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Confidence Building During Medical Training

My fellow medical students, interns, residents and attendings: I am not a medical student but an emeritus professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and also a voluntary faculty member at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. I have a great deal of contact with medical students and residents. During training (as student or resident), gaining confidence in one's own abilities is a very important part of becoming a practitioner. This aspect of training does not always receive the necessary attention and emphasis. Below I describe one of the events of confidence building that has had an important and lasting influence on my career as an academic physician. I graduated from medical school in Belgium many years ago. I came to the US to do my internship in a small hospital in up state NY. I was as green as any intern could be, as medical school in Belgium at that time had very little hands on practice, as opposed to the US medical graduates. I had a lot of "book knowledge" but very little practical confidence in myself. The US graduates were way ahead of me. My fellow interns, residents and attendings were really understanding and did their best to build my confidence and never made me feel inferior. One such confidence-building episodes I remember vividly. Sometime in the middle part of the one-year internship, I was on call in the emergency room and was called to see a woman who was obviously in active labor. She was in her thirties and had already delivered several babies before. The problem was that she had had no prenatal care at all and there was no record of her in the hospital. I began by asking her some standard questions, like when her last menstrual period had been and when she thought her due date was. I did not get far with my questioning as she had one contraction after another and she was not interested in answering. Soon the bag of waters broke and she said that she had to push. The only obvious action for me at that point was to get ready for a delivery in the emergency room. There was no time to transport the woman to the labor and delivery room. There was an emergency delivery “pack” in the ER, which the nurses opened for me while I quickly washed my hands and put on gloves. Soon after, a healthy, screaming, but rather small baby was delivered and handed to the pediatric resident who had been called. At that point it became obvious that there was one more baby inside the uterus. Realizing that I was dealing with a twin pregnancy, I panicked, as in my limited experience during my obstetrical rotation some months earlier I had never performed or even seen a twin delivery. I asked the nurses to summon the chief resident, who promptly arrived to my great relief. I immediately started peeling off my gloves to make room for the resident to take my place and deliver this twin baby. However, after verifying that this baby was also a "vertex" without any obvious problem, he calmly stood by, and over my objections, bluntly told me “you can do it”, even though I kept telling him that this was a first for me. I delivered this healthy, screaming twin baby in front of a large number of nurses and doctors crowding the room, only to realize that this was not the end of it and that indeed there was a third baby. Now I was really ready to step aside and let the chief resident take over. However he remained calm and again, stood by and assured me that I could handle this situation. I am not even sure how many triplets he had delivered himself as they are not too common. Baby number three appeared quickly and also was healthy and vigorous. What a boost to my self-confidence that was! I only delivered one other set of triplets later in my career and that was by C-Section. All three babies came head first. If one of them had been a breech the situation might have been quite different. What I will never forget is the implied lesson in confidence building the chief resident gave me. I have always remembered that. In fact I have put this approach in practice numerous times when the roles were reversed later in my career as teacher. Often in a somewhat difficult situation at the bedside or in the operating room, a student or more junior doctor would refer to me to take over and finish a procedure he or she did not feel qualified to do. Many times I would reassure and encourage that person to continue while I talked him or her through it. Many of these junior doctors have told me afterwards how they appreciated this confidence building. Of course one has to be careful to balance this approach with patient safety and I have never delegated responsibility in critical situations and have often taken over when a junior doctor was having trouble. Those interested, can read more about my experiences in the US and a number of other countries, in a free e book, entitled "Crosscultural Doctoring. On and Off the Beaten Path" can be downloaded at this link. Enjoy!  
DR William LeMaire
over 2 years ago
82de0f36bce95a3694b8d5b2ceab67bf
26
524

