Friday, 23 November 2012

Talking to Patients

***DISCLAIMER - i will not be talking about specific patients, their medical histories or personal stories and i will not be talking about colleagues or tutors, in this post***

(apologies for the scary disclaimer, but i've heard a few scary stories about student blogs that have been shut down in the past, so i wanted to get that out there to begin with)

this post is really just going to be a couple of thoughts and reflections i've had, now that i've interacted with a couple of patients as a medical student. i also think it'd be quite interesting to do the same kind of post at the end of med school, just to see how different they are!

my first sentiment is that patients are just normal people! we make them out to be these giant figures in the future, to be approached with caution and talked to slowly and gradually. but really, after a while, you realise that you're just having a chat with them - they stop being 'patients' and start being 'people'. and that's the way it's supposed to be, nobody sick really wants to talk to a poor baby med student quaking in their boots with a quivering voice, as that doesn't inspire confidence in us at all! that being said, we really are only having a chat with them because as much as we'd like it, we really don't know enough to do anything else.

secondly, when you start having to focus on the patient's behaviour and start learning the signs for certain things (like, certain bodily behaviours indicate pain etc), you actually start watching your own behaviour. not exactly for covering up pain and other things (hopefully you should know that even without watching yourself!) but for words that you say more often, or hand movements you make over and over. you just generally become more aware of yourself, which i think is good because the more aware of yourself you are, the more you can refine your techniques and attitudes.

finally, talking to patients who have been through the health care system, or maybe are still in the process of it, and hearing their thoughts and feelings about the procedures they've undergone, makes you suddenly so much more aware of the role doctors and medical students - yes, even the baby ones like myself - play in people's minds, and the types of roles we fill in society. i know the whole idea of the 'Doctor' people used to think of in society is gradually being replaced by a more modern one, but especially in elderly people, they still have certain expectations of us and how we act as members of society. it really is a privileged position to be in.

yours, ever so thoughtfully,

Eliza xxx

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Sunday

so here we have it - the last day of my week! i'm almost going to miss having to write a chronicle of my day next week :) although there's always 5 more years for being able to do this!

8:30am - woke up, got washed and dressed. headed up for breakfast, bleary eyed and hungry.

9:30am - suitably caffeinated, i get down to work. finish off the rest of my independent work and submit it, then start working on my list of learning objectives again. i use these when i revise, alongside the recommended reading - accompanied by multiple cups of strong tea.

12:00pm - lunch! roast pork - not quite the same as home though :( a proper roast is definitely something i'm looking forward to having when i go home!

1:30pm - get back to work. finally finish off my learning objectives and reading lists. go and print off everything i'll need (lecture handouts and worksheets) for the next week, from the communal printer in one of the study rooms.

5:00pm - was about to have a shower when the fire alarm goes off. grrr. this must be the sixth fire alarm we've had so far, including two in the same night!

5:20pm - get back in from the freezing cold, jump in the shower. terrified that it will go off again, i make it a very fast shower! get changed into my PJs and blow dry my hair.

6:00pm - dinner time! Heinz chicken and dumpling stew, and a roll. pretty much the same meal as last night, but hey, i'm a creature of habit. hung about for a while afterwards to catch up with some friends.

7:00pm - sat in a friend's room, watched A Very Potter Musical on youtube, and then Breaking Dawn part 1. we like movies and procrastination. no wine or hot chocolate this time though - just rich tea biscuits!

11:30pm - writing this blog post, then will pack my bag for tomorrow, and go to bed.

and that, friends, is what happened to me this week :)

now - i need suggestions for posts you would like to see! comment below please :)

until next time,

Eliza xxx

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Saturday

i've debated all week long whether or not to carry this on onto the weekend, but i've decided i shall, as after all, it is part of my week!

11:00am - wake up, get washed and dressed. overslept, but on saturdays, sleep is way more important than breakfast!

make a cup of tea and eat a cookie in place of breakfast.

catch up on the news, gossip from the night before, and write a to do list for today.

