About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My holidays

Well I might not have been far (Crieff, Kinross, north shields) but we have seen a heat wave. The pictures below show the sights of my two weeks off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


So, having completed my CT applications only 2 weeks Ago, today I find that my England/Wales/NI application has reached interview stage. All applicants are guaranteed one interview. So in January I have to head to Torquay!

This is not as easy as it seems. Interviews are on Monday's, and the easiest seems to be to fly to Bristol, then hire car to Torquay. But it all depends what time they give me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

30th birthday present!

It's here and I now have wonderful proper coffee!

Clinic week

This job has a very odd Rota. Lots of weeks with 7x13hr shifts or 5x12hrs and then to counterbalance it all, clinic weeks which are 3 clinics plus teaching session totalling 2x8hr days.

This is one such week, and thus gives some free time to catch up on MSc reading, write case reports and audit reports from last block, and even do some Christmas shopping, cleaning and catch up on sleep.

However this does mean that the end of December and into January is a busy month of 12hr shifts. Still that's a week away and we have Christmas first.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Impending birthday

Last night was a friend's 30th Birthday. This isn't the first, second, third or even fourth of my friends to reach this milestone but with my own 30th less than 7 weeks away, I felt this one more than the others.

Discussion flowed as the meal progressed and we came onto the issue of Bucket list and things to do before reaching 30.

I have thus started making my Bucket list but I'm not sure I have the right idea......

1. laundry
2. buy christmas presents for family & friends
3. finish my deep cleaning of the kitchen...

More interesting alternatives welcome, though I'm not sure I have any free Saturday's between now and then in which to achieve them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mobile blogging

This is my test to see how the mobile blogger app works!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to it, even if 'it' is a grindstone.

Today was back to work after my 2 eeks off, and after 6 weeks away from my base ward. Some patients remained the same, and the seniors haven;t changed. We now have a new FY1, who is a touch scatty especially regarding chasing blood results though.

Today was odd as I started the day in clinic, which is at a different site. This was then followed by our department meeting, so I didn't get to the ward til 2pm, then saw 5 patients on a ward round, made a couple of referrals, checked some bloods and got a new bleep battery. Thus a nice re-introduction to ward life.

Clinic was interesting. It was the general Geri's clinic, which focussed today on people not eating, weight loss investigations and the stubborn-ness of the old. People who find cooking boring, don;t want microwave or packaged meals, refuse family help but look at you and say - 'you need to stop me losing weight before i fade away' adding a cursory 'Doctor' at the end.

Thankfully the Consultant was taking this patient, and I just had to watch and start writing the pile of referrals - the poatient also has poor mobility (catabolism of muscle to provide energy?), a swollen leg with prominent veins and painful shoulder arthritis - thus referrals to dietician, physio, OT, orthopaedics, DVT clinic, Radiology (shoulder Xray) all needed writing.

Then tonight I got home via Tesco, and found that I need to get a grip on my online MSc work as I let it slip when on receiving and holiday. Thus 4hrs so far of paper analysis and reading about good papers and statistics. I will miss this week's online discussion group and paper critical analysis, so I ahev submitted my online review. i also need to start worjking on the statistics MCQ and this week's case of the week - also at internalmeded.org

I also need to make a start on more cleaning of my flat. I have made step one - buying cleaning materials!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Holidays are restful?

Well the past two weeks were leave, which has involved driving almost 2000 miles, traveling a further 500 as a passenger, visiting Newcastle, Edinburgh, Perth, Motherwell, East Kilbride, Belfast, Aviemore, Manchester and Kinross.

Manchester was the most geeky part of the whole trip, to see a recording, for radio 4, of Infinite Monkey cage, hosted as ever by Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince. This live in Manchester episode goes out on 21st November in the afternoon. It was odd being involved in the media production system though - multiple applauses at the end for them to run under the edits as the show as recorded went on for over an hour, and needs to be 28 mins by time of broadcast.

The rest of the holiday was altogether more restful, but even so, I;d still liek another week off before going back into work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nights... my thoughts

So we are hear again - the 'staying up late the night before'; the 'lying in as long as you can'; the 'fill the day with stuff that relaxes your brain'; the 'eat healthy food with carbs for long release energy'; the 'go to tesco and hoard sugary stuff'; and finally the 'large strong coffee as I head to work' - nights!

