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.

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