Today I gained experience shadowing a Consultant and Junior Doctor doing a ward round, seeing a newly admitted patient in A&E and shadowing a Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist doing their work on a ward.
Today I really felt the sense of community at the hospital, not only among the patients but also between all members of staff. Everyone appears to support each other and it is nice to see that people from certain specialities are not afraid to ask other specialities for advice. I noticed that the Physiotherapists and Doctors always checked that they were both happy before making final decisions about patients, by having regular meetings outside the wards. This ensures that every decision made by the medical team is the best possible decision for the patient. I noticed the importance of teamwork between the Consultant and Junior Doctor during the ward round as well as between the Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist (OT) working together to make the exercises as painless as possible for the patients. I feel extremely grateful that all of the staff are extremely friendly and welcoming to me in the Orthogeriatrics ward where I am based, and feel that they genuinely care for me in ensuring that I am gaining as much experience as I can of all medical professions on the ward. I enjoyed hearing about the team’s jargon, helping to make writing notes and having conversations quicker.
I enjoyed speaking to a Consultant about their enjoyment and difficulties of being a doctor. I learned that whilst the job can be extremely tiring and not very financially rewarding, it is extremely emotionally rewarding to be the person to improve or prolong someone’s life. The variety of the job through meeting lots of different patients is very exciting and something I believe I would enjoy greatly. The role of a doctor is very caring and enjoyable as you can apply the science you know to a real life situation and see the results through speaking to patients and finding out how they are feeling. I love that as a doctor you are constantly learning, and even as a top consultant you may not have heard of every medicine that you come across on the job so you learn something new everyday. I also like the idea of growth of responsibility as you become more confident with clinical skills and decision making through years of practice. It is very interesting to see that doctors all have a different way of speaking to patients and this shows that medicine as a career is an art. I love the idea of teaching younger people clinical skills when I am qualified.
I learned that communication with patients can be extremely difficult especially if they do not say what they mean due to delirium or confusion, or if they refuse to speak to the healthcare team all together. This can make doctors frustrated as they do not know if the patient is in pain and if they are reacting well to their medication. It is also difficult to communicate with patients who believe they have pain but do not actually have pain as it is psychological. It is difficult for the doctor to decide whether they need painkillers.
It is important to remove as much equipment from the patient’s body as possible so that they feel like their condition is improving for a better state of mind. The Consultant was constantly looking for ways to improve the patients’ comfort including removing catheters as soon as possible. This may also encourage them to get on their feet sooner after the operation as they believe that they are fit enough to stand, decreasing the risk of them losing independence.
I learned that blood transfusions to treat anaemia are extremely risky and expensive. The cost is about £800/unit whilst there is a high risk of contracting an infection or having severe side-effects. Therefore, Doctors encourage the taking of iron supplements or injections to increase the amount of haemoglobin in the blood to carry oxygen to cells, without the risks that come with a blood transfusion.
It was inspiring to see the tireless work of the Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist who were extremely patient and encouraging to all patients. Whilst seeing what their job entailed, I noticed that a lot of their work was talking to patients and reassuring them that they would only get better if they had the confidence to do the exercises, for example to stand up. Before this week I did not realise how important confidence is for a patient’s recovery.
An example of a member of the medical team making extra effort to ensure that patients were comfortable and happy today was when a Physiotherapist sat with a patient after they had done their exercises to fill in their food form for their upcoming meals as the patient could not reach to fill it in for themself.