I like nights - it;'s when you as a junior get to make most of your critical decisions. You have less hassle of ward rounds etc (until morning). It's you, the patient and your clinical skills. It's very much dealing with what happens, very little planning and very adrenaline fuelled seat of your pants stuff.

In the simple world, when I am first on I deal with GP calls and A&E referrals of new patients, I clerk them and present them to ward round. The range of investigations I can get overnight is more limited than during the day, as are the senior opinion options. This is the relatively easy side, the part that relies on working through each patient, deciding what is wrong and commencing treatment. It's just like days, but with a bit more stress of not knowing how many you will need to see, and there only being 1.5 doctors, no FY1's and such like.

Being second on means ward cover. This is more daunting. 11 wards doesn't sound many it;s about 400 patients, including HDU, CCU, Renal, Haematology and such like. These are the complicated patients on huge list of drugs and for whom 'getting them to morning' may be the best your management plan can achieve. The specialist nurses on these wards frequently know far more about these patients than I do, and even more about their conditions. Their guidance whilst reassuring can also put you off the scent though.

We also have to act as a referral centre for regional services in some specialties where doctors at other hospitals will call and ask to refer a patient to us. We then call the consultant on call for that specialty and relay the info that the other doctor gave us. The consultant then gives us a list of more info they want and a game of phone call tag goes on with us as the centre!

All in all, where's that coffee!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I am pondering the latest volumes of careers advice to hit my inbox from NHS Education Scotland. I can imagine some of you shouting "You've got a career, remember the 5 years at Medical School....." before wandering away muttering. As ever with the NHS, it's not as simple as all that!

The idea is that after Foundation Training, you pick a specialty or group of specialties to train in. Some have Common Core Training (eg Surgery, medicine); some is more specialised from the start (Radiology, Obs/Gyn, Paeds). Anaesthetics is unusual in having 2 ways in - Pure Anaesthetics, or Acute Core Anaesthetics - this second option involves a common core of 3 years alongside Emergency Medicine and Acute Medicine (so some A&E experience) before popping out into year 3 of Anaesthetics training (cunningly meaning that one has two 'year 3's' for added confusion.

One also needs to have a strong CV to support the application, in terms of audit, commitment to specialty, other learning etc. So more work, more exams and more stress. Just when you thought it was all over....

Friday, July 8, 2011


So after various thing have happened at work, I now feel compelled to blog again. I think I blog when I have some free time, feel strongly about stuff and most likely when unsure of the future, some or all of which are coming into play together at the moment.

Basically, I have been pondering work and such like and lloking at some fine blog posts by other medical / para-medical professionals online and pondering about stuff. Also this week I have had 5 week nights in the flat in one week for the first time since some time back in March....maybe even February.

In that time I have changed hospital, twice, changed specialty, completed the FY1 e-portfolio of CPD learning, and decided to take the plunge and apply for an MSc in Internal medicine (online distance learning) so I may get a student card again, but hopefully no student loan.

It's fair to say that I have found surgery challenging. The consultants seem more remote a lot of the time, and senior support on the wards is often spartan - but often contactable by Pager.....the ward rounds happen whenever, but daily and are usually as brief as can be, even in HDU. So I think part of me misses the support of Medicine and the ease of contacting a senior. Also working for only one or at most 2 consultants made life easier and 2-3 days between ward rounds did allow some time for completing tasks rather than the 24hr time periods.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sorry for the delay

And the blog returns, a mere 6 months after the last post. a safe interval has now elapsed for any tales of work i tell not to be easily related to specific patients or staff or indeed wards.

With almost 7 months of general medicine behind me, it is a little daunting to consider that when I come to make my career choices in a year's time, this will be all the acute medicine I will have done. as I spend 3 out the next 4 blocks in surgical or related specialties.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The job

Well the wee hiatus of the past 4 weeks has been largely so that any stories I post cannot be linked in a time-wise manner to any specific patients etc, and also because adapting to the job of an Fy1 takes some time.

