I’ve now moved onto the second part of my Assistantship placement, after 4 weeks in A&E, I’m now on a general medical ward working with the haematology team. Working on a general medical ward is very different to A&E. Most medical wards have their own routine of ward rounds followed by various jobs. On a medical ward it’s also important to be proactive about planning for discharges. This is important to ensure beds are available in the hospital and to ensure patients get home quicker and in a safe and organised way. The FY1 is very important to this, as its usually their responsibility to write the discharge letters. This can be a tedious task but if it’s not done on time it can cause huge delays! Learning about managing jobs like these is something we didn’t cover in medical school, which is why we have our assistantship block to learn about these vital tasks and to find out what the FY1 has to do on a daily basis.
I’ve also had the opportunity to attend the twice weekly FY1 teaching. This has been interesting to see what sort of topics are covered and at what level. Once a week FY1s take turns to present sort presentations to each other on various topics, focusing on the role of the FY1 in recognising and managing those conditions. In the other teaching sessions, a consultant will give a talk focusing on common presentations within their specialty, again focusing on what is expected of an FY1 in those situations. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the level of knowledge hasn’t been that different from finals, but there is more focus on local services and referrals processes. It’s often the FY1 sorting out tests or organising referrals to different services so it’s important they know who to contact in lots of different situations!
As well as spending lots of time in hospital during assistantship I also got the opportunity to attend the Warwick Medical Education Conference, an annual 1-day conference organised by the Medical school. Members of staff from the university and the local hospitals present their latest research and educational projects, and students also get the opportunity to present work they have done in medical education. Some students in 2ndyear presented the work they had done with peer teaching between students with non-science backgrounds which was interesting and I took the opportunity to present some of the work I did at the start of 3rd year (the SSC2 research block) when I conducted a questionnaire asking students about their career ambitions. My presentation went well and was early in the morning so I could relax and enjoy the rest of the day. It was interesting to hear about educational initiatives being trialled here at Warwick. I hope medical education and teaching is something I can be part of as an FY1, teaching medical students and as I become more senior teaching junior colleagues. I think teaching is a great way to bring variety to your medical career and to keep you excited and interested in your job in amongst all the shift work!
Speaking of shift work, I’ve shadowed the FY1s on some of their medical on call shifts, long shifts that take place 9am-9.30pm. These shifts are very hard work but this week I’m also going to go on some night shifts, I may be mad doing these voluntarily but I don’t my first night shift to be on my first job where I am responsible for patient care. Doing some night shifts during assistantship I can see what it’s like working at night in the hospital and what it’s like trying to work at 3am, while still being supervised in everything I do! Wish me luck!