Starting internship can be overwhelming and daunting – skills and procedures you’ve been taught and have practiced so many times in the clinical skills lab somehow seem to just fly out the window once you step into working life.
My first rotation as an intern was in a busy Emergency Department. I dove straight in – “making a difference” here I come! Naturally, as the intern, I ended up with quite a number of patients needing PR exams. Despite all the times I had inserted my finger into a plastic mannequin’s rectum, this was the first time I had done so into a real life human’s rectum.
Consider this a lesson on the importance of preparation – any procedure one does on the ward or in the Emergency Department, please oh please make sure you’ve got everything you need before you start. In my case, my first unsuspecting patient had an unlubricated finger painfully, and with much resistance, enter their rectum. The realisation that I had forgotten the lube only came mid-insertion. I felt awful. The patient either didn’t notice, or was too polite to say anything.
So, don’t be like me – use lube!
Dr. Vanessa Roberts