Firstly, time:
You start at 9 and finish at 5 most days, or as most of us do, 8.40-6ish (6ish meaning between 5.30 and 7). It' snot just that we are relatively inefficient as we are new to the job, but also because the boring mundane jobs tend to get left til last, like printing blood forms for the following morning, printing out radiology reports to stick in notes etc.

Secondly, food:
Being able to survive without food during working hours is a skill worth mastering. You may be lucky if you took lunch with you, and get to eat it over your PC whilst on hold to switchboard, accessing results etc on the PC and signing off filing. This however doesn't help digestion, and you may not want to read this report or this report about the cleanliness of NHS keyboards if you do eat lunch this way.

Thirdly, support:
If you are lucky then your ward SHO won;t have too many patients to see on other wards; clinics to attend to, or be on nights / receiving. under these circumstances they will help you with some of your tasks. if not, the prioritisation of what needs to be done now, today, or even this week is essential. achieving the list of jobs requiring doing between successive wardrounds is a skill, especially if there are only 2 days between ward rounds.

Fourthly, referring:
A skill not taught in medical school. How to present you patient in 3 paragraphs and explain to another specialist why you want them to come and see your patient and what you want them to do when they do so. This is often followed by a phone call from them wanting 200 bits of info - 50 of which you don't have and half of those are such that you cannot bluff them. this may necessitate ordering more blood tests, radiology etc, prior to the specialist coming to see your patient. This is especially difficult if the specialist is based at a different hospital as you need to obtain a phone number for the person, and then maybe a fax number to send the letter, and they always page you back when you are not near the notes for the patient concerned.

Finally, ward cover:
After 5pm, and at weekends, you may suddenly go from looking after one ward to looking after 7 or 8. Each nurse assumes you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their patient, and as such may not use names when referring to 'my wee man in room 3'. You may also start to hate your colleagues who have left 'the venflon no one has managed to do all day' or 'they need some fluids writing up but they have a special regime which isn't written down'. But you are fully aware that you may have done the same on nights when you just wanted to get away...

But in your first month all these can be forgiven on the day you pop into the medical business centre and find in your pigeon hole, a small self sealed perforated envelope with your name on it. Upon opening you see that the NHS has decided to reward this work, which is much like an onward progression of your final year med student shadowing role with a sum of money.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Growing pains?

At lunchtime today we had some small pondering about when was grown up - 21, 22, 23, 24 or is it not age related?? This discussion included the 4 pillars of grown-up-ness - car, live in life partner (we are very PC), mortgage, proper job.

The main reason for the discussion was that most of us are now approaching having 3 of the above, some lucky ones having all 4. but we don;t necessarily feel properly grown up. Maybe this all changes next week when we get paid and we have responsibilities....or maybe its a gradual process or morphing from students to adults.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Hospital

Running on Monday night on C4 at9pm.

It's factual, accurate and sadly likely to end up reflecting a chunk of my life from now on....

See here on 4OD (until end of August)


It's also annoying enough to make you want to shout at the TV.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bridging a gap

DSC02525, originally uploaded by djw1981.

On Thursday I was across in Fife seeing a friend for a meal, and on my way to kill time I stopped off at North Queensferry, and took this picture of the Forth bridge.

A Saturday off

Today is an interesting day. The first Saturday in ages when my diary was empty all day. i had a few 'could do' things but nothing I 'had' to do. I then checked back to find this was my first free Saturday since the end of revision, and going back before that, thus my first free Saturday since October 2009. So almost nine months.

And what have I done with this bonus thus far? Well.........I fell asleep reading the Saturday paper, woke up, listened to the 'Now Show' live instead of on podcast; went for a wander round Glasgow and the Merchant city festival, had a nice coffee and am contemplating what to have for tea at a sensible time.

Normal service is resumed next Saturday with doing sound for an event, the following week is the Fringe, the one after I'm at camp, then working my first weekend and at the fringe again to round off August!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time to move on

The first part of moving on has happened i guess.

Graduation has happened, GMC numbers and certificate have been received, induction dates and details have been receved, and I am slowly turning my flat into something more like ahome after 18 months of being an extension of a library.

