It has been a fantastic few days here in Malawi. We travelled up to Nkhata Bay hospital and saw first hand how a hospital functions with only one employed doctor. We visited Lake Malawi and also enjoyed being welcomed into the local church for a lively Sunday Morning service! We have also tried the traditional Malawi food kindly cooked by our hospital guide and served at his family home.
In ward rounds, we observed what it was like to not have curtains and privacy between patients. We saw how patients had to bring their own linen in as there was none in the hospital.
Finals are done! Now we get the exciting task of going on our medical electives to finish off med school. Imperial have kindly funded partial bits of it and first stop: Malawi.
I am travelling with my good friend in my year, Emma Larsson. We are joining an e-health research project here in Malawi. To put it into perspective on the Human Development Index, Malawi is placed 171 out of 189 countries.
We travelled around the local hospitals today, meeting the teams we will be working with. I have done 2000+ days of med school but today was the most important day of them all.
We are now a week away from finals, and revision is at it’s peak. But before we headed off into this revision hole the faculty made sure that we were all feeling confident about our practical skills. This is really key, as so much emphasis is put on by students about written exams when really we need to also be preparing to practically be a doctor!
We have great clinical skills teams across each of our different hospital sites here at Imperial. I was based at West Middlesex Hospital for my final placement and we had a session to ensure we were safe to administer IV drugs and take blood culture samples properly.
It has been a busy end to the term and it really is getting close to the end now- I only have 4 weeks of clinical time left on the wards after Christmas before finals. There is so much going on right now. I have been busy at interviews for my foundation programme, getting my final competencies done on wards and we recently did the Situational Judgement Exam (which counts 50% to allocations for junior doctor training)! However, this term I have also been feeling how close we are to becoming actual doctors (hopefully). This was made even more clear a few weeks ago when I did CPR for the first time.
Final year is going at full speed- with only (gulp!) 7 months to go until our finals exams are done. We have received our GMC numbers now and from Monday will have our account details to apply for our first job in the NHS.
So as the real life stuff is ramping up, so is the training to help us be junior doctors. I am currently on my emergency medicine attachment and as part of this we had a simulation day based at West Middlesex Hospital. It was fantastic!
The aim of the day was to give us experience handling emergency situations in a “safe” environment.
This week marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS and the celebrations are really inspiring. A couple of years ago when the junior doctor contract strikes occurred in my 3rd year the outlook felt quite bleak for a career in the NHS. Many of my friends considered switching career paths and I think we all felt quite unsure of how our working life would be shaped by the changes. However, 2 years on and now about to start final year…there really is a different mood in the air.
We know that the life of a junior doctor is going to be hard, and we know that it will be a shock from medical school life.