Beating the Bully

I read an article recently that 90% of surgical trainees have experienced bullying of one form or other in their practice. That’s 90%. That’s shocking. Worryingly it is highly likely that this statistic is not purely isolated to surgery. This is evidence of a major problem that needs to be addressed. We don’t accept bullying in schools and in the workplace policies are in place to stop bullying and harassment– so why have 90% of trainees experienced bullying? I can relate to this from personal experience, as I am sure most of us can. Prior to intercalating I had always had the typical med student ambition of joining the big league and taking on surgery. I had a keen interest in anatomy, I had decided to intercalate in anatomy, I did an SSC on surgical robotics, presented at an undergraduate surgical conference and had a small exposure to surgery in my first couple of years that gave me enough drive to take on a competitive career path. I took it upon myself to try and arrange a brief summer attachment where I would learn as a clinical medical student what it is like to scrub in and be in theatre. At the beginning I was so excited. At the end every time someone mentioned surgery I felt sick. It became apparent very quickly that I was an inconvenience. I think medical students all get this feeling – ‘being in the way’ - but this was different. This was being made to feel deliberately uncomfortable. I asked if I could have some guidance on scrubbing in and this was met with a complete huff and annoyance because I didn’t know how to do it properly (thank goodness for a lovely team of theatre nurses!). I even got assigned a pet name for the week – the ‘limpet’ (notable for their clinging on to rocks) that was frequently used as a humiliation tactic in front of colleagues. By the end of the week I dreaded walking into the hospital and felt physically sick every morning. Now some people might say ‘man up’ and get on with it. Fair enough, but I’m a fairly resilient character and it takes a lot to make me feel like I did that week. This experience completely eradicated any ambition I had at the time to go into surgery. Since then I’ve focused elsewhere and generally dreaded surgical rotations until very recently where I managed to meet a wonderful orthopaedic team who were incredibly encouraging. Bullying can be subjective. Just because a consultant asks you a difficult question doesn’t mean they’re bullying you. By and large clinicians want to stretch you and trigger buttons that make you go and look things up. If it drives you to work and develops you as a professional then it’s not bullying, but if it makes you feel rubbish, sick or less about yourself then you should perhaps think twice about the way you’re being treated. Of course bullying doesn’t stop at professionals. Psychological bullying is rife in medical schools. We’ve all been ‘psyched out’ by our peers – how much do you know? How did you know that when I didn’t? Intimidating behaviour can be just as aggressive. Americans dub these people ‘Gunners’ although we’ve been rather nice and adopted the word ‘keen’ instead. Luckily most medical schools have a port of call for this sort of behaviour. But a word of advice – don’t let anyone shrug it off. If it’s a problem, if it’s affecting you – tell someone. Bullying individuals that are trying to learn and develop as professionals is entirely unacceptable. If you would like to share similar experiences, drop them in the comments box below.  
Lucas Brammar
over 2 years ago
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Fluid & electrolyte memorization trick

Fluid & electrolyte memorization trick for your Exam in nursing and medical school.  
youtube.com
over 1 year ago
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Inflammation and Wound Healing

Great lecture from the Chamberlain College of Nursing.  
youtube.com
over 1 year ago
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Autonomic Nervous system Pharmacology

This is the best online medical lectures site, providing high quality medical and nursing lectures for students across the globe. Our lectures are oversimplified for adequate learning, less memorization and proper understanding of difficult concept in clinical medicine.  
Nicole Chalmers
about 3 years ago
552
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Stomas

Mr Jon Lund talks to Liz Evans a specialist stoma nurse about the different types of abdominal stomas. More content can be found at www.surgeryandmedicine.com  
Rhys Clement
about 7 years ago
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Tricyclic Antidepressants Pharmacology

This is the best online medical lectures site, providing high quality medical and nursing lectures for students across the globe. Our lectures are oversimplified for adequate learning, less memorization and proper understanding of difficult concept in clinical medicine.  
Nicole Chalmers
about 3 years ago
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5
165

Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers online course for nurses on causes, classifications, assessment, prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.  
learningnurse.org
over 1 year ago
F8cf5a809a660bb4600433b264abd6e0
10
483

