Since he was a high-school freshman, Nathan Faulkner has known he was going to pursue a career in medicine. Trauma to his left eye sparked his interest in the anatomy and physiology of the eye, and he originally considered a career in ophthalmology.
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“Most of the research I have performed in the early years of medical school had been rooted in this interest—whether it was a project to study the functional role of rhodopsin or the study of genetic ocular diseases,” says Faulkner.
During his first year of medical school at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, one of Faulkner’s professors, Michael Battistone, MD, told him about the ACR Research and Education Foundation (REF) Medical Student Clinical Preceptorship award. “As medical students, we get so buried in the book work and we are starved to interact with patients,” says Faulkner, “so I was excited about this opportunity.”
Faulkner completed his eight-week preceptorship in summer 2005 at the Salt Lake City VA hospital. “This program was not just an excuse to hang out with a doctor, but an opportunity to learn how to work with patients and to function in a medical system with other healthcare professionals,” he says. During each rheumatology clinic, he had the opportunity to interact with nurses, clinic support staff, internal medicine staff, rheumatology fellows, and two staff rheumatologists—as well as patients and their family members.
Winter Rheumatology Symposium: See You in Snowmass!
The 2008 ACR Winter Rheumatology Symposium will be held January 26–February 1 in Snowmass, Colo. Those who have attended previous symposia will tell you that they are professional education conferences unlike any other they have attended.
This six-day review of the latest clinical and scientific information allows speakers and attendees to discuss treatments and research during the educational sessions and also takes advantage of the recreational and cultural amenities of Aspen-Snowmass.
Past attendees have touted this symposium as one of the ACR’s best educational programs, and the 2008 program is likely to carry on this tradition. Lecture topics range from “Osteoporosis” to “The Future of Lupus Treatments,” and each will be presented by a renowned expert in the field.
Register early, as space is limited. For complete program information and to register, visit www.rheumatology.org/meetings and follow the link to the Winter Rheumatology Symposium.
Elaborating on his preceptorship, Faulkner recalls his first experience examining an RA patient on his own. “While I had previously shadowed Dr. Battistone many times, it seemed so foreign to be the one in charge of this encounter—the one directing the questions and the course of the interview,” he says. “As a medical student, I had a checklist of things running in my head to figure out what joints hurt and how to treat the patient. I performed the interview and reported back to Dr. Battistone to present the case. After that, we visited the patient again and the first thing Dr. Battistone did was sit down next to the patient and place his hand on top of the patient’s hand. It was at that time that I realized that there was more to treating a patient than running down a list of algorithms—it’s about the human connection, too. I’m not sure many medical students ever experience that, and it’s something I think about a lot—every time I treat a patient.”