So I have completed my first week of placement for Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Initial impressions? Fairly interesting. It's nice to see adult patients again. When I took my first patient history on this attachment, it was weird being able to speak directly to the patient and receiving specific information. Also in Obstetrics (pregnant women), you can't really call these people 'patients' as most of them are healthy and essentially are only in hospital to give birth. It's quite a nice change of environment from seeing ill children. In Gynaecology, one has to be quite professional as this specialty deals with quite sensitive things. You have to ask personal questions and you really need to gain the trust of your patients in order to get such personal/sensitive information. Again a huge contrast from Paediatrics as I have to put on a "fun" attitude when approaching children; however, with gynaecological patients, I have to be composed and essentially act professionally. It is a nice change and I haven't found the transition too difficult...yet. We'll see in the next few weeks.
Again I am in a peripheral hospital, but this hospital isn't actually that far away. For me, it is actually closer than the central hospital so I'm not complaining. It's great to be in a hospital which has a good reputation for teaching. They pride themselves in teaching and on day 1 it was very noticeable. The supervisor and secretary was very organized and were expecting us. We felt very welcomed and we received our schedule for the next 6 weeks! I was not expecting a schedule as in my previous attachment everything was done ad hoc and we received little guidance. Huge difference for this attachment and it was definitely a change I welcomed. It was nice knowing what you will be doing in the next few weeks and I could actually plan my life as I will know when I will be free and I can prepare ahead of time for clinics/teaching.
On top of that, I have come to realize how patient some people are. I went onto the wards to help out and was given the task of clerking in 2 new patients. These 2 patients have not seen anyone yet, so I was excited to go talk to them. The first patient I saw was having severe pain and to my surprise, she had been waiting to be seen for 4.5 hours! Talk about patience! I would've left ages ago and I found it quite ridiculous someone in so much pain has been waiting for so long! After taking the patient history, I realized this patient was in a lot of pain and a doctor had to see her soon. In addition to that, the patient was not impressed with the care so far (not surprised) so I quickly went to go get a senior doctor. It was found that she had surgery a week ago and the stitches were infected and some of it has come away. This patient was promptly admitted to the ward and was finally given stronger pain killers and a surgeon was called to review the case.
Then I went to go talk to my next patient...who actually arrived earlier than the last patient I saw. She had been waiting for 5 hours and I felt really bad for her. She had come to A+E the day before and due to the long wait she left and decided to come to the ward the next day. Because the ward was fairly busy, no one has really seen her and again I was the first person to see her. This could of easily been the longest history I had ever taken. After introducing myself I asked the standard question: "What brings you to hospital today?". This patient went on and on with a very extensive history of her presenting complaint and I was overwhelmed with information. She did not stop talking for a good 10-15 minutes and I was completely lost. I slowly had to work my way back through her history to get a more clear idea what was wrong and this clerking felt like it took ages. It didn't help that this lady's first language was not English so I had to word my questions differently and I had to try and figure out some of her medical conditions as she didn't know the names. It was the few times I actually struggled taking a patient history and this is the first time where there was a bit of a language barrier between the patient and I. It was a good challenge and it was new experience. It definitely taught me to be patient and to take things one by one. Luckily the patient was patient with me as we worked our way through the problem and her history and after 40 minutes I finally got through the history. Mind you...it usually takes me 10-15 minutes to get a full patient history. After presenting the history to a doctor I had to leave so unfortunately I could not follow up with the patient. When I came in the next day she wasn't on the ward list so I assume she didn't need to be admitted to hospital, which I guess is good news.
All in all...interesting week. It was an introductory week so it was quite light and I took things slowly as I found my bearings around the hospital. Next week is my theatre week so lots of surgeries! I can't wait!