Oh how much I looked forward to typing the title to this post. It could have easily been the least brain stimulating placement I have yet to have. Not only that, I couldn't go make myself useful elsewhere unlike being in the hospital. Looking back on the last 6 weeks, it was definitely a struggle and a challenge. It was mentally draining as it was just so much harder to get the motivation to work. After throwing my arms in the air when stepping out the door of the practice...I realized I have another GP placement next year. Joy. BUT, I know it'll be more useful as I'll have my own surgery and get to see my own patients. This placement literally has redefined work experience. It was 20 days, 10 hours/day of work experience.
Also in other news - crisis averted with all the deadlines as you would remember from my "Walls Closing In" post.
1 report - completed and submitted.
1 audit report - completed awaiting for submission.
1 audit poster - 90% complete.
1 audit abstract - completed and awaiting for submission.
Cannot feel any more satisfied and proud of myself managing to get everything done in time. I think it has been a long time since I was really sure I was not going to make the deadlines. Miracles do happen. Actually it's more like: Efficient...and very late and long nights...
Oddly enough, in my final week of GP placement, I saw the most interesting case. It was a case of a man with an end-stage disease and the GP needed to start the palliative care pathway with him. This man is quite young (40 years old). Initially when I heard about his medical history, I did not know how old is he. In my mind I imagined him to be an elderly man. Surprisingly when I went to go meet the patient, he looked frail and skinny, but young. What really struck me was that he also has two very young children (ages 8 and 3). Unfortunately, the patient has not really told his children what is wrong with him. They are aware that their father is ill, but do not know the extent of his illness. With his condition, no one really knows how many more years he will live. His condition has been progressively getting worse and the GP told the patient and his wife that there would be one day where he does a nose dive and his health severely deteriorates. We discussed the various options for support and care. In my mind I knew the GP was trying to find the right moment to bring up the "Do Not Attempt to Resuscitate" (DNAR). Eventually we had to talk about it and only until you come onto the topic you then come to realize that the patient is still in denial. To be fair, he has a young family and he himself is quite young. Worst bit is that there is no cause for his condition - as what doctors like to call it: "Idiopathic". He was adamant that he wants to be resuscitated when it comes to the end of the line despite the GP fully informing him about the benefits and harm of resuscitation. As we were talking about his palliative care plan, his children were happily running outside - no clue what is going on in the room. It was definitely a very "grim" consultation. Before leaving, the GP advised the patient to find some support for his end-stage disease and to have someone help him to explain his condition to his children as they will have to know at some point. The GP was right that it is better for him to talk to his children while he is still well and still able to versus down the road he might not be well enough to explain - leaving his children a bit puzzled.
In all fairness - my experience in GP has not been the best, but the GPs who I have worked with are all really nice people and some are great at teaching. Guess it just wasn't my "cup of tea". Had a good feedback session with my supervisor though and I suggested giving students a bit more responsibilities and letting us see our own patients. Hopefully they'll take my feedback on board as I really think it'll improve the student's experience. All in all though, 7 weeks...that was painful.
Psychiatry up next...don't really know what to expect...actually I have no clue what to expect. At least it is hospital based (in a more familiar environment). I'm sure it'll be interesting seeing these sort of patients. Hopefully it'll be better than my GP placement and get back to the happy-go-lucky medical student.