The Urgent Care Clinic

I am mid-way through my Family Medicine rotation, sadly only 3 weeks left. For my 6-week long Family Medicine rotation I’ve been working in the Urgent Care Clinic in Silverdale, WA. Urgent care is essentially the bridge between the Emergency Department setting and your standard outpatient family medicine clinic. Cases that are not quite as acute as a Heart Attack, but problematic enough that you don’t have time to see your family med doc, are seen at the Urgent Care clinic, or Prompt Care clinic for those of you born in the 60’s.

We’ve encountered some really exciting cases: Pneumothorax, new-onset atrial fibrillation, Dens Fracture, Umbilical hernias, and some solid box-cutting knife-inflicted wounds. Some of these cases will get sent over to the Emergency department and others will simply be sent home with the expectation that they will follow up with their primary care doc. We also see a lot of regular complaints, like bug bites that get infected causing cellulitis, upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, otitis media and externa, urinary tract infections, MIGRAINES and BACK PAIN. Complaints of Migraines and Back Pain are interesting because physicians really have to be wary of prescribing narcotics for pain management, a hairy subject for any doctor that has worked in the ER or urgent care. Luckily the doctors I work with have shutdown the majority of local drug seekers and are very strict about when they dispense narcotics.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Urgent Care nearly as much as I have been, I like a quiet life. The two doctors I’ve been working with practice medicine differently and it’s great to see variation in styles. Though it’s funny to think that there is a “finesse” to practicing medicine, I’ve discovered that there really is and like many challenging professions, it takes a lot of practice to get to that point of having any semblance of command over this form of art.

Another unexpected finding is that now I have two GREAT mentors that I can ask the pertinent life questions of when is it a good time for me to get a puppy? (wait until after residency) How do you get along with others on 2 hours of sleep? (you don’t) Which nurses will distrust me the most? (OB/GYN and Inpatient peds nurses). And of course the less interesting, am I meeting the appropriate benchmarks as a 3rd year student? (tbd) How can I impress preceptors on rotations? (Be eager, work for knowledge, have enthusiasm for any task, research your cases, be reliable, be presentable, be inquisitive). I’m feeling quite indebted to these doctors for being willing to humor my idiotic responses and bizarre, out of left-field (or right-field?) questions. But doctors that really care about medicine want to see it fall into the right hands and will contribute to molding students into the types of physicians that patients will be able to trust.

In other events, I’ve discovered Paddle Boarding and I love it. If you are in Seattle and it’s more than 70 deg F outside, lets go. Seriously. I’m slow, but I keep going, and I enjoy the ride.

from vashon ferryView from Vashon Island Ferry terminal last night.


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