Saturday, October 8, 2011

Placement 3 - Week 1

Can't believe it's already my third placement. Time flies. Actually I lied...this week was pretty slow.  So I'm back in the local teaching hospital so I don't have to drive like 40-50 minutes to the peripheral hospital anymore. But day 1 of my placement was probably the worst experience I have had on placement...ever. First I found out I was placed in General Surgery....AGAIN.  Found out I was in colorectal I mean general surgery is interesting, but I'm a bit tired of it as I want to see other specialties. First year I had 2 surgical placements both in General Surgery. First placement of this year was General Surgery. Now...general surgery...again. I feel like I know loads about the GI system...and nothing about other systems.

Met my consultant in the afternoon...and only to be told I couldn't join him in endoscopy as I was in a group of 3 and only 2 people can stay in the room. My two other partners are quite keen...and jumped on the opportunity before I even started moving my slow Canadian mouth. I was a bit bummed out as it is our first time meeting the consultant and I kinda missed out on the first meeting. But then again I got to go home early as there wasn't anything else for me to do in the hospital. Also got to suck in the last of the amazing heatwave/get some colour back into me. Got home and hoped that the next day will be MUCH better as I felt like I accomplished nothing. Also felt that the nurses and doctors weren't as nice as the ones in the peripheral hospitals. Everyone seemed busy and us medical students just blended into the background/environment. It was a weird feeling. It was a bit unsettling. Kind of like: this is reality. I must've had too high of expectations as I did have a great time in the peripheral hospital as I got loads of teaching and everyone was so friendly (and the hospital wasn't as busy). It finally struck - us medical students are no one. We are of no importance as there are more important things for doctors and nurses to care about. It is a big hospital and it is very very busy. Depressing start to be honest.

Tuesday - I was determined to make my placement better as I will be on this placement for 4 weeks. I have a strong interest in Orthopaedics so I decided to go to theatre with my friend who is placed in Orthopaedics. Went in really early and I was quite content. I definitely felt less anxious and tense about the placement. I started to relax and was enjoying being in theatre. We were quizzed on the ankle and I knew how to answer the question as I know my MSK anatomy quite well. I got a sudden boost of confidence and my day was looking to be a good day. In the afternoon I went to meet my consultant to go to a really busy clinic...I think we had about 20+ patients. It was also my first time properly meeting my consultant. Managed to see a lot of PRs and unfortunately a lot of patients who have/had colorectal cancer. It seems like the surgery for colorectal cancer is quite effective especially if the cancer is a T1 cancer (early cancer).  Also learned about the different surgical procedures for colorectal cancer such as the TAEMS procedure which is apparently quite new and the major surgery which is an anterior resection.  After 4 hours...and getting the impression that our consultant doesn't particularly find his job that partner and I finally got dismissed from clinic as our consultant noticed that we were quite bored and it was also getting late. I mean my consultant seems like a really great guy. Very chill and relaxed and doesn't really care about us. Not caring about us is sometimes good...sometimes bad. He does teach a bit, but he wouldn't breathe down your neck about going to placement from 7:30am to 5pm (I do have friends who are forced to go in every day 7:30am to 5pm).

Took a day-off on Wednesday as my other 2 partner wanted to go to theatre. Thursday...can't really remember what I did....hmmm. What did I do on Thursday?! I know I went I assume I was on the wards talking to patients...I guess Thursday is my new mystery. Old age...can't even remember what I did 2 days ago. Friday....first time I went in for ward round, which was at 7:30am. I think a little bit of me died when I woke up at 6:00am to get ready. It was pitch black outside. Got to the ward to meet up with the team and was trying to stay awake. My consultant came in...did probably the fastest ward round I have experienced. It took less than an hour. Met the new registrar and he did some teaching with us and watched us do patient histories and abdominal examinations. Examined a patient with an incisional hernia. It was really interesting and I really enjoyed the teaching. It was a nice change. So I guess I ended the week on a high note. Oh and I think my consultant has came to a conclusion I'm a lazy bugger. Apparently he was on ward rounds which I didn't go to on Wednesday morning. Maybe that's why I got a surprised look from him on Friday morning. Anyways bring on a really busy next week.


  1. I always love your blog updates... There will be times in your life where you feel helpless and distraught. Then, you need to ask yourself: "who are you? What do you want to do with your life?"
    For you, as a medical school student, should find the answer to that question quite easily. The be-all-end-all motivation is your personal goal. Once you work towards that like a candle in the dark, you will reach your goal - no matter how long/hard it takes. Best wishes!

  2. M.Ahn phrased it nicely. You seem to be doctor material. Critical thinking skills are essential, and you seem to have them! I would also like to apply to the uk for medicine but I am afraid I may not be able to afford it. I am from canada btw. If you don't mind me asking what would you suggest I should turn to when it comes to financing my education. I do not come from a very wealthy family, but studying medicine is my dream. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! <3

  3. @Anonymous - Finance is difficult for international students however there are a lot of opportunities to get scholarships. Have a search around for scholarships that you can get. Also perhaps try talking to the bank for a loan? I think this is something to be discussed with your parents as they will probably know what to do.