I was lucky enough to get 8 days of work experience at my local hospital on 31st July – 9th August. I was allocated 3 different areas: The trauma orthopaedic fracture clinic (3 days), respiratory ward (2 days) and the acute medical unit (3 days).
On all of the areas I learnt a lot about how important it is for everyone to work as a team and how invaluable the nurses really were for the patients and for the doctors, they kept everything organised and made sure the doctor’s had all the notes they needed and of course carrying out procedures such as taking blood pressure, collecting blood for a blood transfusion, giving blood transfusions and most importantly giving the patients the drugs the doctors have prescribed (as well as many other things). They obviously spent more time with the patients and got to know them so much better, whereas the doctor’s weren’t able to get to know them as well as they would only see them once a day on ward rounds (and each doctor was given 2 bays, so they wouldn’t be on the same bay every day). Therefore, the doctor’s had to work off the nurses notes and previous doctors notes, the ob’s charts and what the patient was telling them and whether everything was okay with the heart, chest and lungs using the stethoscope.
In each area I worked in, the doctors and nurses would give me the hard truth about being a doctor and would try their best to get me to falter in me wanting to do medicine…but it didn’t work! I know the hours will be tough and so will the shift work, it will be challenging and difficult at times…but I learnt you can’t get disheartened and you can’t want to go into medicine thinking that you will get immediate gratification from patients if you help them, because most of the time you don’t. You need to be satisfied and happy about knowing you have helped someone and you shouldn’t expect a thank you from anyone. Becoming a doctor is something that definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly, because once you step through those doors of the medical school and start studying medicine, you have to remember, you will be doing this for the rest of your life and it’s not a job that you can just drop and move on from. In fact it’s not a job it’s a vocation and you have to really want to do medicine to take on the challenge of becoming a doctor and then being the best doctor you can be.
I met one doctor who didn’t get into medicine the first time round and he said to me to not give up and to keep trying because if this is something you really want to do you’ll get there. Just put the hard work in, get the experience and keep applying! And that’s what I am doing. If I don’t get into medicine for 2014 then that’s fine, I’ll apply for a job as a healthcare assistant and then reapply the following year. If I don’t get in again i’ll apply to university to study becoming a physician assistant or nursing. Then I’ll do a few years in one of those jobs and then reapply again. Since this work experience at the hospital it has given me so much insight into so many different jobs in the NHS (as I spent time with the nurses, doctors, orthopaedic practitioners and occupation therapists) and it has shown me that there are so many options I can take if I don’t get into medicine (which I really hope I do!) the first time round or even the second time! And that I shouldn’t give up because if I try hard enough I will get there eventually.
I was also lucky enough to be doing my work experience when the FY1 medical students started at the hospital, so I got to see the type of work they undertake and how much support the really got from all of the staff there! At the same time I could see how stressful and busy it is and how good you need to be with thinking on your feet and taking responsibility and working efficiently so you can get done the majority of the numerous number of jobs you have been given.