Let loose on the wards
So, it finally happened! We have had our first bedside teaching and it definitely lived up to my expectations. I am at UHCW for my first year and have my bedside teaching on Tuesday afternoons, which is a slight pain in the ass for parking at UHCW in the afternoon. However, Matt and I managed by sheer luck to grab a space within 40 minutes of getting there. We headed in and made it with 5 minutes to spare before the lecture welcoming us into the trust. We were told about what is expected of us, how to sign in and general admin before we were introduced to our consultants.
My consultant is lovely and approachable which is something I had been worried about as you hear a lot about the nature of consultants to hide away from medical students. So, I was happy to have an approachable teacher who was keen to get us straight on the wards. We went to the Medical Decisions Unit where patients are transferred from A&E and within 10 minutes, I was meeting my first patient.
I was nervous because this was all new and I did feel a bit sorry for the patient who suddenly had 4 medical students descend on them, plus a clinical fellow who was supervising us, so it got cramped in the cubicle but we got through. We carried out a history and some clinical examinations under the supervision of the clinical fellow who was writing down our findings into the patient’s actual notes! I carried out an abdominal and respiratory exam and it really hit home why we learn clinical skills every Friday. It is easy for it to become out of context but putting these skills into use allowed me to put Friday lectures into context.
After we finished, we were sent away to discuss treatment plans and differential diagnoses amongst ourselves and it really hit home why we are doing what we are doing. I’ve said it before, it's easy to get lost amongst the hours of lectures, workshops and self-study but when we get to put our knowledge into a clinical setting when there is a real life involved, it makes it all seem worthwhile.
I had a bit of an idiot moment at the end of the day as I spent 20 minutes trying to get into a locker that wasn’t mine. I mistakenly had written my name on the wrong locker and only by curiosity I had discovered my mistake – I think I need more caffeine in my life!
Coming back round to the academic life, we have started block three and it is as interesting and brilliant to learn as I thought it would be. I come from a neuroscience background so I had been virtually pining for some brains. It’s not easy and there is a lot to learn but it’s nice to hear familiar words again and I feel a bit more at home on my turf now. We are seeing brain MRI scans virtually every day and I am taking the opportunity to transfer my new knowledge onto my own brain MRI scan that I had done a couple of years ago.
My favourite lecture so far must be the one we had on consciousness. I was expecting the philosophical approach that I had sat through in my undergraduate degree. I was so wrong. We had a consultant neurosurgeon from UHCW (so I was in slight awe to begin with) and he approached it from the GSC score (how we assess how “awake” someone is). He was funny and gave a lot of insight into the scale so I took a lot away from the lecture. Neurosurgery is a career I am determined to pursue having completed two weeks as part of my pre-med work experience. I find the brain fascinating and to see it for the first time after the dura (a covering of the brain) was pulled back is an experience I will never forget. As you can imagine, I was inspired just by having a neurosurgeon in the room.
So far Term 2 has been intense but I have enjoyed it and I am on top of my work for once! I know these 5 weeks will give me the confidence boost I need with the exams drawing slowly nearer. On Sunday, we went as a flat to the local watering hole where I watched three of my flatmates devour 50 chicken wings between them before playing the QI board game. Well… there are worse ways to spend a Sunday evening.
Did you know that Scotland won the first ever elephant polo championships? Neither did I until 10pm on Sunday …!