Apex beat – failed first clinical examination
Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
I failed my first clinical examination in medicine (the first and last time I failed a clinical examination).
I was asked to examine the cardiovascular system.
The examination ended in less than 5 minutes.
I had ‘developed’ my own technique of getting the position of the apex beat.
I never thought technique was that important.
The examiner looked at me as if I was from the moon and asked me: Is this how you were taught to locate the apex beat?
Check again for the apex beat.
I repeated my technique.
“Now you can go,” he said.
That was the end of the examination.
I learned from then that passing a clinical examination in the medical school was not just about getting the answer right.
Maybe, just maybe, if the examiner had been patient and curious (like Patrick Awuah’s lecturer in the USA who gave him A for answering the question in a different way that didn’t follow the lesson instructions), we might have a new way of checking the apex beat not described in the standard medical books?
From a Senior Laboratory Technologist:
Some 14 years ago, an intern performed an ESR test by positioning the pipette at a different angle, much to the anger of a senior. Then, I decided to perform it by the known way (for the same sample). Surprisingly, I repeatedly had the same results compared to his. The known took an hour. His was 30min. All, including the angered, started performing the test in his ‘new way’, saving clients valuable 30min.
Had I not decided to consider the view of the intern, we would not have learnt something new.
Dr. Kofi Effah 166 posts 6 comments
Dr. Kofi Effah is a gynaecologist and head of the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre in Catholic Hospital, Battor in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region of Ghana.