All 2 entries tagged Theatre
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July 16, 2020
Placement has resumed. Hoorah! For the last two weeks I have been on my musculoskeletal placement which was delayed for 3 months due to COVID. Thankfully, things are back to (nearly) normal. Monday started with induction, where the administrator of the block gave us our timetables and our new uniform – scrubs! So far in the course for placement we have been expected to wear smart clothes – for me a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, smart trousers and smart shoes. However, due to infection control, we have been told to wear scrubs, which can be washed at higher temperatures and more often to kill any nasty bugs. I’m certainly not complaining – while I like wearing my own clothes, ironing all my shirts on a Sunday night is not the relaxing activity you need before the start of a new week. Scrubs are comfortable and easy to wear, with no thought about which trousers go with which shirt. It does feel very informal to be wearing what basically feels like comfortable pyjamas, but I’m not complaining.
On Tuesday we spent all day in theatre with our consultant working through the trauma list, so the operations were focussed around fixing acute problems such as broken bones. It was pretty cool to be back in theatre and a welcome reintroduction to medicine after 3 months off. I have to admit, I had sort of forgotten….well everything really. But luckily there were some lovely scrub nurses around to help remind me how to scrub in for theatre. “Scrubbing in” is an odd term really, but what it actually means is washing your hands in a very specific way to remove any bacteria or viruses and then donning a sterile gown and gloves in a very specific way to make sure they are clean and don’t infect the patient. I’m sure on TV you’ve seen the surgeon and their assistant wearing a long gown and gloves right next to the patient while everyone else stands further back just wearing scrubs. In theatre we get a chance to put on the gown and stand next to the surgeon, and even help out a bit by holding tools and things like that, which was pretty cool. Our consultant is very good at explaining what is happening at stages of the operation, which really helped. I think all medical students should spend time in theatres seeing common operations. Even if you don’t want to be a surgeon, you should know what an operation involves and by seeing it done, you will be better at explaining it to patients. For example, even a GP will be doing some of the aftercare of a hip replacement, and if you’ve never seen one, it can be harder to explain what it involves and recognise when the patient may have complications afterwards. As well as that, it helps things stick in your memory for final exams!
I also got some news this week – I’m a final year! We were told that we progressed from third into final/fourth year. It was more of a formality than anything else, as we basically just needed to be signed off for our first two blocks to progress with no exams this year, but it was still nice news. It does feel slightly odd to change my introduction when talking to patients from “Hi I’m Jordan and I’m a third-year medical student”, to “I’m a final year medical student”, and hits home that I am on the final stretch. It seems both a long time ago and only yesterday when I was the scared first year trying to understand anatomy and not knowing how to talk to patients other than “Have you got any pets?”. Ironically whether they have pets tells you more about their medical condition than you might suppose…Anyway, In one year, I will have done finals, and (hopefully) have passed and become a doctor. Scary indeed, but I’m ready to face the challenges ahead.
March 31, 2014
My first week on my Orthopaedic and Anaesthetic block was dedicated entirely to Anaesthetics. For anyone who doesn’t know, an anaesthetist is a doctor whose responsibility it is to ensure a patient is asleep and comfortable during an operation. The majority of an anaesthetist’s clinical commitment is spent in theatre.
Our first proper day with our consultant was on a Tuesday. Our instructions were to meet him on the pre-op ward for the Obstetrics and Gynaecology list. Simple enough instructions, but it took us a good deal of walking around the hospital to find the right ward and by the time we had got there the anaesthetist had already seen the first patient. No worries though as he seemed to sympathise and we quickly found ourselves observing him performing a pre-operative assessment on a patient. After watching him assess the patient he turned to us and said “Okay, so now you have seen one you can do the other two between yourselves. I will see you in theatre.” I laughed, but before I had realised it wasn’t a joke, he had already left the ward.
This is what it has felt like since starting on rotation, as though you are in the deep end, and I love it! Whilst it is incredibly daunting, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hate standing around watching people talk and do things; I much prefer to be doing it myself. Unfortunately, what I also hate is doing things wrong, and I seem to have been doing a lot of that lately, but I guess that is part of the learning process.
Fast forward two less than ideal anaesthetic pre-assessments later and we find ourselves heading to theatre. We walk into the reception area and without even opening our mouths we are greeted with “Are you medical students?” Now, yes, we are medical students but I am amazed how many people know this without me even saying it. Patients aren’t so good at telling, but hospital staff seem to be experts at knowing, it’s almost second nature. It keeps happening. How, how on earth does almost every hospital employee know we are students? Either there is a big sign over my head that I can’t see, or I don’t have as good a poker face as I’d like to think and I constantly look how I feel – a mix between a deer stuck in headlights and child in a sweet shop! Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter.
On this occasion however I am glad we were noticed as fresh-faced medical students because the first time you turn up to theatre is quite intimidating. Much like everyone who realises we are medical students, the operating theatre manager was very good in showing us where the changing rooms and operating theatres were and letting us know what to do. It is really nice how helpful people have been to us.
When you go into an operating theatre you have to wear scrubs, and if anyone hasn’t told you, they are one of the most comfortable things in the world to wear. I think a lot of anaesthetists love their job because essentially they wear pyjamas for the most of the day.
Now I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in thinking this, one of the biggest challenges of any surgical or anaesthetic rotation is finding clogs that match! Clogs are the shoes that you have to wear in an operating theatre. When you arrive in the changing room you are greeted by a box of clogs which look as though they have been filed away using the same system a toddler uses to put their toys in a toy box. It is chaos. If you are contentious enough (like you will be in your first week at least) you will spend at least five minutes searching for a pair of clogs that are the right size, the same colour and the same design. Basically a matching pair, but I am pretty certain there are no matching pairs in these boxes.
I have rambled on a bit about things that are quite non-medical in this post. Next time my post will be more medically focused. A lot of time and energy does need to be spent on learning where places are, different etiquettes in different areas and how to get the most out of our time. Now that’s out the way, I feel I can focus purely on Medicine; let the fun and games really begin!