Work Experience in a Hospital – day five

I shadowed a Consultant on a ward round this morning, noticing their extreme patience when speaking to an ill patient who demanded to leave the hospital, wanting to return home. The Consultant remained calm and collected, explaining the severity of the patient’s condition and  why hospital, surrounded by healthcare professionals, was the best place for the patient until they became stable. The Consultant calmly stated that the move home could easily be arranged, as long as the patient understood that there was an extremely high chance that they would die or be admitted to hospital again in an emergency.

I went on to learn about two predominant types of pneumonia; legionella and mycoplasma. Legionella presents symptoms such as a persistent cough bringing up phlegm and flu-like symptoms which can be cured by erythromycin or clarithromycin. Mycoplasma is very much more serious, presenting itself in a dry cough and fever and it can damage the heart or central nervous system in extreme circumstances. Mycoplasma pneumonia is far more contagious than that of legionella so could cause an epidemic.

I saw that the Junior Doctors were tired, stressed and frustrated as they followed Consultants making accurate recordings of observations, medicines and dosages whilst being questioned by the patient’s families and nurses for help. This in turn frustrated the Consultants as they did not believe the Junior Doctors were completely focused on what was supposed to be written down on the ward round. I believe this is very important for all people going into medicine to see as we must have a realistic understanding of the stressful, and at times frustrating, profession that we are potentially going in to.

During the afternoon I went to a teaching of ‘wellbeing’ to medical students in which a lecturer spoke to students about the role of diet and exercise in maintaining a healthy mind and body. The lecturer spoke of the fact that most medical students are perfectionists so have extremely high expectations of themselves leading to severe burnout. Burnout can lead to depression, heart disease and a weakened immune system which is reflected in patient care, decreasing patient satisfaction and increasing recovery times. The lecturer focused on resilience as an extremely important quality of a doctor saying that it is a natural quality of people which can also be taught throughout time at medical school. I learned about foods containing sugar, caffeine, nitrites and salt and how they affect sleeping routine, perception and increase risk of diseases.

Emily Buchanan

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