Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A Little Dilemma

At my medical school, we learn clinical skills from year one. This year, I have so far been taught to take blood from patients and to cannulate them. However, I was taught to do these on a plastic arm. Those of you who are familiar with these "practice arms" will know that they just don't feel like a real vein on a real arm on a real person. 

My dilemma is this: However much you practice on a fake arm, it doesn't feel anything like the real thing. Cannulating your first patient, or performing your first venepuncture is absolutely terrifying and if you've never done it on a real person before, the chances are you might not manage it. If a patient asks you whether you've done it before, what do you say? "Yes, but not on a real person"? We're not allowed to practise on each other, and so we get no practice on real arms before we do it on real patients. I want to pose two questions to you.

  1. If a patient asks you "Have you done this before?" and you've only done it on a plastic arm, what would you say?
  2. Do you think medical students should be allowed to practise on each other, and what is your reasoning behind your answer?

I'd love to know what you think!! Leave me your comments and I'll try to answer them all.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Why Emergency Medicine?

Emergency medicine is really popular as a career choice. Mostly because a lot of medical students appear to have the misguided idea that A&E is all trauma and cardiac arrests and life saving.A proper adrenaline fuelled career. It might surprise you to know that medicine wasn't actually my first choice of career. I wanted to be a paramedic. I hate being in one place, I like the challenge of not knowing what I'm going to see next, and I've dealt with my fair share of drunk people whilst first aiding at concerts. That seemed my ideal career, however, I was encouraged to aim higher academically so I applied for medicine. By some miracle, I got two offers and accepted my place at UEA. By some other miracle, I then got the grades to actually start studying medicine.

So far we've studied rheumatology and orthopaedics, and haematology and dermatology. I loved orthopaedics but it involved far too much time in theatres for my liking. I found rheumatology and haematology very interesting but not practical enough. As for dermatology, I will say no more than Yuk. At the moment I'm about to start a cardiology placement, including vascular surgery and stroke medicine. I find cardiology highly interesting, but the long term management and surgery doesn't interest me as much as the immediate issues cardiac conditions can present. I like to live in the here and now and think on my feet.

So, in answer to the question, Why Emergency Medicine? Because I honestly can't see myself doing anything else. I love the thrill of not knowing what's coming next. I like management of simple conditions as well as complex cases. I like the here and now and  I like to see what I do making a visible difference to the patient if it's possible. I work well in a team, I'll happily pitch in with the mess and vomit and lifting and carrying, and I make a good round of cups of tea at the end of a busy shift. I guess I just can't see myself doing anything else and I really don't see that changing. I'm determined to get to where I want and to be good at it. 

Even if that means living in the library and having no social life for the next three and half years...

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ill. Again.

For those of you who know me, I have the world's worst immune system. Not a quality you want in a possible future doctor, and in an auxiliary nurse I know. I've been ill on and off for the last week, until tonight when I felt absolutely horrific and was in huge amounts of pain. I'm not brilliant at looking after myself when I'm stressed and this time I'm no different, but this time, I've had a lot more to think about, and there are people I've needed and wanted to look out for, so in order to do that, I ignored my illness.

Turns out, I'm bloody unlucky anyway. I have a chest infection and a kidney infection. Double whammy. What joy!! Anywho..... bedtime. I feel like crap.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

An Introduction

Hi. I'm Faye. I'm a second year student based in Norfolk, and am an Auxiliary Nurse/Healthcare Assistant in one of the hospitals I train in. My ambition is to become a consultant in Emergency Medicine, followed by becoming a Doctor on a HEMS aircraft. I'm stubborn and opinionated but I care a hell of a lot. I work hard (or at least, I like to think I do) and I am determined to achieve my ambition.

This blog is my third, having previously had 2 under pseudonyms. This time, I intend to be completely honest about everything I write. I will still change identities to protect the confidentiality of any patients I may mention, but other than that I intend to keep everything as near to the truth as possible.

This blog will be my place to rant and moan, discuss things, write down what I'm thinking and feeling, what I've done, what I'm doing and what I intend to do and am going to do. It's primarily for me, but feel free to read. I like sharing with people. I've seen first hand the power of the internet and what it can do for people, and believe it is a very powerful tool.

Feel free to join in with anything I discuss, and feel free to send me any requests for posts. I won't offer medical advice, I'm not trained to do that yet, but I am happy to offer advice on getting into Medical School. After all, I didn't go through it that long ago.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy what's to come.

Faye x