Volunteering at QA Week 3 7th April 2012

Work Experience Week 3
Today I spent the first hour or so cleaning. I don’t mind cleaning because it allows you to be helpful, learn where everything is, listen to what’s happening and chat to people at the same time.

I had some more fun on the vital pac system which records patients’ observations. All sorts of things are noted down from the basic blood pressure and temperature to pain score and something called EWS. This means Early Warning Score and it highlights pateints who are at risk from rapid deterioration. It helps doctors to prioritize patients and get a heads up when something is about to go wrong. I have never seen any particularly high scores which is a good thing.

Next, I spoke to a junior doctor in his second year as a specialist registrar doing a placement in orthopaedics. His name was Ed and he studied at Leicester 9 years ago. It was great to be able to chat about what he did in the hospital and where he fitted in with the other staff and patients. He did a ward round and chatted to all the patients before doing a lot of filing and paperwork. I was surprised at how much responsibility he had already- he was a real doctor!


Although people are being treated to get better, many problems occur within the hospital. Infection control is a huge part of the day for nurses, health care workers and everyone inside the hospital. Lots of ill people+ lots of visitors in one place = infection. I bet most people can tell you about someone going in with one thing and coming out with something worse- my grandfather went into hospital after a fall and came out a long while later having had shingles and pneumonia.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a good example of problems caused by being in hospital. It’s what the fancy socks you wear in long haul flights are meant to prevent. Long periods of inactivity, like laying on a hospital bed can cause DVT. This week I learnt about the boots that create the same pressure by inflating as walking which lowers the chance of developing DVT from inactivity. They make a really cool noise as you walk past- a whoosh of air and a really annoying beeping noise when they don’t work.

There’s also loads of posters around about bed sores. Bodies don’t like being in the same position all day so the skin can respond by blistering and creating painful sores. Patients are therefore encouraged to move as much as they can, to reduce pressure on the sores and areas of contact between skin and bed.

As with lots of things I’m finding in the hospital, it comes down to a balance between doing good and bad. The bad part would be having a bed sore and good part allowing a new knee to heal. The best doctors I have seen so far know the good and bad in the decisions they make and quickly, but carefully determine the best path of action.

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