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Getting into the swing of things – Guest Blog Post from Meher

MeherHi there!

I’m Meher, filling in for Claire this rotation while she is off at the Alfred. I’ve spent my second rotation at Frankston Hospital with the Cardiology and Respiratory teams.

In many ways this second stage of our clinical years has been much better than the first! We’re used to the layout of the hospital, we know where to find patient notes and cannula equipment when the consultant demands them during ward rounds and we’ve got all the shortcuts, filing systems and cheapest coffee places sorted. We think. More importantly, we know a bit more about what is expected of us, and what we are allowed to expect from the doctors we’re tailing on ward rounds – it has been easier to ask questions and get involved. Another third year and I even got to assist in a Medical Emergency Team (MET) call, simply by putting on gloves and standing next to the bed, ready to take orders. Even though all we are good for is holding the patient’s arms steady, it makes a big difference when you feel like you are part of the team.

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t exhausting though. Like Claire, I put my inability to adjust to the early starts down to my terrible sleep cycle over summer; but five weeks later, and it is still pretty difficult to get out of bed and leave the house while it’s still dark out. But we’ve become smarter and more efficient with our time at the hospital so that we get the most out of it within hours that let us get home and get a decent amount of sleep.

The typical day for us usually starts off with morning ward rounds – which can take anywhere between one and five hours to get through! From there we are usually either talking to patients, going to tutorials or getting the chance to suit up in those attractive blue scrubs and watch some surgeries and procedures. While we get a lot out of the quizzing we usually face from the senior doctors during these, the best learning experiences have been the impromptu bedside tutorials. These are highly valued not only for how informative they are and how great hands on experience is, but also how rare it is that these doctors can find a moment in their busy schedule for us! Busy or not, I have to agree with Claire’s last post – all the staff at the hospital are so supportive and try their best to include us wee med kids whenever they can – whether it’s the consultant greeting us by name, the intern letting us know we can interrupt their paperwork with our questions, or the nurses helping us find various forms and equipment.

Most rewarding though, even more than answering that one tricky question from the Head of Cardiology that stumps everyone else, is probably getting to know the patients. Sometimes it feels like as students, we’re the only ones with the time to sit and chat to the patients – sometimes an hour or more – and really get their story, whether medically relevant or not. Not only is this informative and enjoyable for us, but I think that most of the patients appreciate it too, especially those that are getting bored of being in hospital. Interns have often told us to make the most of the time we have at our disposal with patients, talking to them, examining them and following their various procedures, because ‘you never have free time like you do in third year’, and I like to think that we are doing just that. There is always the patient who doesn’t want to talk to you, who is grumpy and not cooperative, but for each one of those there are at least ten who are genuinely happy to help us students out. In fact, it’s often the patient who is reassuring and encouraging me as I nervously perform an examination with the registrar assessing me.

All in all, I think we’re all settling in to a bit of a rhythm with our hospital life. We are getting more used to it, the other staff are getting used to seeing us around – and the fact that we usually know nothing and are of no help. I was taken down a peg or two when I realised that the ‘secret staircase’ from surgery to the wards my friend and I were very proud for discovering, is actually a very well known way to get around and everyone had known about it for weeks. And I’m sure we can expect another shock to the system as we move into the next rotation in a week’s time, just as this one has become comfortable and routine. But, for now the hospital has been a very steep, very interesting learning curve and medicine on the whole has been going well. That might all change as the exams crop up, but that isn’t for a while, and for now I’m just glad I can make my way to 5FS without having to look at the signs.

It’s been a pleasure filling in for Claire this rotation, I’m sure she’ll be back with lots of stories in her next post!

Happy Hospital-ing!



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