I was upset recently to realise that in the midst of studying I had lost sight of why I went into Medicine.
It’s easy to do. Placements are hectic, stress builds around exams, studying in the library disorientates you and finding opportunities for sign-offs and achieving competencies become your first priority. Recently I found myself stressed in theatre on a Friday afternoon frantically trying to sort out achieving my last competencies on that placement and make sure I had all the paperwork for them sorted.
I was stunned to see the attitude of the student nurse and staff nurse, and how different this was from my own.
As term draws on and first years begin to prepare for exams, I thought I would share a few thoughts on Medical Student Syndrome.
Medical Student Syndrome… what is that?
Defined by wikipedia as a condition where medical students students “perceive themselves to be experiencing the symptoms of a disease that they are studying”, this is a very common issue faced by medical students all over the world!
Put simply, when you study a disease for a long time, you begin to persuade yourself that you probably have it and need to go to your GP. However by the time you get to your GP you have forgotten about that disease, and now think you have something else that you are studying.
I was in the middle of exams, when I got an email back in May. The subject: “Summer communications work”. It was from the ChemEng Communications Officer… Ohh well, I thought it’s like a one-day something, some promotions, whatever. Then I read the email…
“…I am looking for someone to do some part-time work on departmental communications…”
“…The work would be quite varied, essentially assisting me and would consist of things such as writing short news stories, managing social media channels and putting together the newsletter…”
“…given your great work on the blog I thought I would approach you first…”
Hello! Sorry it has been a while since we last posted- Internet has been very limited in Rushere as the shops had run out of data for our network, and we had spent too much of our data spending money on cups of tea and accidently ringing up the talking clock!
We are now in Entebbe- the town by the airport relaxing before we fly tomorrow afternoon. It is a luxury to be here after the last few weeks – we even have a fan, a TV and fast wifi!
The last couple of weeks at Rushere have been busy. We have enjoyed helping with more theatre cases- one week we had nearly one caesarean and one gynaecological operation a day, which is a lot here- it got to the point where we had nearly run out of clean instruments!
Sorry for the lack of blog posts. We have been having Internet issues. We bought some more data for our modem only to find less than 5 minutes later it had run out (it was to last us a fortnight!)- turns out our Imperial ipad had used all the data to update it’s apps. As a result it is banished to the suitcase!
The last couple of weeks here have been interesting.
Medicine-wise we have spent a lot of time in theatre seeing lots of caesarean sections (done to prevent serious problems, not cosmetic!) and a finger amputation!
On the wards we have helped manage lots of challenging cases of malnutrition which at times has been heartbreaking, as well as lots of paediatric and neonatal cases which has been great revision.
I am halfway through this 6 year degree- woah. And I am having a bit uncertainty as to where to go from here, especially as pretty much all my school friends are graduating now and starting real life. Questions have popped up like what do I want to do for a BSc project, what shall I do for money in 5th and 6th year, what speciality am I thinking that I eventually want to train in and ultimately…is medicine for me still?
People have doubts in life, and it really is not uncommon to have doubts about whether medicine is the right career path for you (especially when you are racking up a huge debt for it).
This weekend we visited Ugandas capital city: Kampala.
Travelling there alone was different: We travelled on public transport with the guest house manager to show us the ropes. Public transport here is different to back home- there are no trains so people rely on intercity buses. We squeezed onto the coach packed with luggage, people, children, and the occasional chicken. There are few seat belts to be found on the buses and they travel in excess of 100-120km/hr which is exciting on the bends to say the least! Fortunately after a while people got off and we managed to sit together by a window.
This week has been quiet in the hospital- we have had a lull in the number of patients- apparently this is the calm before the storm, as malaria season is about to start!
Despite having less patients we have still been challenged by many cases. I was particularly surprised after seeing a case of domestic violence, to discuss the issue with the nurses on the ward. They were very shocked to hear that this is not routine in the UK and that women can seek legal protection. They explained that many here see domestic violence as a way of showing love.
This week’s #throwbackthursday is from exactly two years ago and features the Biological Records Centre 50th anniversary symposium.
Last weekend I was at a symposium in Bath celebrating 50 years of the Biological Records Centre (BRC). The BRC collates and manages species observation data, including supporting biological recording schemes in publishing atlases, developing and hosting online resources. I have a long interest in biological recording, as a child spending most of my weekends and school holidays recording wildlife in a local woodland, but it was always on my own. It has not been until the last few years I have become interested in ‘formal’ biological recording by joining schemes and societies, much of this has been helped by the emergence of the internet in allowing me to make contact with like-minded people.