You can hardly call this my "Ward Week" as I probably spent more time in clinics than on the ward. This week also marks my last timetabled week of my placement and I have been seriously trying my best to enjoy every day of it as there is a bit more flexibility with my week.
Spent Monday morning in Gynae clinic. I managed to see a lot of prolapses such as cystoceles (proplapse of the bladder). Luckily the consultant has gotten to know me as I've been in a few of his clinics with him so I got to do a vaginal examination on almost every patient. It was interesting to feel a prolapse as it is definitely very different and then feel the difference when a shelf/pessary is inserted as a temporary treatment for the prolapse. Patients with cystoceles tend to classically present with a "dragging" feeling down below which becomes quite uncomfortable as the day progresses. There is also a "heavy" feeling, which again gets worse as the day progresses especially when stood up for a long time. Some of these patients also present with urinary symptoms such as urinary frequency and hesitancy. I think by coincidence these patients also present with some form of urinary incontinence as well. Usually elderly women would not be offered a surgical repair where stitches will be placed to reinforce the anterior wall of the vagina (where the bladder prolapses through) as these patients are usually unsuitable to go under anaesthesia. By the looks of it, most of the women are fine with the pessary and it seems to sort out their problems quite well.
Then I wandered onto the wards with one main goal in my mind: Take as many gynae patient histories as possible. Why so keen? This is because my assessment is taking place the following day. Essentially we are required to take a full patient history with an assessor sitting alongside. This assessment either makes or breaks me. If I fail, I would obviously have to resit the assessment which would go down on my records that I had 1 failed attempt. If I fail the second time, then I will have to repeat the entire 7 week placement all over again. I mean I'm having a good time on this placement, but if you asked me to do another 7 weeks, it might be a bit of an overkill. Anyways I took about 4 patient histories in the afternoon and had a good time talking to patients. It's nice to see patients enjoying talking to me as I guess for them it is better than sitting in silence and day dreaming as the hospital is pretty boring in general.
So I had my assessment...and oddly enough...I wasn't too nervous for it. Actually I was so calm it was worrying. I was struggling to take the assessment seriously as before I went in to take the patient history I was chatting away with my colleagues (well I did the talking...they just listened as they all looked very nervous). I kept telling myself to take this assessment seriously but I struggled. I was fairly annoyed with myself, but at the same time - if I'm in a good mood I tend to take better patient histories and form much better rapport with the patients, which is key for the assessment. Luckily, my patient wasn't too complicated (vaginal hysterectomy and anterior wall repair). I finished my history quite quickly and I thought I did quite well. Didn't have any difficulties whatsoever. Huge contrast from my last placement (paediatrics) assessment. In my last placement I was properly pooping myself prior to my assessment and I was dead scared. I was much more confident for this gynae assessment - night and day in terms of confidence between my last placement assessment and this one. My assessor had no difficulties in passing me and even gave me an "above average" mark which I was quite chuffed about. I was quite proud of myself as I was only expecting a "meets expectation" as my supervisor is known to be quite strict with marking.
Since my next assessment isn't until next week, I knew I can relax for a bit and return to enjoying my placement. Oddly enough I thought I was going to be quite bored on the wards as there isn't much a medical student can do on the wards, but I was actually quite productive on the wards. The doctors were all really welcoming and actually allowed me to write in the medical notes and sign off on them (of course the doctors reviewed and counter-signed my notes). I also got to clerk in a few patients, which is always interesting. It's weird seeing how seriously some of the patients treat me. I mean at the end of the day I'm just a medical student, but these patients really take everything I say seriously and show a lot of respect. It's quite nice to not be treated as a joke and it definitely makes me feel much more responsible.
Because my next assessment is on obstetrics and I haven't had much exposure to it on the wards, I decided to spend my day on the obstetrics ward and practice my obstetrics examination skills. And jeez....I suck at obstetrics examination. I swear I cannot feel a thing. In our assessment I'm supposed to be able to tell the position of the baby, the engagement of the head, the lie, etc. I feel like my hands are dead stubborn as I swear the bum of the baby feels the same as the head! Yes I know one side is flat and the other is round like a ball, but at the same time I'm too scared to palpate deeply in fear of hurting the mother. I definitely need to get more confident in doing this examination or else I will fail my final assessment. Not looking good. I thought I could get away with just a full day of practice, but I definitely need to go back to the obstetrics ward next week to examine more pregnant women. I think I did leave a good impression with the midwives as they seemed keen to have me around and that I am welcomed to come back next week to practice some more.
1 more week until holiday...well not even. Technically only 2.5 more days of placement left as I have a half day next Thursday (and Monday is a bank holiday and I get Friday off). Can't believe it's already been 7 weeks. I can still remember my very first lecture for O&G like it was just yesterday. This placement seriously went by way too fast...and I'm having such a good time. Argh.