12:00pm - lunch! man i love sweet potato fries :)

1:00pm - start working - catch up on writing up lecture notes, find out what reading i have to do for the next week, sort out revision schedule for the next couple of days as i have a formative exam on tuesday.

4:00pm - my halls of residence is going carolling this year, so i went to our first practice today! was rather fun, sang 'o come all ye faithful' which is one of my favourite carols

5:00pm - went to mass (normally would go with a friend but she went home for the weekend) - i take comfort in my faith, it's quite a personal thing for me - i like to be able to have that release from the rest of my life to take a break and go to mass, even sing a few hymns.

stop by tesco on the way back to pick up some stuff for dinner as we have to cook for ourselves on the weekends for dinner, and to buy some more instant coffee and a pint of milk.

6:30pm - dinner! Heinz beef stew with dumplings, and a roll. pretty typical meal for me to be honest. i love to cook, but there's not much space or much time to make a proper meal.

8:00pm - watch chitty chitty bang bang in a friends room, drinking hot chocolate with mini marshmallows (yes, we watched loads of films this week!) and then just messed around watching random programmes for a while.

12:00am - writing this blog post, contemplating what i will be doing tomorrow, and thinking of going to bed.

not a very productive day today, but ahh well.

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Friday, 9 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Friday

hey there! and onwards onto my day -

8:00am - woke up, got dressed (overslept - oops! so it was a rushed affair and meant i wasn't wearing the most beautifully put together outfit, to say the least)

9:00am - lab practical begins, on resting membrane potential - a whole load of ions and terms i don't quite understand. will have to go back over those notes sometime, when i'm not exhuasted.

11:00am - went and did some independent research for a piece of work we were set on the correct disposal of sharps. wasn't all that successful as there were classes going on in the rooms i wanted to use.

12:30pm - lunch time! fish and chips, tried mushy peas again, but i still don't like them - it's like eating flavourless baby food!!

2:00pm - second practical begins, this time a computer based practical, on medical literature searching and referencing. not all that interesting, but information we need to know in the long run.

3:30pm - get home from the practical. have a shower because i missed my morning one as i woke up late, and nommed on some cookies my parents sent me in a parcel earlier this week. watched some programmes on iplayer to waste yet more time.

5:30pm - dinner time! its really early, but i've been eating at this time for so long now, i get hungry at this time - they've trained me!

7:00pm - writing this blog post, finishing off and submitting a couple pieces of work, and then going to watch Moulin Rouge with a glass of wine with friends! rather excited as its my first time ever watching it, and i've been told it's really good :)

by this time of the week i'm normally really really tired, and i'm not sure why, as if you read through my week, i just spend my time either wasting time on the internet, or typing up notes! i do manage to do a couple of interesting things on the weekend though, promise :D

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Thursday

ahhh it's this time of day again! here's what i did today -

7:30am - woke up, got washed and dressed in old clothes as i had dissection today and the smell goes into your clothes and never comes out.

made sure i had printed out all the lecture slides and practical instructions (i hadn't)

8:00am - went up for breakfast, made sure i ate a decent amount so i would have enough energy for the morning ahead.

9:00am - first lecture of the day on public health medicine. found it actually quite interesting, bit too many words for that time of the morning though :P

10:00am - second lecture, on the public's perception and use of the health services. not as interesting as the lecture beforehand, and i didn't have the slides so i had to write everything down by hand.

11:00am - headed to the private study area to print out the notes and the practical instructions. then spent the rest of the time going through the instructions and making sure i had answered their questions so i knew what was going to happen in dissection

12:00pm - dissection - not actually started proper dissection yet, so we were using prosections, on the nervous system and the endocrine system. actually love learning about the brain but got a bit muddled up when it came to the endocrine system (oh dear!)

