Thursday, April 12, 2012


Everyone has his or her own expectations for certain things. In my case: I had my own expectations for this placement (Obs & Gynae). Before I even started this new year and embarked on my specialty placements, I had already made up my mind about some of the specialties. And I have once again been proven wrong and again shouldn't be making judgments before even starting a specialty. You would think I would learn by now not to judge so early. Before I started O&G I constantly told myself that it is going to be my worst placement ever and I will truly hate it. I was not looking forward to it. I even marked it on my calendar as: "Ugh." To make things short, I had extremely low expectations for O&G. And you know what, sometimes I like being proven wrong. Don't get me wrong I have respect for the specialty, it just never clicked with me. You get this whole: "Awkwardddd women's's going to be weeeirdddd!". I think in general anything that deals with bits downstairs is a whole taboo subject.

So I went back to my archives and read up on my blog post that I typed up before starting the specialty:
"My next placement is Obstetric and Gynaecology. I'm actually really scared for this as I don't really know what to expect as well. Should be interesting as I'll definitely be able to go to theatre (YES!); however, it'll be dealing with quite a sensitive subject so I'll definitely need to change from being playful in Paeds to professional for this specialty. Hopefully I'll be able to compose myself and try to enjoy this specialty as much as I can. First I'll need to go to a week of lectures before commencing my placement. I much rather having lectures first before going to placement as at least I'll have some basic knowledge prior to going to the hospital so I won't look like an idiot in front of the doctors. I also hope I'll have a really nice/easy going/chill supervisor. My last supervisor on paediatrics was very easy-going, which made the placement much more enjoyable. Crossing my fingers that I'll be just as lucky this time with Obs+Gyn. Another 7 weeks of Obs+Gyn and then Easter Holiday! I can't wait for holiday. To be honest...I kinda need one now!"
I really can't blame myself for being scared as it is a sensitive subject, but in terms of changing my behaviour from playful to professional was something I was a bit unsure about as I'm naturally a "happy-go-lucky" so I was a bit nervous for that change. Thinking back through the last few weeks, I haven't had so much fun on placement. Even more fun than my paediatric placement. Yes I have to be professional and build a good rapport with patients to talk about more sensitive things, but I realized that if I'm having a good time, the rapport comes naturally and you as a person become a bit more easier to approach and get along with. In paeds I was told that it was "written all over me" that I was not enjoying my placement. For this placement, yes I went in knowing I'll hate it, but I really wanted to make sure that I didn't make it obvious that I'm not enjoying the attachment. Because I went in with such low expectations I was open for anything and had little expectations. This actually helped me be a bit more welcome to anything and I think a lot of the staff and my supervisor could see that. I was even told by the nurses that some of the patients thought I was a "breath of fresh air" as I was always smiling on the wards and just enjoying my time. A patient told me that most of the staff look bored, but I look interested and just trying to have fun. Because in my last placement in paeds I looked super bored, it was probably the main reason it took me a bit longer to get to know the staff and interact with the patients.

And I can't really call it luck anymore with getting a nice/easy going/chill supervisor. I've said it before, but at the end of the day, a consultant/supervisor is a person as well. Yes they too have expectations for me and I try to meet their expectations, but because they are also people, you can certainly have some good banter with them. I got to know my supervisor and probably saw my supervisor the most out of the rest of my group so I guess he got to know me better than the others. Definitely made the attachment more enjoyable as I could feel that my supervisor genuinely cared about my learning and it's also nice to get to know your supervisor as it'll keep my blood pressure and heart rate from shooting through the roof whenever I see him. In some placements I would purposely avoid my supervisor just to avoid getting told off/being quizzed. For this placement, I didn't mind bumping into my supervisor on the ward or even in the corridors. I think we also had a "mutual understanding". He knew what my personality is like and what sort of student I am so he didn't form unrealistic expectations for me so that put me at ease and allowed me to feel comfortable in the hospital.  Again it is a two-way process. I know when my supervisor didn't want to see me and I guess I'm fairly good at telling when I can be cracking jokes. I guess it is a skill I definitely cherish as like I said I'm a "happy-go-lucky" and a bit of a prankster/joker who is quite cheeky as I definitely need to know where to draw my line with each person.

All in all, I think this attachment has worked out really well and essentially exceeded my expectations. I have definitely gained a heck lot more respect for the specialty and it has definitely changed my view on the specialty. It really ain't that bad at the end of the day. The doctors are also pretty cool people as well so it was good. The hospital was great as well and was really good at making sure medical students are learning and interacting. Following a doctor around is one thing, but being able to assist and do things is a whole other ball game that makes your attachment so much better. This could be the very last time I'll be doing O&G for the rest of my career, but hey if I do get a rotation in it in the future, I won't mind doing it again. Hate to say this, but this is easily the best placement I have ever had so far. Who would've thought I would be saying this 7 weeks later. I wish all my placements can be this good. Now I'm scared about my future attachments as this placement has set the bar so high. How can I go back to just following a doctor around? How can I go back to standing in theatre not scrubbed in and peering over the surgeon's shoulder? Will I get along with my next supervisor how I got along with my supervisor now? What are my expectations for my next placements now?

Thank you for proving me wrong and giving me the best 7 weeks of my medical degree. What a placement. Damn. Can't believe it is over. The one time I am dreading for the end of a placement. I guess one good thing about this is that I finally get a much needed 3 week holiday.

Side note: Will be on holiday for the next 3 weeks and I, most likely, will not be posting as I really need a break. Sorry! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, seriously? You actually ENJOYED your O&G placement? You're not a chick, are you? (hurhur. Wait, are you? Cos they generally have a MUCH easier time on O&G. MUCH.)

    Anyhoos, glad to find another med student blog! Adding you to my blogroll. Hope you don't mind the heading I've given you ;)