The pelvic exam on a female and prostate exam on a male are some of the most daunting exams for a student to learn, and then be expected to preform. It’s an incredibly person and exam, and leaves the patient feeling very vulnerable. Previously, students had learned how to preform these on plastic models, but in my program we have the opportunity to learn how to preform a pelvic exam and a prostate exam on a teaching assistant. This is someone who has been trained to guide us through the process and tell us when we’re doing something right, or something wrong.
Depending on the type of practice you go into, you might have to preform these exams all the time, or not so often. No matter what, you’re going to be expected to preform this at least once in your life (during rotations). These exams are incredibly stressful for BOTH the patient and the provider. Especially when a provider is just starting out and hasn’t had the opportunity to preform the exam as much.
This is where the Eastern Virginia Medical School comes in. Their GenitoUrinary Teaching Associates give a safe environment for students to learn what to do and to ask question. We had the opportunity to learn from them today, and I can say hands down it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my time at school. We had practice these exams early in the week on plastic models, and not going to lie, it wasn’t anywhere near what it was like in real life.
Now that I’ve had this experience, and I’m so happy with it, I wish it has been something I considered when I was interviewing at places. We (as pre-PA applicants) get so caught up in cadaver lab, what our rotations are, what kind of learning we can expect during the didactic year, and other things like that. While all of those things are important, I think I tended to forget about the hands on learning application. Just keep this in mind when you go on your interviews!
There is also a really great article about the school here.
Comment below on your thoughts about this experience, or your own with learning how to perform these exams.
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