After getting a safestore unit in june, i have moved all my notes from my first degree and years 1-3 of medicine togetehr with old receipts, camping stuff and even my christmas decorations into the safestore box. This has left me room to get all my books onto my bookshelves and leave my desk and table free to eat from!!

I even bought my first CD racks, after ten years of owning CDs (I thought I'd see if they stuck around before investing in a storage solution) and was so happy with it I even bought one for my DVD's. this tidy up and organisation hopefully makes my flat look less like a students work area and more like a relaxing living room. i can;t help thinking though that when I sort out my new fridge freezer and some new kitchen flooring the flat will look a bit more homely and less studenty.

Still one step at a time.

Holidays and delays

I thought I had posted this last week but it seems i clicked 'save as draft'
Just back from holiday in Gibraltar. Though the journey back seemed almost as long as the holiday. going out we were beset by a 4hour delay at Edinburgh airport due to Spanish and French air traffic controllers strikes. they don't actually walk out, just reduce the number of planes they control so they cause inconvenience but still get paid (please note BA cabin crew etc). This meant a whole 3hrs sleep at Gatwick before getting up for the early morning flight on to Gibraltar which was a mere 45 minutes late (same reason as above).

Gibraltar was nice and surprisingly for a small peninsula half filled with a huge rock there was quite a bit to do, including a chunk of sitting in the sun on a beach or by a pool reading a book. We even spent some time on top of the rock watching planes coming into land and the connected road closures - the main road runs across the runway at the airport. Whilst up the rock, one of the resident apes also stole my brother-in-law's ice cream, much to his displeasure.

The day we arrived had been misty and muggy but the Sunday through Friday were clear bright hot days. there must be something to do with travel for the Saturday we were coming home dawned overcast and windy. We got to the airport early (Dad aims for 15 minutes before check in opens) and checked in before heading through to the small departure lounge, which rapidly filled up with passengers for three flights back to the UK - easyjet, monarch and BA. all were showing a 40 minute delay. Just at the time the first plane was due down, we got an announcement saying that due to the wind and poor visibility, the easyjet and BA flights were diverting to Malaga airport.

15 minutes later they announced that BA would be attempting another landing in 30 minutes but that Easyjet had cancelled their flight and we should all queue up for a new flight. a rapid sprint back to the check in area saw us join the long queue to rearrange flights. We managed to get seats on the 2230 from Malaga (it was about 1300 at this point0, but with self arranged transport to malaga airport. the airport staff advised that the express bus did not run on Sundays so our choice was a taxi at 150Euro. This we did and arrived after visiting a Spanish cashpoint and being forced to decide if my debit card was 'Current account', 'savings account' or 'credit account'. Turned out that it only gave me money if I clicked 'credit account', so I assume that is what I have.

Malaga airport is soul-less devoid of character, devoid of shops and aimed solely at budget airlines and the charter market. As was becoming a common pattern, the 2230 flight left at 0030 next day allowing me some time to book a room at the Gatwick Hilton - their last remaining room. The minor issue being that I wanted it for 3 - myself and my sister & brother-in-law. The room was allegedly a 'compact family room' with a double bed and 2 bunk beds, but Hilton said it could only sleep 2 adults and adults could not use the bunk beds. Aye right. After checking in around 3am, we found that the lower bunk suited me fine.

Next morning we headed over to the terminal to check in for the Easyjet 1500 flight to Edinburgh. Which suddenly flicked on the online departure screen to 'contact airline' whilst still being open for check in at the airport. a quick sprint to the airline desk confirmed that it was in fact cancelled. The next Edinburgh seats were Wednesday, but they had Glasgow seats at 2100 but no guarantee that the plane would run. As we pondered the cost of rail tickets or car hire, I called BA and managed to get us 3 seats on the 2100 BA to Edinburgh (where the car was). After another 8 hours in Gatwick, we took off almost on time and made it safely back to Edinburgh.

Time to dust down my travel insurance claim forms now and write the story with supporting evidence for them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I just ran the BBC Budget calculator and it gave me a slightly surprising result; the only problem is that this takes no account of the effect of the VAT rise. I think my VAT bill will rise by more than £87 thus I will pay more, c'est la vie.

