Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Exams That Never End...

Yes they go on and on, my friend...
Someone started writing them not knowing what they're for
And now we'll keep on taking them forever, asking them for more...

Exams that never end...

I'm taking my in-service exam this Wednesday. It's in the neighborhood of four hours long, and is all about emergency medicine. The best part is that it happens to be in the midst of the New Haven portion of my vacation! Thankfully, the number of exams has diminished to the frequency that makes them useful for self-improvement. I expect that there will be plenty of room for improvement between this year's and next year's installments.

And you thought exams ended with graduation. Medical residents in all specialties take in-service exams once yearly, and generally in the same week.

But wait! There's more!

We also must take the third installment of the licensing board exam at some point. It is a general topic exam that covers all specialties. Fortunately for ER doctors, there is not a lot that we don't see walking through the door.

When it comes time to be board certified in emergency medicine, however, there is a whole new round of EM boards, which include oral exams in a hotel in Chicago!

When I think about it, though - keeping myself sharp enough to pass these difficult exams is just another way to do justice by my patients. Who wants a doctor who forgets (insert important medical fact here) when said patient experiences (insert relevant medical condition here) in the middle of the night?

For any of my EM colleagues who happen their way to these parts, good luck this week!

And for other New Haven residents (i. e. my neighbors), we know that the tests that we sometimes complain about actually make us better docs!

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