Friday, February 22, 2008

Brain Injury 101

I've had the absolute pleasure over the last two weeks of working with a graduate student from Vanderbilt who is doing her externship here in Washington. She is smart, charming, and has the quality most of us who do student supervision treasure -- she is normal. I really like her and want her to have as great an experience as I did when I was in her shoes.

Today, she got a taste of why this externship step is important to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and application. She asked to observe an "interesting inpatient" with a traumatic brain injury. I asked around to the inpatient staff to find out if there was a particular one of note -- everyone sent me to the same clinician, saying she had a "challenging" patient. He's young, he walks around, he's agitated -- he's got all the things you read about an injured person having at a RLAS IV stage of recovery. Great, sounds perfect. A good clinical learning exeperience coming right up.

My student goes up to the "structured" (read = locked) brain injury unit with the clinician and finds the door to the patient's room closed, which is a little odd in our facility but not unheard of. She knocks. A quick moment later, a kind face appears as the door swings open, and the confused patient says "Oh, please come into my office." He happens to be buck naked.

Welcome to the things they just don't teach you in school, friend.

Have a great weekend!

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