The NHS needs to learn a lesson from the Military MDT approach

I have recently spent a few days following around registrars on military ward rounds. It has been a fantastic experience for learning about trauma care and rehab, but more importantly it has shown me just how vital team spirit is to modern health care! The military ward round is done once a week. It starts with a huge MDT of almost 40 people, including nurses, physios, registrars and consultants from all of the specialities involved in trauma and rehab. The main trauma ward round team then go to speak to all of the patients in the hospital. The team normally consists of at least one T+O consultant, one plastics, two physios, two nurses, 3 registrars and a few others. This ward round team is huge, unweildly and probably very costly, but those military patients receive a phenomenal level of care that is very quick and efficient. Having then compared this level of care with what I have experience on my 4th year speciality medicine placement, I now feel the NHS has a lot to learn about team work. I am sure that everyone working in healthcare can relate to situations where patients have been admitted under the care of one team, who don’t really know what to do with the patient but struggle on bravely until they are really lost and then look around to see who they can beg for help. The patient then gets ping-ponged around for a few days while management plans are made separately. All of the junior doctors are stressed because they keep having to contact multiple teams to ask what should be done next. The patient is left feeling that their care wasn’t handled very well and is probably less than happy with the delay to their definite treatment. The patient, thankfully, normally ends up getting the correct treatment eventually, but there is often a massive prolongation of their stay in hospital. These prolonged stays are not good for the patient due to increasing risks of complications, side effects, hospital acquired infections etc. They are not good for the health care staff, who get stressed that their patients aren’t receiving the optimum care. The delays are very bad for the NHS managers, who might miss targerts, lose funding and have to juggle beds even more than normal. Finally, it is not good for the NHS as a hole, which has to stump up the very expensive fees these delays cause (approximately £500 a night). There is a simple solution to this which would save a huge amount of time, energy and money. TEAM WORK! Every upper-GI ward round should be done with the consultant surgeon team and a gastroenterologist (even a trainee would probably do) and vice versa, every Gastroenterology ward round should have a surgeon attached. Every orthopaedic ward round should be done with an elderly care physician, physio/rehab specialist and a social worker. Every diabetic foot clinic should have a diabetologist, podiatrist, vascular surgeon and/or orthopaedic surgeon (even trainees). Etc. etc. etc. A more multi-disciplinary team approach will make patient care quicker, more appropriate and less stressful for everyone involved. It would benefit the patients, the staff and the NHS. To begin with it might not seem like an easy situation to arrange. Everyone is over worked, no one has free time, no one has much of a spare budget and everyone has an ego. But... Team work will be essential to improving the NHS. Many MDTs already exist as meetings. MDTs already exist as ED trauma teams, ED resus teams and Military trauma teams. There is no reason why lessons can’t be learnt from these examples and applied to every other field of medicine. I know that as medical students (and probably every other health care student) the theory of how MDTs should work is rammed down our throats time after time, but I personally still think the NHS has a long way to go to live up to the whole team work ethos and that we as the younger, idealist generation of future healthcare professionals should make this one of our key aims for our future careers. When we finally become senior health care professionals we should try our best to make all clinical encounters an MDT approach.  
jacob matthews
over 3 years ago
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Medical Video Lectures: Anatomy Of Pharyngeal Arches (Branchial Arches) PART 1/2

Uploading ANATOMY Video lectures.Prepare for USMLE,UK,CANADIAN,AUSTRALIAN, NURSING & OTHER MEDICAL BOARD examinations around the globe with us. Understand th...  
YouTube
almost 2 years ago
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352

Abdominal Palpation Tutorial for Student Midwives

This video is to prepare you for the abdominal palpation clinical skills session.  
youtube.com
over 1 year ago
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3
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Heart Murmurs: Easy Cardiac Auscultation Tutorial: Intro Aortic Stenosis, Regurgitation (3 of 5)

Audio Flashcards to practice cardiac murmur auscultation: http://www.helphippo.com/flash/flashcards.html Cardiac murmurs for nursing and medical students to learn auscultation of abnormal heart sounds for regurgitation and stenosis of aortic, pulmonary, mitral and tricuspid valves. Please SUBSCRIBE for new videos: More cool stuff coming as we get more Hippo Helpers! Visit: http:// helphippo.com for archived videos, organized by topic/school year. Cardiac/Respiratory Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIPkjUW-piR0QD_IsxkMTRA0LxdOcwJN6 Part 1 of our introductory cardiac auscultation series at: http://youtu.be/qd1FhUJ8y7c Playlist to listen to recorded heart sounds (with HelpHippo's mnemonic notes beneath the uploader's description) is at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4A5E9A37522CB42E Visit: http://helphippo.com for archived videos, organized by topic/school year.  
HelpHippo.com
about 3 years ago
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3
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USMLE- PHARM- AMINOGLYCOSIDE ANTIBIOTICS

This is the best online medical lectures site, providing high quality medical and nursing lectures for students across the globe. Our lectures are oversimpli...  
YouTube
almost 3 years ago
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7
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A Walk Through the Use of Anesthesia

GRMC nurse anesthetist Alexzandra Anderson walks us through the process of placing a surgery patient under anesthesia.  
YouTube
over 2 years ago
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2
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HEPARIN PHARMACOLOGY- Simple to understand!

