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Learning From Experiences

Reflecting on Challenging Patient Experiences

Patient 1: Vaginal Discharge

The first challenging case was a 56-year-old lady with increased vaginal discharge, perhaps from hormone replacement medication. She struggled with communication and history due to her flat appearance. To solve this, I had to dig deeper for information. An evidence-based vaginal panel showed negative yeast, vaginosis, and trichomoniasis, confirming the premise that hormone replacement caused the discharge, despite the difficult interaction. I learned the value of patience and good communication with patients who may not speak out. I would improve my ability to get patient information using multiple communication approaches.

Patient 2: Rectal Bleeding and Abdominal Pain

The second challenging case was a 55-year-old lady with lower left quadrant stomach discomfort and rectal bleeding with a family history of colon cancer. It was a difficult task to diagnose her and arrange for diagnostic tests. The evidence-based approach was to run complete blood count (CBC) to identify symptoms of systemic infection (Pabón-Rivera et al., 2023). Combining confidence from her previous past with the yearning for further learning had been very hard. This experience illustrated how difficult making a diagnosis can be, especially when symptoms overlap and there are family risks. In such situations, I would improve my diagnoses and decision-making skills and probably seek some guidance whenever it is not clear.

Patient 3: Pediatric Otitis Media

The third challenging case was a 14 -14-month-old child with acute otitis media. Evaluating and soothing a crying infant with panicked parents was difficult. The evidence-based treatment planned was initiated as Cefdinir with fever and pain relief medications over the counter. During this encounter, I learned that my pediatric evaluation should be elastic, especially when dealing with anxious toddlers and parents. I want to work on my skills in pediatric communication and documentation, too. I also knew pediatric consults should be time-managed in good ways.

Available Resources and Evidence-Based Practice

In every case, resources used were the resources at the clinic, such as vaginal panels and CBC tests, and were expertise provided by my preceptor for guidance. The evidenced-based practices employed were consistent with standard protocols for the given conditions, which implied an organized and uniform approach to treatment (Hinchcliff et al., 2023). In working with my preceptor, I trusted her know-how and acquired substantial knowledge about evidence-based measures and lessons learned progressively in determining the qualifications of methods for decision-making.

Learning New Skills and Areas for Improvement

I learned from these experiences that I need to improve my communication abilities, especially when interviewing patients with diverse communication styles. Complex situations presented diagnostic hurdles. Changing pediatric assessment skills (especially otoscope use), documenting each patient’s visit confidently and clearly, and improving time management during patient visits (especially with pediatric patients) also had a big effect. Time management became crucial during patient visits, particularly with youngsters.

Managing Patient Flow and Volume

Effective patient flow and volume management require efficiency and thoroughness. My preceptor let me evaluate patients independently, helping me improve. To ensure continual learning, my preceptor gave me feedback on areas for development. We could effectively manage patient flow and provide high-quality treatment by balancing autonomy and direction.

Communicating and Receiving Feedback

Effective communication with my preceptor helps me learn. I needed frank talks about my performance, places for development, and difficult case guidance. I was able to identify my skills and weaknesses and improve them thanks to my preceptor’s critical criticism. Constant monitoring of my growth and improvement areas fostered learning.


Hinchcliff, K. W., Morley, P. S., DiBartola, S. P., Taylor, S. D., & Harrell, K. A. (2023). ACVIM‐Endorsed Statements: Consensus statements, evidence‐based practice guidelines, and systematic reviews. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine37(6), 1957–1965.

Pabón-Rivera, S., Flores, R. R., & Frei-Jones, M. (2023). The Complete Blood Count: A Practical Tool for the Pediatrician. Pediatrics in Review44(7), 363–382.


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