These last 10 weeks have been amazing.
In Year 3 you spend 3 x 10 week attachments at hospitals. I was at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital the last 10 weeks and I had such a fantastic time. I learnt a lot but also overcame a lot of anxiety!
Starting clinical placements was really tricky for me. I thought as a talkative happy person I would really enjoy being on the wards for the first proper time as a medical student. However, my first day was a disaster. I had my stethoscope round my neck and my medical student badge on, and I walked confidently up to my ward. It was ward round in the morning, the room was really warm. Really warm. A mixture of nerves, excitement and seeing a lot of blood made me get really faint. Yeah…10 minutes into my first day in the hospital and I was already on the floor. My consultant assured me that it happens to everyone…does it?!?!?!?! I didn’t see anyone else on the floor!!!!
Anyway, things picked up and I really enjoyed talking to patients…but then we had to examine them. Oh my gosh, it is so much harder than I imagined to feel comfortable to examine patients. I have been taught my whole life not to touch boys- at all. And then suddenly you are dumped into a situation when it’s absolutely fine to touch everyone, in fact people expect you to!!! Such a weird experience!!! Hospitals must be the only place in the world (apart from spas!) that this is normal.
Anyway, I got over this pretty quickly and started fully examining patients. By week 3 I was strutting around the wards loving life. But then, the consultants wanted to know what I had seen on examination. ARE YOU KIDDING!?!?! I had absolutely no clue. I just knew I was putting a stethoscope on a chest but I couldn’t really hear much it was all a muffle really. Oooh the learning curve was steep.
Anyway, I learnt. I started picking up a lot about what the diseases were, the treatments, the drugs and of course learning how to remember a patient’s name and not forget it a minute after asking.
I spent my last 2 days on Intensive Care Unit. It was intense. Just when I thought I was really confident after my first 10 weeks I came into a shocker of a situation when I had to deal with the really emotional side of working in healthcare. Patients were reaching their end of life and I was just a student. I couldn’t help anyone, in fact I am pretty sure I was just being a nuisance being there. But, I learnt a lot. The team work that went into the treatment in the Intensive Care Unit was immense to watch. In a fast paced environment the patient flow was fast too- patients were coming in and out of intensive care but I was just standing there on the side trying not to get in anyones way. Being a medical student has its fun perks, but also has its moments that you remember forever, and the first conversation about “turning off the machine” is one that I will never forget.
I am really looking forward to my next 10 week attachment and glad that we have a bit of a break in between to reflect and relax. I hope that the next 10 weeks are interesting, but not too interesting that I faint again with all that excitement.