Work Experience 101: Hospital Work Experience

From Tuesday 28th of February until Thursday 2nd March I was given the amazing opportunity to do 3 days of work experience at Derby Royal Hospital on the ‘Hospital Experience Program for Potential Medical Applicants’ AKA HOSPEX.

This work experience was very challenging for me. Although I was only observing, finding my way around the hospital and being thrown into an unfamiliar environment with people I have never met before was amazing growth for me. Overall I gained so much confidence from the experience as I had to be completely independent.

On the first morning, I was thrown straight in to shadowing a consultant in the renal department. I found it so interesting looking at all the dialysis machines and then doing ward rounds. The Doctors that I was following were all very nice, and they asked me some medical questions, to help me engage into the rounds. For example I got asked ‘How do we know this patient is internally bleeding?’. Honestly I had no idea. I then realized the patient had a really high heart rate and extremely low blood pressure, which to my surprise was actually one of the indicators. This was my first time being surrounded by ALOT of blood. I had no clue how I was going to react. I didn’t think I was squeamish at all, however after about 15 minutes of observing bloods being taken, I felt slightly weird. So I went for a walk outside and then I was completely fine. The consultant told me the first time that he was surrounded by blood he felt extremely squeamish but now as a consultant, it doesn’t bother him at all. From this, I learnt that it is completely fine to not be ‘ok’ with the practicality of being a Doctor at first. The sense of normality comes over time,  also surgery and other things involving blood seem less strange as Doctors are in absolute love with what they’re doing.

I was involved in two theatre sessions whilst I was there. One was removing calcification from the femoral artery, and the other was a fistula repair. Getting into the scrubs was so exciting, and I realized whilst watching the surgery that medicine is right for me and I am completely determined to do it. I was intrigued by all the different roles in the surgical team, and also completely shocked at how calm and relaxed the atmosphere was. Obviously I acknowledge that not all surgeries are like this- however the surgeons were calm and chatting to me as they operated.

I also spent time on a cardiac care unit. I learnt there that fluidity is so important in a medical team; as well as good teamwork. Every role is vital, from the consultant for medical care to the lady who does the tea and coffee rounds for wellbeing and comfort of the patients. Fluidity is important as it prevents patients waiting too long for treatment. If it wasn’t fluid, nothing would get done. Patients would be waiting hours to be taken to operations after they have been prepped, and even the well needed cups of tea would come at the wrong times. In metaphorical terms, a medical team must work as a well oiled machine.

Throughout the experience I learnt a lot about myself. The key thing I learnt is that, I am independent. I loved finding my way around the hospital and making sure I was on time (and time management is tricky for me, as I always find myself late) , confident when speaking to the consultants and making sure I was in the right place at the right time to see all sorts of medical procedures. Also I learnt that my imperfections as an aspiring medic are common and absolutely fine. For example, being squeamish when seeing blood for the first time. Imperfections exist for us to either sort them out, or accept them. I learnt that we do not progress in our skill unless we have imperfections to be fixed. However that one is to be taken with a pinch of salt, as if you have more serious imperfections and make big mistakes, that is not good.

Thank you for reading.

Work Experience 101: Residential Care Home

In January, I began my work experience in a local care home. Since then for a few hours each week I have been volunteering at the care home, and joining the care assistants with their day to day jobs.

Before this I had never worked in a care home before. I had no clue what to expect, as the grandparents I have left aren’t in care homes, but in residential villages, which means they have a lot more independence that a care home resident. At first I was nervous, as the care home is small and there are not many care assistants and above all things I was scared the residents wouldn’t like me! However that was completely the opposite of the actual truth; the residents were all so lovely and just accepted me as a normal care assistant.

As I am only 17 and not qualified I am not allowed to take part in any personal care activities, however my activities include, helping to make tea, talking to and interacting with the residents, helping them move around the care home safely (giving assistance when getting up and down into chairs) and observing drugs rounds.

So far I have learnt a lot at the care home. Something, really special I learnt was that even in old age, despite many health problems and lists of medications that some of the residents have, it is still possible for happiness to exist. I learnt this through my various conversations with the residents. For example some of the residents like to know about what I do at school, how my friends are and comically the question I get asked most often is if I have a boyfriend or if any boys are catching my eye, which always brings a smile to my face. These may feel like simple things to converse about, but the engagement in the conversation and the smile on the resident’s face when we talk about these things really is special. I have learnt that the elderly find happiness in the simplest of things which is truly inspiring. Consequently, I believe that is an attribute that we all should aspire to have.

Even though I thoroughly enjoy my work, the experience has taught me what it is like to interact with someone that has dementia first hand. It is a harsh truth that dementia can reduce a person’s quality of life, thus it has taught me that awareness must be raised for types of dementia in the elderly. Also, in care homes, it is not uncommon for residents to come and go quickly. It is a sad thing to acknowledge however it is one of the realities of being human, that one day we will eventually die, whether we want to or not. When a member of the elderly is put into a care home, or a hospice, my experience has taught me that it is important to favor increasing the quality of life not the quantity of it. I learnt this through seeing a resident who had severe dementia, diabetes, and was very immobile due to other health problems. When her time came it was sad however the reassurance that I (and I’m sure the family) found was that the resident had a poor quality of life when they were alive, and maybe death was not such a bad thing for them.

Something I learnt about myself on this care home experience is that I love communicating with the residents which could be applied to real life patients. I was really interested in getting insight into the daily struggles and stresses that some people face with dementia, and the resilient approach to life, which was displayed by some of the residents. This has further inspired my pursuit of a medical career.

I absolutely love working in the residential home, and I am finding it so valuable, and it spurs on my inspiration and dream to study medicine.

Thank you.

My Experience with MEDLINK 2016

On the 16th and 17th of December 2016 I stayed at Nottingham University for a night to partake in Medlink Intensive. As an overall conclusion the weekend was extremely informative and fun. Without attending the experience, I would be no where near as ready as I am now for applying the medical school.

medlink

On the Saturday I arrived at the Uni at about 12:00 pm. Initially it was difficult finding my way to the actual reception, but me and my Dad got there eventually. Check in was very smooth and that was where we got given our free stethoscope. Around the building where we were registered there were many stands for abroad universities and medical schools and also there was a KAPLAN stand where staff were eagerly waiting to answer any questions about the UKCAT or BMAT.

After registration my Dad left, and I was worried about making friends, however everyone there was in the same boat as me. We were all there for the same reason and it didn’t take me long before I made friends.  We then were in lectures until 10.30pm (however this period was interrupted by dinner).

When we had dinner, we then went to our accommodation for a bit. The accommodation was nice, and when I was on my own in my room, that’s when the excitement for Uni really started to set in. There was free Wi-Fi which was good and tea and coffee was also provided. Me and the new friends I had made went to get our rooms together so we all ended up next to each other, which was nice however everyone there was so nice it wouldn’t have mattered.

The next morning was an early start, and the lectures that followed were really interesting. Some of my favorite lectures from the weekend were the UKCAT one (a member of KAPLAN went through each section and gave us some helpful information). Also I enjoyed the MMI lecture, and then the social media lecture. However all of them were very useful. The one I didn’t find as useful was the A Level chemistry masterclass. This was because some of the stuff covered in it, I hadn’t studied yet, therefore I didn’t understand it.

The day ended at 6.30pm and it was sad to see everyone leave. For just below three hundred pounds I gained so much useful knowledge about the weekend and really got a true view into what being a medical student is like. Even though the weekend is over- the benefits have not stopped, and there are some interesting projects that MEDLINK have lined up for us to take partake in during the near future.

Thank you.