Monday, September 28, 2015

Musings of an amateur 4th year

So..this is it...year 4, my first clinical year. I was looking back at my first post on this blog when I have not even step foot on this amazing British ground just 3 years ago and now, look at me! I'm entering my 4th year here. This is an exciting year for me because

1. it's my first year in the hospital, doing real medicine and touching real patients (instead of body parts..) 
2. I'm in clinical school with my amazing friends and my <3! 
3. No more essays! 

I have to be quite wary on what I put up here due to patient confidentiality and I really do not want to get referred to the GMC. I hope I won't. Anyway, most of the time, I talk non-medical stuff, instead of work. To make this post less boring, I'm going into this schizo mode of asking myself a series of question and answering it on my own, just to stimulate my own thinking and reflect on it. So if you think I'm going bonkers, don't mind me. (btw, that's my essay writing style for the past 3 years - yeap, schizo style.) 

So how has medical school been so far? 
It has been tremendously amazing. Term time for clinical school in Cambridge is wildly different from the normal university terms. Actually, everything is different. We started our first term in early September, so I have just finished my 2-weeks intense, introductory course. We learned how to do basic clinical examinations (CVS, respi, abdo, neurology, MSK etc), how to take blood/phlebotomy (more like how to stab each other without bleeding each other too much) and how to navigate around the clinical realm, physically and on that ever-so-confusing online portal. I really enjoy my first 2 weeks because we are no longer confined to the lecture theaters and libraries, and we are actually supposed to go onto the wards and talk to as many patients as possible. I just finished my first day on the ward, and with my very productive/intense/helpful partner on the ward, I had a really interesting and productive first day, learning how to take histories and do examination, without supervision! (wow, much freedom!) Don't worry, we are not doing anything mildly harmful at all, we just talked and examined them with their consent, so even if this medical student species is completely stupid and incompetent, we are not harmful at this stage. Well, at least, not yet.  

Which part of medical school do you enjoy most?
I love talking to patients! I love listening to their stories, their experience, their life or simply, how has their day been. They can go on for hours and I love it, though I still find it a bit hard to understand some of them sometimes because of the accent and some of the slang. I am absolutely useless in abbreviations, so when ppl start using it, I'm lost. Besides, everyone in the ward is SO FRIENDLY, it's unbelievable. It's so different from the hospitals I've been to in Malaysia. They are so helpful and lovely that it's totally no problem fitting in. I just need a bit more guts to talk to everyone. Also, I hope that my examination skills will be much better sooner so I can find out what's wrong with them and make myself useful on the wards sooner. 

I am also enjoying the freedom. As long as we attend the compulsory teachings, we are free to roam for the rest of the time, or we can just go home. In fact, I'd like to experience how it's like on the ward overnight one day. Just to see if there is any horror interesting stories to tell the next day. We are basically responsible for our own learning and are treated like proper professionals now, instead of confused/wild undergrads. .  We are 'suppose' to act like a doctor because people don't know the difference between a junior doctor (who is a qualified doctor) and a student doctor (essentially, medical students). So we are seen as part of the profession and expected to dress and behave like one, regardless of our empty cranium atm. -_-" (we've been taught to fake our confidence even though we have no idea what we are doing. It's a trick, GUYS!)

I love Sherwood Room. It's a room equipped with we students get to chill and eat

Also, since we don't have essay crises on weekends like in undergrad years (muahahahahah.....), we get our weekends off! like really off! It's too good to be true, for Cambridge standard. So I went to church, learned how to play badminton with Mr. K, went to BBQ and play croquet, cooked good meals, read half of a random book (k fine, not exactly random, it's an ECG book) and spend quality time with Mr K. It's like...a perfect weekend.

Which part do you fear most?

Which part do you think is the most awkward part? 
I haven't done any intimate examination so I am not sure if I will be awkward for that. I only did examination that requires me to touch the breast but as a girl, I really don't feel awkward at all and the patients, both female and male, are generally at ease with me touching them. It's a different story for my male colleagues. So I feel female doctors have a huge advantage in building rapport and doing examination in this sense.

But atm, the hurdle I have to get through is to understand the MANY accents GB has and try to put up a proper one, speak in a concise manner and speak up in a louder voice, so people can understand me. Malaysian accent is a NO-NO. far so good. Life has been pretty amazing. I will try to update more often and share with you how's like being a real medical student :) 

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