NASHVILLE, TN – Only hours into her first internal medicine clerkship, third-year Vanderbilt University medical student Erin Sperling is a tad bit nervous but all smiles and eager to fax this one-page form, this “ever-critical, management-changing” document, and will do it with “100% determination!” and promises “not to let anyone down!”
“Matt, the senior resident who runs this team, has made this my first task on the wards so clearly it is a very important one,” explained Sperling, who admits that she is anxious but truly believes that four years of premedical training and her first two years of medical school has prepared her to shine. She shields and protects the one-page form, which she refuses to crease and fold. She holds it with two hands the entire time she talks with Gomerblog. “I will give this everything that I have! I will give it all that I’ve got! A patient’s life depends on it!”
Sperling walks with measured steps, two eyes on the sheet of paper, inching closer and closer to the fax machine at the nurses station. She has the concentration of a performer on a tightrope. With the utmost care, she places the form text-side down as the fax machine correctly requires. She dials an outside line and punches the 10-digit fax number without a single mistake. She gulps as she hits FAX/START.
“So now I just wait,” she whispers to herself. “Come on, Erin, concentrate, you can do this! You won’t fail your first task! You got this!” Minute passes as she nervously awaits the confirmation page.
Gomerblog asked Sperling’s resident, Matt Barnes, what exactly was the form she handed to his medical student.
“Oh, just a patient’s permission to request outside records from another hospital,” Barnes shrugged off matter-of-factly. “No biggie. If we can get them, great. If not, whatever. I figure it gives our student something to do.”
Meanwhile, Sperling continues to wait… terrified, knowing everything in this rotation depends on this… THIS.