I had my first inpatient medicine clinical experience last week. There were 20 something of us that were divided into smaller groups of 5-6. Some went on rounds and some just shadowed doctors from what I have heard from other students. My group was with a 3rd or 4th year med student. I was assigned to a patient with another girl.
Our assignment was to get history and physical from this patient to write up a comprehensive H&P. The patient had a pulmonary embolism and was very sick. Also she had a long list of medications and underlying chronic conditions. It felt really weird to be bothering a sick patient when I did not know what I was doing, but I and my partner did a pretty thorough history and very basic focused physical.
It was my first experience with a real patient, and it was a humbling experience. When you shadow doctors, they make patient-physician interaction so natural, but based on my experience, it is something definitely comes with experience and practice.
I felt really awkward, mostly because I felt intrusive and unnecessary, since I had nothing to contribute to her health care. But I should get used to it and learn how to get the most out of my experiences. Overall, as weird and unnatural as it might feel to get instruction on how to interact with patients, it seems to be necessary, because I certainly had "what do I do with this awkward silence" moment.
My next experience is pulmonary, which I am excited about, because it is a field I know very little about, so it would be nice.