Throughout our time at the medical school we’re encouraged to foster and interest in a particular area of medicine. We’re currently doing a report which is the first step in this process. I chose the title “Viral Pandemics: Why do they happen and can they be prevented?”.
It’s so interesting! I feel like i’m essentially learning about the Zombie apocalypse! I learn about transmission from animals to humans, how it spreads the ethics of closing border etc.
I think infectious diseases is an area i’m becoming more and more interested in, it’s very clear cut - you stop the bad bugs. There’s none of this “oh this disease is self imposed because they smoke”, the person is infected, remove the infection etc. I’m going to try and score highly in this, it’s just such a good topic!
31st of December, 2012.
I think it’s about time to do that end of the year summary? But how do you summarise a year like 2012? How do you summarise the biggest year of your life? Well, I’m going to give it a shot!
This year has been the greatest year of my entire life. Everything I could have possibly hoped for happened this year, 2010 and 2011 were at times very difficult for me, I was mid A-levels, often not scoring high enough to get into medical school. This was devastating for me - I had no idea what to do with my life if I didn’t get into Medical school. So that brings two of the greatest dates of the year 8th March and 18th August;
These dates were both results days, and they were the days that booked my place in medical school. To open those brown envelopes and see that I had A’s, and that I had got into medical school, it made the difficulties of the last two years make sense, and I was proud of myself for everything I had achieved. I’d made it, and that was just everything for me.
So on came university, I moved in on the 14th September and met my flat, I’ve never met a cooler bunch of people, who are friendly, supportive and prepared to forgive my mistakes! I’m really thankful I met everyone of them, they’re just so much fun to live with. On the 21st September my medical course started, and I met my PBL group - in particular I met Dr. Belfast. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about chances and luck, how is it that I’ve been put into a PBL group and anatomy group with someone who I’ve never appreciated being with as much? I have been incredibly lucky to have met someone who I got on with so well from the start, and continue to have fun with now. Thank you fate, for that card.
The following 3 months have been the greatest of my life, I’ve learnt so much, I’ve laughed so much, I’ve drunk so much!
So here’s to 2013, your going to have a very tough time beating 2012 friendo, because I will never forget 2012, for it’s highs and lows, it’s pain and it’s love.
My resolution: Stop living in the future, now is the moment - stop looking so far into the future and planning your life out and missing what’s happening right now. Now is the time.
As Dr John Michael Dorian said: “I usually don’t like thinking about the future. I mean let’s face it, you can’t predict what’s going to happen.But sometimes, the thing you didn’t expect is what you really wanted after all. Maybe the best thing to do is stop trying to figure out where you’re going and just enjoy where you’re at.”
Have a happy new year, and an amazing 2013 - Lots of love, Dr. Britain.
Incorrect, this year I’m really going for it with revision - most of my days are spent revising the PBL cases of the last semester, interspersed with anatomy and occasionally evidence based medicine,
I think the best part of this revision is that for once I’m enjoying going over the material - prior to this I was doing three courses required for medicine where there where some topic I didn’t enjoy - I mean plant biology?!!?? DO NOT WANT.
So going through actual medical revision? It’s just amazing, i’m enjoying revision, and it’s great fun!
So while your enjoying the festivities, spare a thought for me - I’ll most likely be revising the bony landmarks of the scapulla!
As part of my course we have to do a really large project on a topic of our interest. We’re given about 800 titles and we have to choose 8, and then we are assigned one of them. I went through the list choosing topics that seemed interesting, and I ended up with this list:
It seems to me I’ve unintentionally picked a list composed mainly of questions relating to immunology and infectious diseases. This got me to thinking, what were my favourite parts of the semester? You guessed it! Infectious diseases and immunology, the subtle interplay between components, and the clear cut nature of this area of medicine (pathogens are bad, they hurt the body, kill them!) really interests me.
I’m looking forward to a project on any of these, but maybe this shows i’m heading for a career in infectious diseases?
Today was my second clinical experience, and I headed to what will be my base hospital after year 2. I was really impressed by it and i’m really happy i’m going there - the education centre in particular is pretty spectacular.
So we sit down, have yet another session on how to talk to patients:
On a side note i’m getting sick of these, yes I understand the need to get consent, to explain about confidentiality etc but it really seems to take the personality out of medicine - instead of being “Hi, I’m Britain I’m on of the medical students, is it okay if I have a chat with you?” it becomes “Hi, I’m Forename Surname a first year medical student from the University of Secret is it okay if I talk to you about your treatment here - anything you say to me remains confidential between me and your medical team” - it’s too structured, and then we’re told how to summarise and talk and it all seems so fake - I’m not going to lie I just talk to them as I always would.
Anyway - sorry for the rant - after our little session we move on to the wards, we’re on a respiratory ward and I’m introduced to the patient I’m going to talk to. He is about 50/60 and has been pretty ill - he’s looking a little thin. This guy however, is the best patient a medical student could ever ask for, he is open, he’s honest, he’ll answer any of my stuttering questions, he tells me how to be a good doctor, how to follow up information, how to be friendly, how to never hide anything from the patient. This man just gave me a crash course on how to be a doctor from the patient’s prospective.
Thanks a lot, meeting you was an absolute pleasure, your a great guy and I wish you the best of luck in your recovery.
