Evan Torline, MS2
As I popped off the cap of the needle and flashed my eyes from it to the patient sitting in front of me, I became acutely aware of the great responsibility I have as a student of medicine. As a second year medical student, it’s not every day I get to shed the pile of books I’m studying and get busy with actual clinic activities, like giving flu shots, but this day was different.
I have the opportunity to co-direct one of the free student-run clinics here at school, and this fall we were able to secure enough flu vaccines for our patient population. The patients we see are all part of half-way house programs in Louisville, so we decided we would pick a day and set up a flu clinic on site. The weeks leading up were filled with excitement as we prepared and practiced how things would be organized (I even practiced giving my first shot to another director who had never had one before). It would be a day of firsts for most of us, but we soon got the hang of things as we set up our equipment and discussed our plans. One thing I really enjoyed about it was the ability to discuss and explain things to the patients. As they were lining up we got all kinds of questions, everything from, “What’s a flu shot?” to, “I heard those things give you seizures.” I thought to myself, “Hey, here’s a chance to actually use and share the information I’ve been learning.” It was an experience, though a small one, that edified the work I put into learning information that can sometimes seem trivial.
Eventually, my first patient came over and sat down. I introduced myself and what I would be doing. As I proceeded to deliver the vaccine to him, I asked myself, “Am I ready for this?” After giving him his shot he looked at me and said, “Hey, you’re pretty good at that. You’re gonna do just fine Doc.”
A big thank you to Dr. Wheeler for his guidance and oversight, and my fellow student directors Emily Knittle, Dhruv Sharma, Cliff Freeman, and Ashley Lee.