"All too frequently, anxiety crushes not only your spirit and your potential, but your ability to take care of your mind and body." ~ Jonathan Davidson and Henry Dreher, The Anxiety Book: Developing Strength in the Face of Fear.
"Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that's the trick." ~Steve Bull
Have you ever wish that you could just behave abit more normally when you are anxious/nervous?
Have you ever looked back and think, "Oh man, I can't believe I just said that?"
Have you told yourself that everything will be fine, and yet it doesn't turn out that way?
Have you ever wish that you have never ever have to go through this whole frightening situation again?
I guess most of us would probably have said "yes" to at least one of the questions above. The second quote certainly applies to me. I just sat for one of final medical exam, called "PACES." It is a clinical skills examination, where the exam candidate rotates through 5 different stations, and if you pass it, you will gain membership into the royal college of physicians, which then, allows that person to further specialise into the medical field.
I took the exam only yesterday. I have been building myself up to the exam over the past few weeks. When the examination day arrived finally, I told myself, "Just be calm, and you'll be alright."
I was really really really nervous. I tried to take a few deep breaths, but still felt much the same. I started off with a communications/ethics station. I was asked to discuss whether ventilation is appropriate for a lady with end stage COPD. I thought that invasive ventilation is probably not appropriate, but non invasive one, would be her ceiling of care. However, the feedback I got from the consultant was not good at all. From his point of view, ventilation would still be appropriate in her case. hmmm...
Then, I moved on to the dreaded Station 5. There were 2 cases in the station. The first one was a guy with vision loss....I was only given 6 mins to talk to him, and explain what I thought was the problem. I didn't have much time to explain to him what I thought was the problem....so I guess I lose marks for that. I did better in the 2nd case.
I moved on to examinations skills stations. I had to examine 4 different patients. I think I did worst in the respiratory one...purely because I totally missed the 1cm scar at the side of his chest! yeah...it was 1 cm long!! my eyes really have failed me. And I didn't get the diagnosis right in his case. :( A few questions were directed at me...and honestly, I really don't believe the answers that came out of my mouth!
I finished the exam at the history taking station. This didnt go well either because I couldn't finish on time....the patient was so long winded, and I think he didn't know his history properly. So I faltered there.... sigh.
Is this all just nervousness? If it is, I really need to know how to overcome this. I personally don't think that the cases were too difficult...but my brain has just decided to work separately from my body...and everything just seemed to have gone wrong on the examination day!
I am very disappointed with my performance. I can only blame my ownself for this. I am most likely going to fail it. The only consolation I have is that it will not be the end of the world if I do fail. I can try again in December...
Guess I probably have to do more locum shifts to get some money back to pay for this very expensive examination. Results won't be out till next month, I better enjoy the time off I have, before I start preparing for the examination again!