Spores are dormant forms of bacteria. A bacterium can hibernate as a spore for centuries, waiting until it is in contact with a moist and nutrient rich environment. Did you know that the difference between the words disinfected and sanitized depends on the presence or absence of spores? To disinfect is to kill all active bacteria, but not all dormant bacteria (i.e. spores). To sanitize is to kill all forms of bacteria, including spores.
Next week I start a 6-week long rotation in the teaching clinic on campus. I will spend one day a week in the clinic, following around a fourth-year, primary care intern, while they treat patients. During my 6 weeks shadowing the student, I will also get to partake a little bit in the treatment of patients. For instance, I will get to start taking the vitals (blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse, and breathing rate) of the patients and may even get to help take the patient case (which means I'll be able to ask the patient certain questions about their chief health concern). It'll be exciting but probably overwhelming as during the first-year of this program we students didn't have much patient interaction. This week, in preparation for my first clinic shift (starting next week), I'm going to have to pack my medical equipment bag and iron my lovely white coat. Did you know that it is a rule of thumb in the medical community that students and interns wear short white coats while practicing doctors wear long white coats? Lucky for me I have one of each. I guess my long coat will just have to sit in the closet and stare at me over the next three years, motivating me to push through the program and graduate a real doctor!