All 2 entries tagged Surgery

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January 18, 2021

Care of the Surgical Patient

I’ve come into this block feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after the Christmas holidays and have just completed the first two weeks of my Surgical Patient block (my final specialist block of medical school!!) When I look back over the last three (and a bit) years, they have been filled with highs, lows and plenty of hard work – but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel as though things have come in a neat roundabout circle as my last block is surgery and Gastrointestinal medicine, and my first block in my first year covered the basics of this area of medicine. I, too, feel like I have come full circle in terms of motivation and drive. I started Year 1 with energy and determination and I again feel energised and ready to approach the next few months with the necessary determination to hopefully finish the course.

…Which is good as there is a lot to do. I have two prescribing exams at the beginning of February, and then written and practical exams in March. As well as this, I still have to engage with this block and learn enough about surgery to be able to cope as a junior doctor on a surgical ward. So, what have I been up to? Well, for this block I have not one, but two surgeons, making me slightly spoilt for choice. I have a general surgeon (so digestive system amongst many other things), and a urologist (male reproductive tract and male and female urinary systems) as my consultant supervisors. Last week I was lucky enough to attend general surgery clinic which I found really interesting, which sort of surprised me. I am still unsure what career path to go down but had thought general surgery wasn’t for me up until this point. I found the clinic really interesting and actually quite innovative with some of the novel techniques they use to sort digestive problems. One of these techniques is what they call a seton, which is essentially a specialised string which they put through false passages which helps the passage heal correctly – very cool stuff!

We have also had lots of tutorials from experienced surgeons in this block, and one of the most engaging of these was a session I had last week where we were taught how to suture. Suturing is one of the most basic surgical skills, but that doesn’t mean it is easy! All doctors need to be able to suture, of course surgeons need to be able to suture to close wounds, but also doctors working in A&E or General Practice need to be able to close small wounds and injuries if necessary. We had three experienced consultant surgeons teaching us how to handle the equipment and do a basic interrupted suture. This is where the needle goes through the base of the skin and is then tied above the skin to close the wound. We were also offered a challenge – one of the surgeons had created a laparoscopic training ‘game’. Laparoscopic surgery is commonly called ‘keyhole’ surgery as rather than large incisions, small incisions are made, and a camera and tools are used to complete the surgery. The game involved a webcam and two tools inside a box, and involved picking up rubber bands and putting them on small pegs. The person who did the most of these was the winner and would get a certificate, and unbelievably, I won! As I said earlier, I haven’t really considered surgery as a career in seriousness, but I found the game fun and have really enjoyed this block so far, so you never know…

December 04, 2015

Working in the hospital


As part of the introduction to Core Clinical Education that all second-years will be starting in the New Year, we have been spending each Monday at our respective hospitals completing several different orientation tasks. Students in our cohort are assigned to either UHCW (University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire), Warwick Hospital or to George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. It has been fascinating to see how hospitals work, and this extended orientation session has had the very welcome effect of showing us not just how doctors do their jobs, but how all teams work together to make the process of healing, treatment and management as therapeutic for each patient as possible, whilst working with finite and closely-managed resources.

Students at my hospital are given multiple different tasks to complete over the term; these include bedside-teaching sessions (practicing taking histories and performing examinations), mandatory orientation sessions (such as introduction to outpatient services) and some optional sessions that we chose before starting. The purpose of these tasks is to ensure that students develop respect and appreciation for all members of every team, and see how the many, varied cogs of each ward’s wheels fit so nicely together.

One of my morning placements was in the operating theatre, the purpose of which was to observe several operations and see how the team members’ tasks complemented one another. I had the privilege of witnessing three relatively routine procedures take place back-to-back and watch the progression of each from start-to-finish. Each of these procedures required the patients to be given general anaesthetic, and I was present for the entire process. I watched the anaesthetist and the ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) prepare the drugs, was present when the (conscious and alert) patient was wheeled in, and observed everything from that point forward.

I once watched a documentary about a Formula-1 pit-stop crew; the stops were so tightly choreographed that each team member had certain spots where they could place their feet so that they did not get in the way of anyone else. The amount of precision and professionalism in this operating-theatre team was not far off of that. Every task was completed efficiently and quickly, and with minimal disruption to the patient’s wellbeing. And this was the most impressive and best part of it all: the patients are so vulnerable and so trusting of their medical professionals. Each was literally unconscious, and yet no doubt entered anyone’s mind that each would be given anything but the most dignified and respectful treatment possible - and so they were. It made me proud to be part of a service which takes its duties so seriously, and in which the absolute highest standard of care is not merely something to be aspired to, it is something which is actively practiced and expected.


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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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