Phew! Almost there!