WATCH MORE PHARMACOLOGY LECTURES ON http://www.ftplectures.com. This is the best online medical lectures site, providing high quality medical and nursing lec...  
YouTube
almost 3 years ago
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4
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Medical Video Lectures: Anatomy Of Pharyngeal Arches (Branchial Arches) PART 2/2

Uploading ANATOMY Video Lectures. Prepare for USMLE,UK,CANADIAN,AUSTRALIAN, NURSING & OTHER MEDICAL BOARD examinations around the globe with us. Understand t...  
YouTube
almost 2 years ago
Preview
4
38

Arnold Chiari syndrome Saggital MRI

Prepare for USMLE,UK,CANADIAN,AUSTRALIAN, NURSING & OTHER MEDICAL BOARD examinations around the globe with us.Understand the basics, concepts and how to answ...  
youtube.com
over 1 year ago
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4
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Bedside handoffs by nurses boost patient satisfaction

Nursing experts who have studied the concept of the bedside shift-change handoff, in which the departing nurse and the nurse coming on duty meet to discuss the patient's care with each other and with the patient and the patient's family, say it helps patients feel more a part of the healing process.  
modernhealthcare.com
about 1 year ago
6f205ae1fc379ad763151fb96f3b0d57
4
613

So you want to be a medical student: READ THIS!

