“Mr Smith, a 26 year old man presents to A&E with shortness of breath, a productive cough and an audible wheeze. You are the Junior Doctor on call. Your registrar is away and the patient is getting worse. What are you going to do?”
So starts every single seminar we’ve sat so far with our enthusiastic Respiratory consultant, who believes the best way to prepare medical students for the harsh reality of on-call life by simulating a series of fear-inducing scenarios and throwing us (myself and a five other students on the same placement) in at the deep end.
Of course, what you start to learn is that every situation – regardless of the symptoms involved – has a set protocol with evidence for the most appropriate route of action. Starting with your first aid ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) and then moving on to more specific management, the skill is in finding the correct order to apply treatment rather than struggling to remember what exactly it is that needs doing. The best thing is that I’m finally starting to learn how I’d handle myself in that kind of situation, and running through each crisis has removed a whole lot of mystery from the proceedings. Now I just need to actually spend some time on call in A&E! (not something likely to happen soon, don’t worry world) .
The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind of activity – from weekdays spent on the wards desperately trying to get that blood gas I did yesterday evening pleasebelieveme to weekends spent down in London (conferences/meetings/desperately searching for accomodation) there hasn’t been much downtime.
I reeecently joined the national committee of Medsin, the student action group on Global Health, and so spent my last weekend having some very intense conversations about my upcoming role. Pretty exciting stuff! It’s an incredible organisation I’ve always wanted to be a part of – its aim is to facilitate student in making a positive impact on health and wealth inequality, through skills training, political action and networking. Sound good?
Anyway, just to finish – I’m very sad to announce that this is probably my second to last blog post! Later this week I’ll be introducing our new Medicine student blogger (name to be revealed shortly) who will be taking over when I leave to pursue my intercalated BSc next year. I know, I’m sad as well! Stay tuned for more news!