There are certain things that I think will stay with me for the rest of my life, today was one of those events. As with every Friday it was time for anatomy, and after the rush to get through my booklet to at least sound like I knew what I was talking about me and Dr.Belfast headed to the DR (Dissecting room) for our first ever actual dissection - we had previously only been looking at prosections.
We were the first ones to arrive, and the previous anatomy group had just left, we lab coated up and thought we’d head to the resource room - on the other side of the DR to the cloakroom, the familiar smell of formaldehyde hit us (I associate it with a Friday now - don’t know if that’s a good thing!?) and we stepped through the door, the technicians were there and BOOM, there were the cadavers, on the slabs.
FUCK, wow. There’s like 8 bodies, just sat there, women, men, all of them so willing to give up everything about themselves to us naive medical students. They were lying, mouths slightly ajar, held off the table by a stand, so dead, yet so real. They looked human, unlike prosections - some of them were large, some of them small, me and Dr.Belfast walked through to the resource room, I think we tried to pretend we were going in there to brush up on the scapulla, really we were trying to get out of that room.
I’m glad she was there, I was pretty shook up - something about seeing the whole body, as opposed to just parts made it seem so real. These were people who had families, lived, laughed, fell ill and passed - and now I was going to cut into them.
We regained our composure and then headed back into the DR where our anatomy group and demonstrator were waiting. We were introduced to our cadaver. I like our cadaver (I hope that doesn’t sound weird) he is a 77 year old male who died of metastatic gastric carcinoma (a cancer of the stomach that spread), he’s thin, probably because of his illness, but seems - I can’t really put it in words - like , he’s dead, yet he’s alive, I don’t really know, I can’t see him as just a tool - he is a he not an it.
Anyway, we started stripping away the skin of the arm to look at the muscles underneath, and the angle I was standing at watching our demonstrator made it look like he was in pain, it was just surreal. Then it came to my turn, after Dr. Belfast had her turn. I cut my square being careful to not go too deep and damage the muscle and started stripping it back, cutting away the connective tissue as I did so, my anatomy demonstrator said: “Bit of a natural!” - my ego couldn’t really take it.
Some of the group were apprehensive to pull on the skin hard - which would have made it easier for them and then the demonstrator said exactly what I needed to hear:
“It’s okay, you can’t hurt him now”.
That made it okay, and so much easier.
Today was my first day in a hospital meeting real live, ill patients. I met my first ever patient, obviously for the purposes of confidentiality and such I won’t be telling anyone where they are staying or who they are, but they were a very interesting patient.
The idea of our first day is to give us an easy patient, unfortunately our patient was not easy, they were very confused and believed they were in a school, the name of their spouse changed multiple times, and in general we found conversation difficult to continue.
They were lovely though, a nice person who was happy to be talking to us and for someone to give them time to talk.
And this is why I felt so bad, I found it so difficult to hold conversation- they were simply so confused, there were no leads to pick up on and continue on, and I didn’t want to start a conversation that they would find uncomfortable, such as why they believed she weren’t in the hospital.
It was an interesting and probably very useful experience.
Read out by me and about 400 other medical students:
I affirm that I will:
• Strive to equip myself with the academic knowledge, skills and attributes to be an excellent doctor;
• Treat every patient politely and considerately;
• Respect patients’ dignity and privacy;
• Listen to patients and respect their views;
• Treat all colleagues as I would wish to be treated;
• Accept that trained professionals will place the needs of patients before mine;
• Be honest and trustworthy;
• Recognise the limits of both my own education and training at every stage and proactively seek the means to address this,
• Respect and protect all confidential information;
• Make sure my personal beliefs do not prejudice my interactions with patients and others;
• Avoid abuse of my position as a student of medicine;
• Work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients’ interests;
In all these matters I will never discriminate unfairly against patients or colleagues. I will always be prepared to justify my actions to them.
I am most certainly a medical student now.
Today I chaired my very first PBL session (okay - definition PBL or “Problem based learning” is the way my medical school works, we are given a case for the week, select cues from that case and learn from them over the following week). I was in charge - I was the “baws”. It went really well, the role of a chair is to “facilitate” the learning rather than to talk the most, which means I spent a lot of the time leaning back and letting debate continue, before stepping in and moving it on. We got the learning agenda (the stuff we have to learn over the week) done before time (which was a first) and we even had a few minutes to spare.
The high point was that afterwards everyone said I did it well, including Dr.Belfast… My “feels” were soaring at that point. I know one of the things that medical schools look for is leadership quality, and I thought I kind of cheated on that point - ergo I didn’t really think I was that good of a leader, I tended to think I was kind of better as a second-in-command role but today proved that a) I wasn’t cheating - I may actually be a good leader and b) my PBL group like and respect me, and seeing as there guys might be with me for the rest of my medical career is a very, very nice feeling.
If your not back at school, you’ll be going back to school. If your in year 12, welcome to sixth form, the next two years will probably drain you if you put in the effort, or they will leave you unfulfilled and in a place you don’t want to be in if you don’t focus.
If your going for high flying courses, or are generally aspiring for something, now is the time to really put the effort in, if you do you will be left with a sense of achievement and will be able to look back and be all like: “BOO-YEAH!”.
Just, good luck everyone, this next year/ two years will make or break you. Aspire, and work!