The indications are that you will be £85.75 better off.

Breakdown of difference

2010/11 £ 2011/12 £Difference £
Income tax5975.005775.00£200.00
National insurance 3012.353126.60£-114.25

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, etc

Tonight I went with butcher boy and the tattooed drinker to see Spamalot at the kings in Glasgow - a great show - good acting, some cracking songs and good comedy laughs - some scripted, some not!

The show really needs you to gfo to enjoy it fully - but there are some great audio clips at http://www.spamalotontour.co.uk/media/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I was reading Tom Harris' blog and tweets yesterday - he's a nice guy it seems, though quite institutionalised into Westminister. http://www.tomharris.org.uk/2010/06/15/carry-on-ipsa/#comments set me thinking

One thing I do wonder about is why MPs do casework. Would the transfer of this to CAB style organisations, and MPs concentrate on passing laws, debates and select committees improve our level of scrutiny and accountability. We seem to have confused the role of being our representative in parliament with being our highest representative to the executive organs of the government.

I guess this started, as in councils etc, when an elected member had a word on behalf of one of their friends / family with a civil servant in a bid to sort out a difficult situation or area of maladministration. However it has now progressed to the regular advice surgeries, which are to sort out housing, benefits etc not a forum for discussion on policy. Thus MPs seem to spend more time dealing with the fall out from poor legislation that debating and scrutinising to prevent poor legislation being written.

Personally I am amazed that a bill can make the statute books when it has not been picked over by all MPs clause by clause. With fewer public meetings and such fora for the constituent to tell the MP what their views are, how can the MP represent constituents - the answer I feel comes down to manifesto & pressure groups.

Manifesto - you vote for a list of national pledges and policies put forward by that candidate / party. This tends to mitigate against people standing up for their constituency interest where it conflicts with national party policy unless they are a seasoned and strong willed MP, but as party machines tighten their hold on seat selection etc, this may be waning.

Pressure groups - he who shouts loudest gets to influence policy? The postcard campaigns, emails, Fb groups and petitions etc which are undertaken to push a particular issue are the ones more likely to get an MPs attention perhaps especially with their high profile media and lobbying - most have a parliamentary officer, whom I am sure is doing more than just monitoring hansard for relevant comments.

Ah well back to BBC parliament to watch the IPSA debate!


I have decided that to make my flat more homely for starting work, I need to move all my old Uni notes into stopre so that I can have the current ones in the cupboard and then clear stuff out the living room to where the current notes live.

Thus I have been today measuring up at my Safestore Unit, and providing butcher boy with a temporary storage facility for his stuff. packing stuff up however tends to lead to some values judgements about the worth of the item being packed - can it be binned? thus so far; 3 bin bags of rubbish as well as 5 boxes of stuff have been sorted - this I think is about 30% of the stuff sorted!

hopefully this will free my living area to be a living area now i will have less work to do!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Sorry for the radio silence, I was away this past weekend down in london, meeting good friends, and family and such like. It was generally sunny and such like (it rained on Monday) and quite warm though nothing like the awful humidity last august.

On Thursday, after arrival I checked in then went down to Oxford St to buy some new shoes - to replace the ones i bought there last August - somehow I only find time to buy shoes when in London! I then picked up some other essentials and an extra phone charging battery thing. Then wandered home via the amazing St pancras Station; on the way passing the National Homeopathy Hospital and other medical stuff .

Friday saw me visiting the Imperial War Museum, and the London Bridge area for some lunch before jumping a train out to see my cousin & family. I haven;t seen her for almost 2 years now, so it was good to catch up with her and her husband over a curry and some beer watching the football; and also meet her newest daughter and renew acquaintance with the older daughter. they have just moved into a new house, which is pretty big (IMO) for inner London - nice sized rooms and a good sized garden, and very close to a station, allowing a quick trip back to the hotel.

