Dr. med. Maro D.
My exam experience:
The alarm clock rang. After a few seconds I was fully awake: Today is exam day! I opened the window. The day was perfect with the prevailing sun. “Do I negotiate terms or have breakfast?”, I wondered. Remember, take your breakfast in the morning!”, I listened to Zhelikitsa’s voice. She is my consultant and I must say that she gave me a lot of valuable advice. But I need a few more pages to praise Zhelikitsa.
I had breakfast and during this time at the table I revised some terms. Amazingly, I relaxed. Yes, I still practiced for a month with my teacher Christina. She had taken the same path and had taken the exam ten months ago. Thanks to her, I knew the structure and some other trick.
I grabbed a cup of coffee (Oh my God, the coffee at the hotel is awful …) and a sandwich and sat down at the table. I picked up the phone. News’ time: “New trains for German railways”, “Merkel talking about Brexit” (doesn’t seem to agree with the British). I look at the clock. I must finish my morning ritual. I went into the room and thought about whether I should discuss anything else. “No,” I said, “you’re ready!” I put on my suit and went out. The receptionist was already calling me a taxi. I traveled for 15 min. There were no traffic jams, the peak hour has just ended. Luckily the exam started at 10am. The taxi stopped sideways to a large building. Hamburg Medical Chamber!
I took the elevator to the 13th floor. A woman took me to the waiting room. It was 9:30. I had to wait till 10 am. I didn’t see any other candidates. (Am I the only one?). At ten o’clock a doctor came and took me to a room where two more colleagues were waiting. A few polite words, explanations for the structure of the exam (which I already knew), and the exam began. One of the testers was holding a stopwatch. Honestly, I wondered why he had a stopwatch. I’m the only one here …
A doctor, who played the role of a patient, started with her complaints: “I have pain after eating up in the right side of my stomach” … “Oh, stones in the gallbladder! Very easy!”, I thought / I had to have a case history, the patient was eager. “Why so many questions, Doctor? Do you think I’m taking drugs? I didn’t come for it!” etc. Ooh, my God, she was tense. But I knew I had to do everything by protocol. I remained calm and told her a few encouraging sentences. Then she stopped the questions and managed to get the anamnesis to the end. In the meantime, the other two colleagues were quiet and writing something. One of them looked at the stopwatch. (Again, this stopwatch). My patient had many questions, “What do I suffer from, Doctor?”, “Do I need to have surgery?”, “Am I going to die?” I understood her and answered all the questions. I think I was empathetic enough, but not too much. (I heard that one candidate failed the exam because she was empathetic). So, crying with patients is not an option. During my explanation, I was hearing Christina’s voice in my head: “No terms in front of patients!” I did my best not to say “Cholelithiasis”. Suddenly the other doctor said, “Time is up. Come with me in the other room.” (Where now?)
We came to a small room: just a window, a desk, a chair and of course – a clock. (Really? There were no other applicants… Interesting.) I received a form I already knew. (I had written so many medical letters with Christina and knew some tricks). “You have 20 minutes,” the doctor said, and left the room. I started writing. The sentences came easily. But 20 minutes to write everything, at first, I thought they were small. But I had practiced enough to finish the letter in 19 minutes! I just read the last sentence and the doctor came back. (Yes, why should I read it?)
I went with him again to the first room where the other two doctors were waiting. It was time for a conversation of a doctor with a doctor. (“Use the terms here,” again Christina’s voice). My presentation to the patient went great. I’ve practiced it so many times with Christina. And then came the questions of what to do with the patient: Ultrasound, ERCP, or something else. My answers came quickly and the chief doctor didn’t know what else to ask me. (No more questions?) The doctor with the stopwatch (the stopwatch, of course, was still there) said, we still have time and I had to talk to the patient what exactly we were going to do.
And so, came the long explanations for ERCP, ultrasound and CT. In the end, it turned out that my patient had never heard of gallstones, stones … (You have gotta be kidding me !!!) I was patient and remained calm. I tried to explain again, and she wanted to draw the bile ducts. (“No problem,” I thought.) I did what she wanted, but she had more questions: “Doctor, where did the stones come from (“from Alpha Centauri”, I meant.) “Gallbladder,” I answered. Finally, she understood and the conversation ended.
The doctor with a stopwatch gave me a list of ten concepts that I needed to explain. (YES! All ten are from Christina’s list), I had five minutes, but I wrote them in three. I returned the letter, he was surprised: “Are you ready?” (Take that, I thought). The exam was coming to an end. I was asked some other things: What will I do, where I am from, etc. We shook hands, greeted each other, and quickly left.
The sun was shining and I had a good feeling. I called Zhelikitsa and CHristina and told them everything. It was 11am and the whole day was ahead of me. It was time to explore the city.
The next morning, I left the hotel. I got an email on the plane saying I had passed the exam. Now my new adventure in Germany can begin!