1:20pm - dissection ran over time, so i had to quickly dash across to my halls and grab a sandwich and some salad for lunch before they cleared everything away. luckily, i received a care package from my parents today, containing cookies and other treats, so lunch wasn't all bad!

2:30pm - had a shower to get the smell of the dissection room out of my hair and put on clean clothes (they keep telling me i'll get used to the smell, but it's been 8 weeks and i still haven't!)

watched random youtube clips and caught up on emails and post until dinner, which was alright but nothing remarkable.

7:00pm - ended up in a friends room watching Mean Girls and eating wine gums. hey - everybody needs to relax sometimes, and its an awesome movie!

9:30pm - writing this blog post, then will do a couple of independent study pieces we were set for this week, handwrite a reply to a letter i received a while back, and then go to bed.

probably one of the more medically sounding days i've had this week - one which you would expect a med student to have, although i have found that my preconceptions of the average day a medical student would have are quite different from the reality!

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Wednesday

ohhh hello! fancy seeing you there - here's what i did today:

7:30am - wake up, get washed and dressed.

hurriedly dash around my room trying to clean it as the cleaner comes today and she always tells me off for having a messy room!

wander off for breakfast with lots of strong coffee as i stayed up late last night to watch some of the election stuff.

11:00am - first lecture of the day, on cell membranes, continuing where we left off from yesterday. the first bit of med school seems to be pretty bio heavy.

12:00am - tiny break for more coffee, and then straight into our second lecture, also on cell membranes (there's a lot to know!) which finished a tiny bit early so we weren't too late for lunch!

2:00pm - start studying, firstly typing up the two lectures in the morning, and then going over some independent work we were set this week.

5:30pm - dinner time!

7:00pm - sat in a friend's room eating chocolate and chatting about life.

which brings us to...

8:00pm - writing this blog post and intending to study until i feel reasonably exhausted, watch an episode of greys, maybe knit a little and then go to bed.

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Tuesday

hey y'all, big day today - presidential election! anyways, on we go with my day.

7:30am - woke up, got washed and dressed - casual clothes since i only had lectures today.

had a bit of a flick through the lecture notes just to see what i'd be doing.

8:00am - went and had breakfast. thought i'd change it up a bit and had banana and nutella on toast (not that you really needed or wanted to know that!)

9:00am - first lecture of the day begins, on cell physiology. basically the same material from A2 biology, with a couple of more complex ideas thrown in - interesting enough, but not really my favourite topic.

10:00am - headed over to the student study area with a coffee, and studied for a couple hours on my own, to catch up and review the topics we covered last week. i find it easier to study at the med school than in my room in halls as there are fewer distractions, and its nice to get out of the place whenever i can!

12:30pm - finished studying, went and had lunch. pizza today! yumyumyum

3:00pm - second and final lecture of the day, on embryology, continuing where we left off yesterday. everything is brand new to us, which makes for a nice change from the cell biology lectures.

4:00pm - watched an episode of grey's anatomy (yes, i am addicted!), caught up on my emails and browsed the internet for a while - procrastination is an evil beast

5:30pm - had dinner - toad in the hole with mash and veg (although my hall's idea of nice toad in the hole is not the same as my idea of nice toad in the hole!) and caught up on the daily gossip with friends.

7:00pm - studying again - mainly typing up notes from last week, but i'm also working on a list of points to revise from when exam time comes around at the end of the semester, so i'll add to that a bit as well i think.

10:00pm - episode of grey's and then bed (ohhh what an exciting life i lead)

today was a strangely relaxed day - usually tuesday is pretty rushed, but i welcomed the change anyway :)

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Monday, 5 November 2012

A Week in the Life of a First Year Medical Student - Monday

now i don't know about you, but i love learning about what people do day to day (i guess im just nosy like that!) so i thought i'd give you a peek at what my general life is like.

my timetable changes weekly, but this is roughly what i have every week.

7:30am - wake up, get washed, put on smart work clothes as we have clinical skills teaching today and we have to dress according to NHS guidelines.

had a quick flick through the lecture slides for today to give myself an idea of what will be going on.

