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September 15, 2020

I’m tired!

The last two weeks have been….BUSY! My General Practice block has been coming to an end. Like with all my placements, I have had to get sign offs from the doctors to say that I have performed to a good standard, engaged with everything and completed all the necessary tasks on placement! One of the GPs that we have been with quite a lot filled in our “End of Block form”, which they sign giving feedback on areas such as attendance and engagement etc. We received some nice feedback from that GP who said it was a pleasure to teach us, which is always nice to hear! My general ethos in life is to always put your best foot forward and go in full steam – always work to your best ability. If you don’t do as well as you could or you could improve, that’s okay! I do think this makes the job of teaching easier and shows respect to those teaching you – the most frustrating thing in trying to teach is when you ask for volunteers and no-one says anything!

Thursday last week I also did some teaching! Warwick has a very strong tradition of students teaching students, and I have gotten involved with this throughout my time here – I taught seminars to first years and also taught life support last year. I really believe that one of the best ways of learning is to teach. The first years have had their exams delayed this year due to COVID – usually they are in June, but they have been pushed back a few months, so these are coming up soon. I picked the chance to teach shoulder anatomy to the first years, mostly because I have recently had my musculoskeletal block and so the knowledge is fresh and also because shoulders are cool! Unfortunately, the session was online this year rather than in person which does limit things somewhat. Usually in my seminar sessions I like to have activities and demonstrations to show concepts but being online makes this harder. Despite this (and also some technical issues) I did manage to teach I think some useful hints and concepts to the first years and enjoyed myself while doing it. Hopefully they found it useful!

On Thursday I also had my end of block assessment for GP block which took the form of history taking with an actor and discussing management with one of the doctors who was marking me as if this was my final exam. I got some nice feedback in terms of my communication and actually really enjoyed the assessment. I know that’s probably quite weird! It was actually quite fun to have a practice and also super useful as it reminded me of lots of things that I need to go over (ahem…ECGs..).

This week I have also been trying to exercise more and improve my wellbeing as I’ve been quite worn out. GP block has been really fun but also very tiring as its very busy. I’ve (re)joined the gym and am going to try and go a couple of times a week to try and destress. I think my next block is less busy timetable-wise so I can have a bit of a rest. So that’s the end of GP block. My next block is Obstetrics and Gynaecology, in which hopefully I get to see some cute babies! See you in my next blog!

August 28, 2020

Where to?

Another two more weeks of our GP block have passed by. Our block is 5 weeks long and each week we have some days at our GP practice and some days of online tutorials. Every Thursday we have online tutorials by the medical school tutors which focus on communication skills and also common conditions seen in GP. The communication skills sessions involve what are called “simulated” patients, who are actors hired by the medical school to pretend to be a patient. You treat them like any other patient and talk to them about their medical problems and other things. The communication part of this comes in in that with these patients the task we have to do with these patients is to break bad news to them - so tell them a test result came back abnormal or the cancer has returned. Then they are trained to react in a certain way – so they may get upset or angry – and you have to respond and deal with their issues. This can be really challenging and sometimes emotionally difficult, but it is much better to practice these conversations in a safe simulated environment before we ever have to do it for real.

We’ve been really lucky with our GP surgery as they are very keen to teach and get us doing consultations on our own. We speak to a patient and decide what to do, only running our findings and plan past the GP to check it is correct and that they are happy. The GP is always there for support, but it is really satisfying to be able to tell the patient what is wrong and what you think should be done, and for the GP to totally agree. More than any other block, I feel like a doctor now – GP is very busy and almost feels like working full time, with patients specifically booking in to see the medical student. That responsibility of “this is your patient to look after” is new, terrifying, and affirming. This, after all, is why I started this journey 3+ years ago. It feels so rewarding to be able to reassure the patient and offer them a solution or plan to deal with their issues.

This coming Friday we have an online academic day about applying for the UK Foundation Programme. Basically, medical school isn’t the end of training for doctors. Exactly the opposite - graduating from medical school is just the beginning. New doctors apply to and work for two years as part of the Foundation Programme. These are special posts which are designed for a new doctor and the aim is to develop all of the skills learned at medical school and become a confident, capable doctor. As I am in my final year for med school, I have increasingly found myself thinking about the next steps and thinking about some of the decisions I will need to make when applying. The main decision is which foundation school to apply for. The foundation schools cover geographical areas and often cover several hospitals. I was born in the Midlands, I did my Undergraduate degree at Birmingham, worked in the city for 2 years before medical school and of course Warwick Medical School is in the Midlands. Part of me wants to try somewhere else now – but I have ties to the Midlands which mean that I can’t really move away, so I will probably stay around here for foundation. This also has the advantage of not having to get used to a new city while also getting used to being a new doctor at the same time. Some areas are more competitive to get into than others – for example London is super competitive to get a place at, but the Midlands aren’t too bad so hopefully I have a shot!

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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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