Sunday, 4 May 2014

Starting Clinical Year 3.2 - Some Tips (NUIG)

Assalamualaikum wbt.

I can't recall how long ago did I last try writing an entry on anything at all.

       Anyhow, here I am, with less than a week's time to final exam. And I still can't believe I'm half way through medical school now! Alhamdulillah and InshaaAllah, may Allah ease each and everyday of the clinical years ahead. :)

       So far in this "medschool journey", I found this stage of transition from attending lectures to being in the hospital with REAL medical teams and seeing REAL patients fascinating, yet exhausting. Juggling between 3-4 weeks of tutorials and hospital attachments, plus the extra reading to do at home, is just as exhaustive as going for a full 26 miles marathon, metaphorically. Well, at this stage I guess it's not as tough as what the final years have to go through. We will have to go through it eventually, everyone in medschool will surely be. YWNWA! Lol.

       These are the few lessons I picked up all along my 5 medical rotations this semester of 3.2 :

  • Smiling is the most essential part of being in the team. The day always is good when you start it with a smile. Smiles are contagious, you know! Imagine those ill patients, all they need is someone with an empathetic heart and a warm smile. That'll get you very very far, I guarantee you. :)))
  • Be proactive. Consultants are humans filled with knowledge and experience, so try to get them to share some of those with you. This may vary between the team, the day and the amount of working hours. You do not want to add more to their cortisol levels when they are on-take since last night! This point may require some interpersonal skills and it doesn't take you more than a week to pick it up, it's called common sense!
  • Get to know the team members. Being friendly is not prohibited in the hospital. You should not treat them as your bosses, because they are not! Instead, treat them as your friends, with a bit of seniority and respect, I suppose. The most important person you should get close to are the interns! Because they are fresh graduates and most of them are willing to teach you, plus there is less of a generation gap between you and them.
  • Time management. Balancing between revising 1000 pages of pathology and spending half your day in the hospital with the team or in tutorials, are absolutely deemed impossible! But, eventually everyone will find their pace. Don't overburden yourself the first few weeks. Start revising early, yes, but revise effectively. As for me, I revise along whatever cases I've seen in the wards, and read up whichever related topics on the case or the things that I am expected to know. Always read your learning objectives/aims of the current rotation you are on. That makes life easier for you in the end of the semester. Less cramming means happier brain.
  • Always introduce yourself first! Strangers are awkward zones.
  • Treat all the staffs and nurses nicely and they will love you.
  • Offer to help out. Put in IV lines, take bloods, put in catheters, NG tubes, do airway management, CPRs, and whatever you are capable of doing. Most of the interns/SHOs are more than happy if you are there to help out. It's a win-win situation anyway. Those are the memory hooks that will help you in exams and also in life, believe me. (The most memorable part of all these to me are assisting a hernial repair in surgery and suturing a lady's forehead in ED!)
  • Have a sense of humor and have a good personality with both the team and the patient! My point here is, be a good person. Do not annoy people and try to not offend people, have empathy and be confident at the same time. :)
  • Grades are not the ultimate measurement of you being a good doctor in the future. Remember this!!! I was told a thousand times by a thousand people every thousand day (exaggerating)! But, as we all are very competitive homosapiens, we all want good grades to get to the top of the class. I can't deny this fact though. Ironically, you don't want to be a 50% passer doctor either. Knowing only 50% of your stuffs right and saving only 50% of your patient and missing the other diagnoses thus letting 50% them die (I know this won't ever happen in reality though, just a metaphor to scare you :P).
  • What you are like now in the wards is what you will become in the future. Habits now stay forever! Says Mr. L. True indeed. So, don't be a lazy student, or else, you'll end up like that lazy doctor you hate. Follow good habits you see and pick them up fast.
  • Use your time in the hospital as your studying and OSCE practicing time. What do I mean by these? Every time you take a history, present it to someone, be it your friend, an intern or a senior doctor. And when you do your physical exams, do it as if you are in an OSCE. Take every chance you have wisely!

This is one long entry. I'm in my midst of revising, so I should get back to work now! Happy studying and may Allah grant us barakah in whatever and whichever methods we go for, in achieving success as a Muslim. Smile more, and make someone's life happier each day. Allahu musta'an (In Allah alone we seek help). May He ease. InshaaAllah, amiin.

P/S : Hope these will help anyone entering this transition of medschool. These are not applicable everywhere, though. And oh, I'm currently in Letterkenny GH for a year's away attachment. People here are so superbly nice. Alhamdulillah. :)

Part of St. Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland. (opposite LGH)