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March 18, 2021

Revision, Revision, Revision

I am now in the midst of week 5 of my ‘Revision Block’ and, you’ve guessed it, it has been full of revision. The days are starting to blur into one if I’m honest, but it is the final push to the finish line of medical school so I am actually feeling very motivated to work as hard as I possibly can. Our 8-week revision block is actually a long time to be constantly revising, so to keep things fresh, I like to mix and match in order to keep things fresh and stop myself feeling too fatigued. One of my favourite revision techniques involved a whiteboard: I find it a great way of summarising notes of a topic and drawing out diagrams, it also gets me on my feet so is a little bit more involved than sitting at my desk reading.

Aside from studying alone, I have also been getting together with my clinical partner. We take it in turns to “teach” a topic to one another, which is a fantastic way of helping us both fill gaps in our knowledge. We also invent patient cases and discuss together how we would approach them together. I honestly feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with my clinical partner, it makes the looming spectre of exams far less nerve wracking not having to go through revision alone. We’ve got through all of medical school together from first year anatomy, placements, and now is the last push!

Speaking of partners, my actual (non-clinical) partner has become my own personal simulated patient. He must have had more examinations than a ward full of hospital patients by now. It’s quite entertaining to see him start to pick up some medical knowledge simply by being exposed to it over and over. Whether it’s medical podcasts in the car or practising my abdominal examinations, it has been impossible for him to avoid it. In all seriousness, having someone to practice the examinations on has been really helpful in the build-up to practical exams.

The university is also hosting a variety of voluntary sessions that I have been making the most of. This week, for example, I am attending a practical skills workshop on obstetric palpation (feeling baby in a pregnant mother’s womb) and also a session on taking sexual health swabs. These sessions are overseen by clinical teaching staff who give us pointers on perfecting our technique and building on our knowledge. I find these sessions really useful because, whilst revision is self-directed, it is comforting to have the Medical School as constant source of support and guidance throughout this final push. 4 weeks to go – bring it on!


October 03, 2019

I passed! Bring on Phase III

I passed! I’m officially a third-year medical student! I found out my results last Monday and I am so over the moon to have passed my exams and have moved forwards into the next stage of my training. Third and Fourth year are grouped together into one “phase”, which the med school call “Phase III”. This is the final phase of the Warwick MBChB before we (hopefully) qualify as doctors. The way Phase III works is that we have an 8 week block called Student Selected Component 2 which is a research project, followed by 8 x 8 week blocks of “Specialist Clinical Placements” where we rotate around various specialities, including areas such as Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Orthopaedics etc. These are our final placements before we enter the real world, so to speak and go on to become qualified doctors. It feels surreal to say that I am entering the final part of the course when it only feels like yesterday I was packing up and getting ready to move to Warwick to start a new phase of my life.

The first part of Phase III is Student Selected Component 2 which is our chance to complete a research project and develop the research skills required of all doctors. This 8-week block is very self-directed but the first week was a week full of taught sessions relating to our chosen project. My project is interviewing funeral directors and producing a thematic analysis of their experiences of arranging for GPs to complete cremation paperwork. Thus, my sessions were around qualitative research, how to conduct interviews and producing a write up from this. As well as a chance to do research, the block is also a chance to recover slightly from the length of second year and engage in some extra-curricular activities such as teaching or attending conferences.

This week started more slowly with me emailing out the Funeral Directors I want to interview and finding books and articles for my literature review. It feels slightly odd to not be on placement after so long of going to hospital, but it is also a welcome feeling to enjoy being a normal student for a while, being mostly based on campus and at the library. It means that I can start going to the gym again and catching up with friends again. It’s a slower pace of life, but a welcome one.


March 27, 2014

First week on placement

The light at the end of the tunnel, the thing that has kept us all going through the exam periods is finally upon us. We have all just finished our first week of our first rotation in hospital (or general practice).

Phase II starts with Junior Rotation where we have six eight-week blocks rotating through different specialities. I am starting with Orthopaedics and Anaesthetics, so simply put bone surgery and putting patients to sleep. We do this with our ‘clinical partner’, someone in our year that we have chosen to work with. When you pick your clinical partner it is suggested you pick someone of the opposite gender. The process of asking someone to be your clinical partner is like being back in secondary school and asking someone out to a school dance (at least I imagine this is how it would feel - I went to an all-boys school). All being well you will be with your clinical partner for over two years, it doesn’t take a genius to know that you have to pick your partner wisely!

students

Now, Phase II is very different to Phase I. Phase I was very structured; our days were full and we knew well in advance where we have to be and at what time. It is very much like our undergraduate degrees in this respect, but perhaps a little bit more full on. Phase II, the clinical phase, is very different to this. Before we start our block we are sent emails with our timetabled teaching (these are fairly spartan when compared to our previous timetables) and the name of our consultants, that is it. The rest is up to us. The guidance on the knowledge we should have acquired before sitting our final exams is in the form of learning objectives for each block. Some objectives are specific and some are vague, I imagine we will eventually develop the skill of determining how much depth to go into, but until then I will be drowning in an endless sea of medical information. This is all very alien when contrasted with the regimented style of learning used during Phase I. This is very exciting!

For each hospital rotation/block students are allocated two consultants, in this block I have one Anaesthetic and one Orthopaedic consultant. Students have to establish what the consultants expect; for example, when you will attend their clinical sessions (such as clinics and theatre), as well as deciding what we would like to get out of the block. My partner and I have decided that what we want from the block will mostly be dictated by the learning objectives.

Queue day one; we have nothing scheduled for our block so my clinical partner and I decide it would be wise to try and arrange a meeting with both of our consultants. We just have their names, so a call to the hospital switchboard and several different (wrong) phone numbers later and we have arranged a meeting with our anaesthetist and established that our orthopaedic consultant and his secretary are both on leave. This was quite handy as it meant we could devote our first week to one consultant and specialty allowing us to find our bearings and ease into things.

More soon,

Amrit


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About our student blogs

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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