There are so many sources for advice out there for potential medical students. So many books, so many forums, so many careers advice people, and so many confusing and scary myths, that I thought it might be useful to just put up some simple guidelines on what is required to become a medical student and a short book list to get your started. I am now in my 5th year at university and my 4th year of actual medicine. Since getting into Medical School in 2009 I have gone back to my 6th form college in South Wales at least once a year to talk to the students who wanted to become medical or dental students, to offer some advice, answer any queries that I could. This year, I tried to to do the same sort of thing for high achieving pupils at my old comprehensive, because if you don't get the right advice young enough then you won't be able to do everything that is required of you to get into Medical school straight after your A-levels. Unfortunately, due to some new rules I wasn't allowed to. So, since I couldn't give any advice in person I thought that a blog might be the easiest alternative way to give young comprehensive students a guide in the right direction. So here goes... How to get into medical school: You must show that you have the academic capacity to cope with the huge volume of information that will try to teach you and that you have the determination/tenacity to achieve what you need to. To show this you must get good grades: a. >8A*s at GCSE + separate science modules if possible = you have to be able to do science. b. >3A’s at A-Level = Chemistry + Biology + anything else you want, as long as you can get an A. 2. You must have an understanding of what Medicine really involves: a. Work experience with a doctor – local GP, hospital work experience day, family connections, school connections – you should try to get as much as you can but don’t worry if you can’t because you can make up for it in other areas. b. Work experience with any health care professional – ask to see what a nurse/ physio/ health care assistant/ phlebotomist/ ward secretary does. Any exposure to the clinical environment will give you an insight into what happens and gives you something to talk about during personal statements and interviews. c. Caring experience – apply to help out in local care homes, in disabled people’s homes, at charities, look after younger pupils at school. All these sorts of things help to show that you are dedicated, motivated and that you want to help people. 3. Be a fully rounded human being: a. Medical schools do not want robots! They want students who are smart but who are also able to engage with the common man. So hobbies and interests are a good way of showing that you are more than just a learner. b. Playing on sports teams allows you to write about how you have developed as a person and helps you develop essential characteristics like team work, fair play, learning to follow commands, learning to think for yourself, hand-eye co-ordination etc. etc. All valuable for a career in medicine. c. Playing an instrument again shows an ability to learn and the will power to sit and perfect a skill. It also provides you with useful skills that you can use to be sociable and make friends, such as joining student choirs, orchestras and bands or just playing some tunes at a party. d. Do fun things! Medicine is hard work so you need to be able to do something that will help you relax and allow you to blow off some stress. All work and no play, makes a burnt out wreck! 4. Have a basic knowledge of: a. The news, especially the health news – Daily Telegraph health section on a Monday, BBC news etc. b. The career of a doctor – how does it work? How many years of training? What roles would you do? What exams do you need to pass? How many years at medical school? c. The GMC – know about the “Tomorrow’s Doctor” Document – search google. d. The BMA e. The Department of Health and NHS structure – know the basics! GP commissioning bodies, strategic health authorities. f. What the Medical School you are applying to specialises in, does it do lots of cancer research? Does it do dissection? Does it pride itself on the number of GPs it produces? Does it require extra entry exams or what is the interview process? These 4 points are very basic and are just a very rough guide to consider for anyone applying to become a medical student. There are many more things you can do and loads of useful little tips that you will pick up along the way. If anyone has any great tips they would like to share then please do leave them as a comment below! My final thought for this blog is; READ, READ and READ some more. I am sure that the reason I got into medical school was because I had read so many inspiring and thought provoking books, I had something to say in interviews and I had already had ideas planted in my head by the books that I could then bring up for discussion with the interview panel when asked about ethical dilemmas or where medicine is going. Plus reading books about medicine can be so inspiring that they really can push your life in a whole new direction or just give you something to chat about with friends and family. Everyone loves to chat people – how they work, why they are ill, what shapes peoples' personalities etc and these are all a part of medicine that you can read into! Book Recommendations Must reads: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trust-Me-Im-Junior-Doctor/dp/0340962054/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240729&sr=1-1&keywords=trust+me+i%27m+a+junior+doctor http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Fall-Modern-Medicine/dp/0349123756/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240763&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rise+and+fall+of+modern+medicine http://www.amazon.co.uk/Selfish-Gene-30th-Anniversary/dp/0199291152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240793&sr=1-1&keywords=the+selfish+gene http://student.bmj.com/student/student-bmj.html http://www.newscientist.com/subs/offer?pg=bdlecpyhvyhuk1306&prom=1234&gclid=CLT0tZ3Wu7gCFfLHtAodWwUAyA http://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Mistook-His-Wife/dp/B005M1NBYY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240909&sr=1-3&keywords=the+man+who+mistook+his+wife+for+a+hat http://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Surgeons-Performance-Atul-Gawande/dp/1861976577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240987&sr=1-1&keywords=better+atul+gawande http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Black-Swan-Samuel-Shem/dp/0552991228/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241124&sr=1-1&keywords=the+house+of+god+samuel+shem http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Science-Ben-Goldacre/dp/000728487X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241298&sr=1-1&keywords=bad+science+ben+goldacre Thought provokers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complications-Surgeons-Notes-Imperfect-Science/dp/1846681324/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241026&sr=1-1&keywords=atul+gawande+complications http://www.amazon.co.uk/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/1846683149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241049&sr=1-1&keywords=atul+gawande+checklist http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brave-New-World-Aldous-Huxley/dp/0099518473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241067&sr=1-1&keywords=aldous+huxley http://www.amazon.co.uk/Island-Aldous-Huxley/dp/0099477777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241093&sr=1-1&keywords=aldous+huxley+island http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mount-Misery-Samuel-Shem/dp/055277622X/ref=pd_sim_b_4 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychopath-Test-Jon-Ronson/dp/0330492276/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241180&sr=1-1&keywords=the+psychopath+test http://www.amazon.co.uk/Drugs-Without-Minimising-Harms-Illegal/dp/1906860165/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241197&sr=1-1&keywords=drugs+without+the+hot+air http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0091906814/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241222&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+win+friends+and+influence+people http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Pharma-companies-mislead-patients/dp/0007350740/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y Final Final Thought: Just go into your local book shop or library and go to the pop-science section and read the first thing that takes your interest! It will almost always give you something to talk about.  
jacob matthews
over 3 years ago
9bca585dddeebcbc8da95048f32b341d
5
76

