All 2 entries tagged Labour

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October 07, 2020

The power of positivity

This week I had three shifts on labour ward at Warwick Hospital. Each one started at 7:30am sharp with the midwife handover, and then I was assigned a midwife to help/shadow for the day. On my first shift I stayed with the same patient all day and things ended with a birth which was amazing to see. It does sound cheesy, but welcoming new life into the world is one of the highest privileges there is. And the babies are very cute!

On Saturday I received some great news – one of the block coordinators forwarded me some feedback sent into the ward by one of the families that I had worked with this week which mentioned me by name! Studying medicine is sometimes a process of continual confidence building, followed by realising how little you do know. A lot of the feedback we receive is about how to improve, which does sometimes feel like negative feedback as it concentrates naturally on what you didn’t do but should have done. This is of course all in the interest of patient safety – one must continually improve to ensure one reaches the competence expected of a doctor. It honestly makes such a difference to receive some positive feedback and after a long and tiring week makes it all feel worth it.

The positive impact this had on me reminds me of something I think I’ve spoken about before in this blog – Learning from Excellence (LFE). LFE is an initiative which was started by one of the consultants I worked with before medicine but is an idea which is gaining considerable traction. LFE focuses on inverting the traditional “Incident reporting” which operates in hospitals – i.e. where an incident occurs, and it is reported so that measures can be taken to prevent it happening again. LFE instead focuses on reporting excellent practice so that we can make sure it does happen again. Of course, both of these approaches have their place and really work in tandem – but LFE focuses on raising morale and also ensuring excellent care. Positive feedback about what went well is just as important as what didn’t go well.

Something else I think is very important is showing kindness and humanity to others in healthcare. When stressed it is so easy to get offended or start on a poor tone, but kindness and positivity has such an important impact. I believe it is key to try our best to be kind to everyone we meet – staff members and patients alike. One of the consultants at University Hospital Coventry actually gave an excellent TED talk which I would recommend – “When rudeness in teams turns deadly”, which talks about the direct consequences of being rude, or of being unkind and inversely the importance of being civil and being kind.

The lesson to take away is that kindness costs nothing apart from your time, and whether it takes the form of positive feedback or just being nice to someone - it can make all the difference. It could make someone’s week – it made mine this week!

March 30, 2016

Cradle to Grave…

Writing about web page

In medicine we are privileged to witness both the birth of new life and the end of life. During Core Clinical Education (CCE) 1 there were times when I started on the ward and enquired about a patient only to learn they had passed away; other students have been present for a patient's last moments and others have been present when families have been informed. All of these situations present unique challenges to doctors and to us as medical students. I still feel like an unwelcome intruder in these situations but the only way we will learn how to cope with these difficult times is by observing others. We have excellent teaching from doctors and nurses who work in palliative care in the local hospice, teaching us about care at the end of a person’s life. I’m grateful of any extra knowledge in the hope that it will help me when it’s my turn to cope with these difficult situations, although I'm prepared to feel like I said all the wrong things the first time knowing that after reflecting I will be better next time.

An equally pivotal moment in a patient’s life that we get to witness is their birth. In my first couple of weeks of CCE2 at University Hopsital Coventry and Warwickshire I have had shifts on the Labour ward (both day and night!) and have also spent time in the community with the midwives. These have been amazing experiences and have made me think a lot about what specialty I see myself in. Working with the team of midwives and Obstetrics and Gynaecology doctors was great, I got to spend lots of time with the patients and was able to provide a lot of practical help to the midwives as well as be a much needed distraction for some of the women whose contractions were pushing them over the edge! I was able to observe both natural deliveries as well as some emergency Caesareans.Seeing the team come together to ensure that it is no longer than 30 minutes from the time of the call to when the baby comes out was incredible. Seeing the midwives, anaesthetists, theatre staff and obstetricians all working as one to ensure both Mum and Baby are safe was incredible and I had tears in my eyes on several occasions. As a second year medical student we are limited in what we can do and therefore how helpful we can be, but we can talk to patients and reassure them, and nowhere is this needed more than on the Labour ward. Leaving my 13 hour shift and saying bye to a patient I had worked with for the last six hours I was really touched to be hugged by both the patient and the midwife who said I was a pleasure to work with, hearing this was so rewarding and makes you realise that no matter what stage of your medical career you can make a difference. I’ve learnt that One Born Every Minute is not entirely accurate but the Labour Ward is certainly filled with some very special moments that are great to be part of.

In our first year we learnt a lot about health inequalities and the effects of social deprivation on the health of both mothers and children. Nowhere is this highlighted more than when working with the community midwives. The community midwives spend a lot of time educating patients about their health and wellbeing and also take part in multi-agency schemes designed to support families in a variety of ways. Seeing pregnant mothers living in damp, overcrowded housing makes you realise just how important health professionals are in tackling poverty and social isolation. Working with the community midwives we spent a lot of time trying to find a good place to listen to a heartbeat in the antenatal clinic in cases where a baby was especially active (apparently a sign it’s a boy!) as well as spending time on postnatal visits ensuring families were coping and checking for signs of postnatal depression. What I really liked about Obstetrics and Gynaecology is that it is a specialty that takes a holistic approach, the whole family and social circumstances around a patient are relevant and can have a huge impact on outcomes.

As well as cooing over newborn babies I presented my summer project at the Warwick Academic Medicine Society’s annual conference, an amazing day filled with excellent talks from both staff and students and tonight I start my first week of the optional Student Selected Component (SSC) in Medical Education. There is definitely never a dull week as a medical student!


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Our Med Life blogs are all written by current WMS MB ChB students. Although these students are paid to blog, we don’t tell our bloggers what to say. All these posts are their thoughts, opinions and insights. We hope these posts help you discover a little more about what life as a med student at Warwick is really like.

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