Final Year Medical – Part Two

Final Year Medical – Part Two

by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM                                      USA                                         15.05.2024

In a few days, the 10th of May 2024, will loom up. It will be the 60th year celebration of our Final Medical Class. Where did all those years go since MAY 1964? As I write this blog tender memories lurch up of what it was like to undergo those final months of preparing for our examination. I remember trying to re-study all we had learned in previous years and store it in my brain like a computer would do these days. Yet at that time a thing like a computer was only in the birthing stages.

Thank God we had beautiful Christmas celebrations to recharge, relax and enjoy. So many secondary schools invited us to Guilbert and Sullivan plays. They were so enjoyable, and how Blackrock College managed to have such exquisite female voices coming from male students was a tremendous feat of delight.

Mid-January arrived all too soon and attendance at clinics, tutorials, and lectures; giving medical and surgical presentations, and intense study continued. Prayer, that God would get us through to serve Him in Africa, was always on our lips.

We had a little sampling of what the exams would be like by taking the ECFMG exam. The initials stood for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. The exam started in the morning and lasted a long time. It was an American based exam of multiple choice, true and false, and little or no direct questions that we were used to in writing for30 minutes. Two of the five choices seemed correct and sometimes it was difficult to make a choice. There was a test for English attached to it and it was the most difficult I had ever seen. Thank God we all passed. We took the exam as a basis of being allowed to practice in the USA upon further internships and taking American Boards
Soon it was time for our own exams in Medicine and Surgery. We could be asked anything pertaining to Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology Pharmacology, and other subjects we had studied throughout the 5 years. Somehow, I did not find them too difficult and had studied the material. The clinical presentation and oral examinations followed. I recall one Doctor questioning me on the treatment of congenital neurological disease. He asked me what was the cure for these diseases? I vaguely remembered them from Pediatrics, but I told him there was no cure. He told me a good glass of Guiness would help. We smiled.

I can remember the details of my medicine and surgical presentations when we had 30 minutes to examine the patient and make a diagnosis. One patient had renal hypertension with retinopathy. I could not make the surgical diagnosis until the last minute when the patient told me that he had gone to a wedding a few weeks previously and was unable to pass urine. I felt extremely fortunate when the examiners came in several minutes later and the diagnosis was clear. We were taught that if you listened well enough, the patient would tell you what was wrong with them.

The one I do not remember is my Obstetric exam, The examiner was the brother of our President, Eamon de Valera. Professor de Valera asked me what class of a nun I was? I was very troubled. I did not like to say first class, but I did not think I was second class and definitely not third class. I told him I was a Meical Missionary of Mary. He seemed pleased with that. I was wearing a brown speckled colored suit and yellow blouse. I did not tell him I was a nun, but we wore no makeup or high heels as the other female students did.
Even today, I can recall our gratitude to God for coming through with flying colors. Doctor Maura Lynch received first place in our class of seventy with honors in Medicine and Surgery. Sister Doctor Martha Collins received second class honors in Surgery. I passed my exams.
There was great rejoicing in Rosemount. We stayed around for a while encouraging the younger students not to be afraid and to continue their studies.

Our intern year would commence on July first and conferring would be on July 14th. And that is ANOTHER STORY.