Clinics - Making the most of it

Commencing the first clinical year is a milestone. Things will now be different as your student career steers straight into the unchartered waters of clinical medicine. New challenges and responsibilities lie ahead and not just in an academic sense. After all this is the awaited moment, the start of the apprenticeship you have so desired and laboured for. It won’t be long before these clinical years like the preclinical years before them, will seem just as distant and insular, so why not make the most of it? The first days hold so much excitation and promise and for many they deliver, however, it would be wise not to be too optimistic. I am afraid your firm head standing abreast the doors in a prophetic splaying of arms is an unlikely sight. In this new clinical environment, it is natural to be a little flummoxed. The quizzical looks of doctors and nurses as you first walk in, a sure sign of your unexpected arrival, is a recurring theme. If the wards are going to be your new hunting ground, proper introductions with the medical team are in order. This might seem like a task of Herculean proportions, particularly in large teaching hospitals. Everyone is busy. Junior doctors scuttling around the ward desks job lists in hand, the registrar probably won’t have noticed you and as luck would have it your consultant firm head is away at a conference. Perseverance during these periods of frustration is a rewarding quality. Winning over the junior doctors with some keenness will help you no end. What I mean to say is that their role in our learning as students extends further than the security of sign-off signatures a week before the end of the rotation. They will give you opportunities. Take them! Although it never feels like it at the time, being a medical student does afford some privileges. The student badge clipped to your new clinic clothes is a license to learn: to embark on undying streaks of false answers, to fail as many skills and clerkings as is required and to do so unabashed. Unfortunately, the junior doctors are not there purely for your benefit, they cannot always spare the time to directly observe a history taking or an examination, instead you must report back. With practice this becomes more of a tick box exercise: gleaning as much information and then reconfiguring it into a structured presentation. However, the performance goes unseen and unheard. I do not need to iterate the inherent dangers of this practice. Possible solutions? Well receiving immediate feedback is more obtainable on GP visits or at outpatient clinics. They provide many opportunities to test your questioning style and bedside manner. Performing under scrutiny recreates OSCE conditions. Due to time pressure and no doubt the diagnostic cogs running overtime, it is fatefully easy to miss emotional cues or derail a conversation in a way which would be deemed insensitive. Often it occurs subconsciously so take full advantage of a GP or a fellow firm mate’s presence when taking a history. Self-directed learning will take on new meaning. The expanse of clinical knowledge has a vertiginous effect. No longer is there a structured timetable of lectures as a guide; for the most part you are alone. Teaching will become a valued commodity, so no matter how sincere the promises, do not rest until the calendars are out and a mutually agreed time is settled. I would not encourage ambuscaded attacks on staff but taking the initiative to arrange dedicated tutorial time with your superiors is best started early. Consigning oneself to the library and ploughing through books might appear the obvious remedy, it has proven effective for the last 2-3 years after all. But unfortunately it can not all be learnt with bookwork. Whether it is taking a psychiatric history, venipuncture or reading a chest X-ray, these are perishable skills and only repeated and refined practice will make them become second nature. Balancing studying with time on the wards is a challenge. Unsurprisingly, after a day spent on your feet, there is wavering incentive to merely open a book. Keeping it varied will prevent staleness taking hold. Attending a different clinic, brushing up on some pathology at a post-mortem or group study sessions adds flavour to the daily routine. During the heated weeks before OSCEs, group study becomes very attractive. While it does cement clinical skills, do not be fooled. Your colleagues tend not to share the same examination findings you would encounter on an oncology ward nor the measured responses of professional patient actors. So ward time is important but little exposure to all this clinical information will be gained by assuming a watchful presence. Attending every ward round, while a laudable achievement, will not secure the knowledge. Senior members of the team operate on another plane. It is a dazzling display of speed whenever a monster list of patients comes gushing out the printer. Before you have even registered each patient’s problem(s), the management plan has been dictated and written down. There is little else to do but feed off scraps of information drawn from the junior doctors on the journey to the next bed. Of course there will be lulls, when the pace falls off and there is ample time to digest a history. Although it is comforting to have the medical notes to check your findings once the round is over, it does diminish any element of mystery. The moment a patient enters the hospital is the best time to cross paths. At this point all the work is before the medical team, your initial guesses might be as good as anyone else’s. Visiting A&E of your own accord or as part of your medical team’s on call rota is well worth the effort. Being handed the initial A&E clerking and gingerly drawing back the curtain incur a chilling sense of responsibility. Embrace it, it will solidify not only clerking skills but also put into practice the explaining of investigations or results as well as treatment options. If you are feeling keen you could present to the consultant on post-take. Experiences like this become etched in your memory because of their proactive approach. You begin to remember conditions associated with patient cases you have seen before rather than their corresponding pages in the Oxford handbook. And there is something about the small thank you by the F1 or perhaps finding your name alongside theirs on the new patient list the following morning, which rekindles your enthusiasm. To be considered part of the medical team is the ideal position and a comforting thought. Good luck. This blog post is a reproduction of an article published in the Medical Student Newspaper, Freshers 2013 issue.  
James Wong
almost 3 years ago