This last two weeks has been devoted to the male and female reproductive systems in my advanced health assessment class. Yesterday I did my first prostate exam breast exam, and pap smear on very patient, very helpful, very accommodating models. It was quite possibly the most nerve wracking day of my life.
The upshot: men aren’t that hard (pun not intended). I now feel competent in performing a male exam from head to toe. That is in part due to the model, who gave pointers and helpful tips, and though he was the one with parts exposed went out of his way to make us, the students, feel more at ease. Even the breast exam was pretty OK. Having a couple of those myself, it wasn’t that difficult to do that particular exam on someone else.
Pap smears and pelvic exams, however….I think I may feel worse about this, even though I performed all the items on the checklist correctly, than I did before I was tested. One might think that because I have the same parts it might be easier. Au contraire, mon ami, au contraire. I felt like I was juggling bowling balls while on rollerskates. I asked how many of those I was going to have to do before I felt remotely competent and the instructors laughed and said “a lot.” Great. Just great. Good thing I have two years of clinicals and an entire module devoted to women’s health coming up. I’ll need it!
I’m glad that is over. And I really am in awe of those who choose to make this their specialty.