Today marks the end of my second week at the MS Trust. Now that I have settled into my role and got to know everyone I am working with, time is passing me by very quickly. I’m very surprised to see that I have reached the halfway-point of my internship already.
As I wrote in my last entry, the MS Trust is a charity that deals with all aspects of MS – from people with MS, to health professionals working with these individuals. The more time I spend here, the more I appreciate this fact.
This week I have continued with my literature searching, looking at the impacts MS can have on suicide risk, as well as looking at ways to manage patients with MS. Going beyond the drug therapies that some patients may be offered, I have looked into alternative sources of support; from physiotherapy and podiatry, to assisting devices such as Functional Electrical Stimulation (a device which helps patients with foot drop), I have learnt that there are many ways to treat a person with MS. Each person is unique, and no two patients will have the same experience with the condition.
I was also able to visit a local MS Therapy centre twice this week, where I saw first-hand the very things I have spent the past few days reading about. Being able to speak with patients, listen to their experiences, and learn from them (as my supervisor told me: “you will learn more from your patients than you will from your teachers”) is a very enjoyable and valuable experience, one which I am sure will serve me well as I enter the clinical years of my degree in September.
I was surprised to find that many patients felt lost after their diagnosis. They spoke of how their doctors had not given them much guidance of how to deal with the condition – they were very much left to themselves. This emphasised to me the importance of the work the MS Trust does; they produce information booklets for people with MS, one of which is a very concise “Making Sense of MS” booklet, to be given to patients by their doctors when they are newly diagnosed. Before this I began this internship I had no idea that such support outside the walls of the hospital were available to patients. Taking this into account, I provided the therapy centre with several of our booklets, which I hope the patients find useful.
Another enjoyable experience this week was helping with a morning of fundraising and collections. The MS Trust was voted local Sainsbury’s ‘Charity of the Year’, and so I spent my Thursday morning helping with the collections; donning the blue t-shirt, handing out balloons, and most importantly collecting money.
I have also helped with general office administrative work; from packing all the information booklets to be sent off to hospitals, to ‘stickering’ these booklets – putting a sticker on the back which gives the date of the next publication review – I have been kept very busy. So far I have ‘stickered’ over 500 booklets, and they just keep coming!
I’ve enjoyed my second week here, and look forward to visiting the therapy centre again next week, as well as continuing my literature searches.