So I have spent the final few weeks of term at Chelsea and Westminster hospital completing my first clinical attachment at med school.
The purpose of the 3 weeks was to talk to patients, learn how to take histories and get a feel for what will happen in the clinical years. We also had 2 sessions with a GP which was really useful and interesting.
On the first day, I was up bright and early at 6:30am to have a long shower, do my hair and WALK to the hospital. I was bursting with enthusiasm. We had ward round at 8:15am and our firm group decided we would meet by our lockers (yeah how cool we got lockers!) at 8am. Ready to go, we set off to the ward in our best attire and ready to get stuck in. However, we got to the wards, and no member of the cardio team was there for the planned 8:15 round. Now, having only done lectures for 2 years it became apparent this new style of ‘planning’ was making every second year shakey- especially us. After bleeping our F1 for a while, our reg rocked up at 10:30 (over 2 hours later than planned) for the round. We had scheduled teaching at 11…but no teacher. It was just such a bizzare first morning and I was so demoralised. However, there was clinics in the afternoon which were really interesting to sit in on.
Having spoken to my friends at the end of the day I think we all established we were in the same boat. A few people had strict firms, but most of us were having to deal with the concept that firms really are what you make of it. If you are ready to run around the hospital looking for your F1 at the slight chance they are free to teach you, you get a lot out of it. If you spend the time after hours taking histories from a patient so that you can present it to the team during ward rounds- you get a lot out of it. It really just depends how enthusiastic you are.
Being in a hospital when you are in second year tends to make you feel a bit useless though. You can’t help with any practical stuff cause you can’t even take blood, and you can’t help with any of the medical diagnosis stuff cause you really don’t know much about that yet either. I made so many blunders, one of my most embarrassing thinking a patient had a tumour in her xray…when it was her heart. Well done Mala. Once we had accepted we were there to “ask questions and befriend the patients” it became a lot more enjoyable and I learnt a whole lot more.
My firm were a lot of fun to be around! I really did enjoy firms as it was the first insight into the practical application our learning and revision will have. I have also had about 43 sessions on how to take a history now- (please no more!!!)
Hopefully though by third year now I have had this experience I will be a bit more prepared and hopefully I will know how to read an X-ray…
#howdoistillnotknowanything #alwayswashyourhands #washthemagain