8:00am - go up for breakfast (i'm in catered accommodation so i have strict meal times)

come back, get my bag ready for the day.

9:00am - first lecture begins on cell membranes, only slightly more complicated than what we covered in A Level biology, but interesting nonetheless.

10:00am - second lecture - an introduction to embryology, seems like a cool but complicated subject.

11:00am - clinical skills teaching - learnt basic clinical skills such as taking blood glucose, temperature, urinalysis etc. was really fun (well, except for the blood glucose bit, which hurt!)

12:00am - go and check on my partner and my petri dishes from an experiment we conducted last week - took some photos to add to the report i have to hand in.

12:30pm - lunchtime! brie sandwich with salad and cheesecake for dessert. yummy! not a big fan of hot lunches if i'm honest, i tend to go for a salad or a sandwich most days.

3:00pm - third and last lecture of the day on evidence based medicine. interesting but not really new information, all stuff that i kind of new beforehand, but it was still good to go through again.

5:00pm - stayed on at the med school to catch up on some work, and then had to go to a training session for a special dinner i'll be helping out with in the near future.

6:00pm - dinner! chicken stuffed with haggis, and veggies, with plum cobbler for dessert. two desserts in one day!! really shouldn't do that - i'll try and be more healthy next time, honest!

7:00pm - start typing up notes, mainly from last week's lectures - it's always good to go over the material again in your own free time, plus i like having a digital copy of them so i don't have to carry around my files when i need them.

10:30pm - watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy in bed, and then sleep. yes, i know i go to bed early, but otherwise i'm really tired and i can't concentrate the next day, plus - i loooove sleep! :)

today happens to be my busiest day of the week (three lectures and a clinical skills session) although usually it's tuesday that is.

i'm now thinking i might do another 'week in the life' next semester, depending on whether my timetable changes? let me know if you'd like to see it :)

until tomorrow,

Eliza xxx

Friday, 2 November 2012

5 Things That Grind My Gears During Lectures

forgive me, for i am about to have a bit of a moan...

People who chat during the whole lecture
i'm not talking a mumble to your neighbour if you don't understand something, i'm talking about a full blown conversation right the way through. What's the point of coming to the lecture if you aren't going to listen, and why do you think it's okay to stop others being able to listen to the lecturer? i don't want to know what hijinks you were up to last night when i'm trying to learn anatomy!

People with really bright computer screens
unlike many people, i don't mind the sound of people typing in a lecture theatre, despite me sticking to writing notes by hand and then typing them up. however, it can be both painful to my eyes (and my hangover!) and a great distraction if i'm sitting behind somebody with their screen brightness as high as it can go. every little move you do catches my eye, it's really hard to ignore!

When I don't have the lecture slides printed out
now, this is a little gripe at myself. normally, i'll print out everything i need for the week on sunday evening, and file it away, ready to be used in the coming week. sometimes however, i do forget, and then i'm left in the lecture theatre frantically trying to write down everything because i can't just annotate the slides. this makes for a painful hand and a confuzzled mind!

People who bring in smelly food
it's not that i hate the smell, and it's not even that it breaks the rule of no food - i don't like it because it makes me really hungry too! if somebody sits next to me with a bacon sandwich or a cup of coffee, and that smell wafts over to me, you can bet my stomach will be growling for the rest of the lecture, and i will have to go and buy something to eat between lectures! of course, i don't blame them for eating yummy food, i blame myself for being so open to suggestion :)

When its a lovely day outside
i can see outside when i'm sitting in the lecture theatre, and as i'm sure you know, lovely days are few and far between in scotland! so, when its a lovely sunny day, with clear blue skies and maybe some crisp frost on the grass, as much as i love my course and its content, i really want to get out and go for a walk to take advantage of the weather!

see, that wasn't so bad was it? :P

until next time,

Eliza xxx