My second day of work experience!

I hope you enjoyed reading my last post, so here goes my account of what happened on Tuesday:

I spent the morning in a clinic with a registrar who was specialising in endocrinology. It was about diabetes. He saw around 10 patients in total, some of which that were at risk of getting diabetes, and others that already had it. I felt that although he hadn’t had the experience of being a doctor for some time, he was still very welcoming, and was able to be friendly to the patients.

During my lunch hour, there was a little party going on for a doctor that had won an award; I snuck in a few cakes and some pizza. At this party, it showed me how close the department was, that without their teamwork it is likely they wouldn’t even be able to treat patients at the pace they do.

In the evening, I spent another evening in AMU. I was a junior doctor who was in his first year of clinical training. He came from a local school, and was telling me about the life of a medical student; it sure seemed hard, but extremely rewarding! We went to see a patient who had a build-up of fluid in his stomach due to a form of hepatitis which meant that his liver wasn’t working properly, and certain fluids weren’t being removed. To solve this, the junior doctor had to carry out keyhole surgery, with another senior doctor there showing him how to do it. It did surprise me how much packaging and different equipment they needed. The doctor had to get a syringe with a long needle, he then inserted it into the man’s belly to remove the fluid. It did take the doctor a few tries to get the needle in the correct place, but in the end, he ended up removing over a litre of fluid. He sent a small sample of this off to the liquid specialists to see what was exactly wrong with the patient and if anything needed doing urgently. I found out the transport system used to get blood round the hospital; it surprised me they used small bottles in tubes connecting the different areas of the hospital. By this time, I had discovered how slow the NHS computers were, due to ageing software and outdated computers; one doctor was telling me that if one could sort out the filing system, the computers could be speeded up a lot faster.

That’s it for Tuesday, come back here next fortnight for Wednesday’s blog

My first day of medical work experience

I undertook a week’s work experience in my local hospital. In this post I will be talking about my experience on the first day, and in later posts what happened on subsequent days.

On the first day, I spent the morning in the acute medical unit. The AMU treats patients who have been tagged as emergencies by their GPs, or who are requiring admission from the emergency department. It was a very hectic place, with many doctors rushing around to look after their patients. The way it worked was that patients coming into the AMU were put on a list, and a doctor would pick a person off the list to treat, and would write down that they had done this. I first met a junior doctor, who was in his second year of foundation training. He saw a few patients with me. One was a Sickle cell anaemia sufferer. I leant that there was a high prevalence of sickle cell anaemia in this area, and that this was a growing problem. One patient had come into the hospital as she was experiencing severe pains in her chest. The doctor ruled out it being a heart attack, and went through her symptoms bit by bit. He started asking questions of whether she had been feeling tired recently, and whether she had been losing interest in her hobbies; I realised he was trying to find out if her symptoms could have been due to depression. He wanted to exclude a clot in her lungs as the D-dimer test returned at medium possibility of this. He consulted a more senior doctor the case notes and he decided that to send her for a scan to exclude a clot. I discovered all the doctors carried ‘bleepers’ to be able to be paged; although they were old fashioned, they functioned remarkably well!

Later in the day I sat in a diabetes clinic, with some patients who had experienced hypoglycaemia. I watched how the doctor was kind and warming with every patient, welcoming them in. I discovered that at the end of every consultation the doctor would dictate the notes of the consultation; this recording was then sent to his PA, who typed up these notes later. One patient had an electronic glucose meter, that measured her glucose levels every hour; these were very modern, and seemed very innovative. She had recently undergone surgery to her hip, and her diabetes had worsened. She was changing her diet trying to control her sugars.

On the first day of my placement, I learnt a lot about the way in which hospitals run. That it is indeed a very complex process. I had also learnt some science which was an added bonus! It was a very enjoyable day, which had already given me a small insight into medicine.

In my next post, I will be talking about the next day on my placement.