These past two weeks have brought the first time we have had contact with patients. I had been looking forward to this for a while as it is nice to put into context the hundreds of hours of studying and lectures.
Understandably we were nervous - it was the first time talking to someone as a medical student and being in the patient’s home made it even more nerve-wracking. However, the experience was incredible in the end. I can’t say too much to protect patient identity, but our patient was lovely and made us all coffee and biscuits before we had even sat down! They were fiercely independent and had recovered quickly from what was a major operation. Our case had links to our teaching at the medical school, so it was nice to have reassurance that what we are learning now does have clinical application. The long hours can make it seem less so! It was interesting to talk to the patient and find out what was important to them with regards to their health. For this person it was being able to do their gardening. It provided food for thought about tailoring care to enable the patient to live as normal a life as possible and this includes allowing them to participate in activities that they find enjoyable.
We also had the opportunity to chat to healthcare professionals, including a strong-minded nurse who fought for their patients. We get told to always listen to the nurses as they see the patients more than us so have a better understanding of their needs than we do! This particular nurse was not afraid to argue with consultants about what was best for their patients. I can only hope to work with nurses like this when I graduate. We were also told about the funding nature of the NHS. The staff had to hold regular fundraising days to obtain the exercise equipment they needed for the patients’ recovery. It was clearly frustrating that the NHS did not provide this funding but due to the selflessness of the staff, they were able to fund the gym to enable patients to get the most out of their recovery as possible.
It was a long day but we were all grateful to have had the chance to see patients. It was a welcome change to the timetable and we took a lot from the day. It’s easy to be blinded by science teaching and trying to get your head around everything, but it’s good to have a reminder that there are more important things that matter to the patient that the science behind their condition.
We also had Warwick Take Me Out recently, which was a brilliant end to the week. It was the same set up as the TV show except the girls had balloons instead of lights (also the reason I decided to sit as far away from the things (balloons not girls) as humanly possible). We had five guys from the med school (and a couple of non-medics) come and try and get a date. I am pleased to say no one went home without a date and the dates included vouchers for Nandos and Waggas … something the whole of the lecture theatre was envious of and had considered putting themselves forward for just for the prospect of free food. The evening was run by Warwick Marrow and all money raised went to the charity, which will contribute to the £47 it takes to sign up one person to the register.
We are all looking forward to Christmas now. The whole year is pretty tired and ready to break for the holidays. Personally, I am looking forward to sleeping. A lot. I am also excited for the Warwick Medical School interviews for the 2019 cohort. I remember being at mine in January of this year chatting to the current students, so it will be nice to see the process from the other side! If there are any prospective students reading this, good luck! Treat it like a normal conversation - it will be over before you know it and you’ll move on to checking consistently for the decision email! (Just don’t check every five minutes like I did …. You’ll go mad).