Central to the skillset of every physician is the differential diagnosis; this is the process by which new patients are evaluated to establish the most likely diagnosis. Similarly, the first clinical year of medical school is like a differential for each student, except instead of a medical diagnosis, students are seeking to determine which specialty they will choose. This column explores this differential: experiences from each rotation by a current third year student.
Having finished my first rotation, Women’s Health Clerkship, I’d like to offer a short look into the specialty, sharing some of my observations the last few weeks. As I have said often over the past two months, I believe this was the perfect rotation to kick off third year. OB/GYNs have a wide scope of practice, and their field contains elements of many other specialties. During this rotation I was exposed to clinical medicine, by which I mean the art of seeing patients in a clinical setting, spending a few minutes with each, and using history and physical exam skills to offer a diagnosis and treatment plan. I was also exposed to surgery. I hadn’t realized just how surgical of a specialty it is, or at least can be, depending on how a doctor chooses to practice. (More on that later.) I also saw some inpatient medicine, managing patients in a hospital setting and consulting with other specialties as needed. And of course, OB/GYNs have a very unique aspect of medicine that is theirs alone: the labor & delivery floor. This breadth of practice settings was an excellent introduction to many aspects of medicine that I’m only beginning to understand.
Brent Schnipke, MD is a physician and writer based in Dayton, OH. He graduated medical school in 2018 and completed his psychiatry residency at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He currently practices in Dayton, OH. His professional interests include medical humanities, mental health, and medical education.