What a shock to the brain. I've tried my best to prepare myself for my next attachment in General Practice....and actually had very little expectations. My main fear prior to starting my attachment was the prospect of just sitting in the corner of a clinic from 9-5pm and not really do anything practical/talk to any patients. I have never had a rotation in GP before so I am obviously out of my element. I have always been in a hospital and there are a lot of advantages of being in a hospital such as if you don't find your attachment particularly interesting/useful - you can always go to another ward/department and there will surely be someone who will be willing to teach. The problem with GP is that you are stuck in the same building and there is no where to run. I am a type of medical student who likes to venture off to find more interesting things if I find myself getting very bored. There is a sense of "freedom" in a hospital as you aren't bound to a single area for the whole day. It is seen to be acceptable for us to roam to other wards to learn about different things while we are in the hospital so no one would really notice you not being on your assigned ward (unless there is scheduled teaching). In terms of GP, it is VERY obvious if I do not turn up as I am the only student in the practice and the GPs who I am attached to can see on their own schedules that they should have me, the student, in clinic with them. Very difficult to escape.
So I had a short week...had 2 days of lecture and 2 days on placement + 1 day off. Despite only being in the GP practice for only 2 days...it still has managed to knock my motivation completely over. My last attachment in orthopaedics probably was the highlight of my degree and my motivation to work was at an all-time high. I could wake up for early morning meetings. I rarely found it boring. Just everything clicked. I was truly happy. I was hoping all the happiness and motivation I managed to build up in my orthopaedics attachment will get me through GP. Wrong. In 1 week....my motivation level is at an all-time low. I am not interested in doing anything. Can't wake up in the morning. Don't feel like doing any work. Do not feel like participating. According to my friends, I am in a horrible mood. I am actually really low at the moment. On my first day I walked in with a very open mind and told myself it will be a good change as I'll get to see various different type of conditions and get to relax a bit more.
I will certainly not dispute that GPs see a lot of different things, and actually props to them for being such patient people. Some of the patients who come through the doors really....erm....there are no words to describe it. GPs are given 10 minutes per patient...but some patients come through the door expecting to get 30 minutes and talk about everything and anything. I can obviously tell in between patients that GPs get frustrated and they have to put on a mask whenever another patient comes through the door. As a student (who is sitting in a corner), it's just painful. If the GP finds it frustrating and boring to constantly have to reassure and listen to life stories...think about the poor student sitting in the corner who can't do anything but sit and watch. There is only so much I can learn by sitting and listening. I learned from my last placement that you won't learn anything until someone pushes you into the deep end of the pool. I was very hesitant in my first week of orthopaedics to go see new patients on my own as I had never done that before...but very quickly I found it very useful and eventually became quite good with taking patient histories. I don't think you can learn communication skills by just observing. It is something you have to learn by experience and I think that by making your student sit in the corner and listen is not very productive/a good way for he/she to learn.
I personally think that medical students can actually be very useful if used correctly. At the moment I feel like an old piece of furniture which isn't being used. I literally just sit there and watch. I don't even get to interact with the patient. I just try my best to not fall asleep and smile. I don't want to look not interested in what GPs do so I have to put on a face. I was so bored in my morning clinic today that I was desperate enough to offer to get things for the GP or make him a cup of coffee/tea, but nope...was told everything is fine and to just sit there. I haven't been so frustrated with a placement in a long time. I mean paediatrics wasn't my most favourite placement....but at least I was in a hospital where I was given the freedom to walk around and go to other wards...go see other things. I feel trapped at the moment. How am I going to survive next week. I don't get how I'll stay sane by the end of this attachment. All I want to do now is just sleep the day away. Props to people who want to be a GP...don't think I have the patience/tolerance to be one. Need to desperately find a way this weekend to pick myself back up or else I won't be able to bring myself in to the practice on Monday.