On Saturday I was due to meet school friends Anna, Rach and Pete at tate modern in Southwark at noon. This was interesting due to some strange combinations of tube lines being closed; but we all made it, except Pete who had life delays. So we went for a nice walk around the Tate, seeing modern, impressionist, abstract and pother art forms - some was very good, some was interesting and some was a bit 'Huh'; we then headed over to St Paul's for a nice lunch and met up with Pete before wandering along for some drinks in a nice Samuel Smith's pub with its own ales and ciders - very tasty. Rach had to leave us but Pete invited Anna and I back to his flat for some tea - sausage and mash, a Pete classic - by combination of Tube and bus we reached his enclave in North London - with a view (just) of Essex. The day roudned off heading back into London, me to my hotel and Anna onward to Slough

Sunday was my big adventure; at lunchtime I headed to paddington to get the train to Slough to meet Anna and we headed for Windsor, after commenting (like 2 old people) about the dress sense (or not) or the Slough teenagers. In Windsor we picked up some tasty lunch - a roast beef dinner no less, in the Carpenters arm - a nice eaterie bar with a great view of the 'Crooked house'. the afternoon was really warm, so we started with a walk into the the 'Long Walk' of Windsor Great Park, and then back to a park for ice cream and a walk along the River, passing what we dubbed 'the Queen's kebab shop'; for it is opposite the back door to the castle! An early departure for London saw me walking from Paddington back to my hotel - approx 3 miles, through touristy boits of London which were becoming quieter as evening fell, including the University College Hospital which looks more like a bank headquarters, the Guardian building, British library and such like.

Monday was a touristy day, I dropped my case at the station and went to the British Museum, out to the Olympic site at Stratford, back via London Bridge to Picadilly, and then up Regent Street to the BBC and up to Regents Park and the Zoo, before heading through the rain to the Wellcome collection and then the train home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The end is nigh

That's it, that's done. My final Uni sign off is done, and following a 2hr lecture tomorrow and a drinks reception and after handing in my P for p workbook, full time Uni will be over, finished. As I left hospital today, the radio station played some Sinatra:

"And now the end is near; And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear; I'll state my case of which I'm certain

I've lived a life that's full; I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this; I did it my way

Regrets I've had a few; But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do; And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course; Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this; I did it my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew; When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt; I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way"
So now i head on towards my last long summer of work, weddings, holidays, fun, friends, and academic presentations and writing up papers containing some of my research from SSM's and electives.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mum's big birthday

The day that my exams finished was Mum's big Birthday celebration weekend away - her birthday having been mid exam period!

We headed up into the wilds of Scotland and stayed at a very nice hotel with minimal phone reception and a nice spa sauna place as well as a nice restaurant, great grounds and even a giant chess set!
Evenings after dinner were spent sat by a roaring fire playing board games. It was a great end to exams!

The main highlight of the Saturday was quad biking - dressing in hi vis suits, wellies, goggles and crash helmets....followed by an afternoon of swimming in the pool and using the gym and a nice tasty dinner.

Sunday was a nice massage and then lunch before heading home for a sleep prior to heading down to Cornwall; see previous posts


March involved a nice week break down in Cornwall with Mum & Dad


Apologies for the 2 month absence.

1. I passed my finals
2. I start as a Doctor in August
3. We were doing preparation for practice lectures which redefine the word dull.
4. I spent 3 weeks on a GI medicine ward as a junior FY1 type role.
5. I have spent evenings and weekends doing all the things I didn't have time to do between September and the end of exams....seeing friends, doing some work, seeing films, going to comedy shows etc.

Anyway more detailed updates will follow soon :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


After butcher boy doing me a favour yesterday, he emailed yesterday - I suppose it saves him having to do any real work, and asked if I was free to help with a short trip to Costco today to buy exciting supplies.

We also took his flatmate, who used to work with us all in the days of supermarket land and is now working in another branch of the public services. The summary:
  • huge tin of pretzels,
  • lots of juice
  • random foodstuffs
  • and of course tasty pizza and coke in the canteen whilst we divide the bill
All in all a good Saturday morning.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Will to carry on

It seems I am a hard person to get hold of.......last Summer - Augusty time, I drafted my will and poewer of attorney, as advised by the solicitor when I bought my flat in 2004. Anyway, having gotten round to it, I have at various times since been on Bute, busy, and studying, so it was today before the completed Will and I coincided for a signing. Now I just have to get a doctor to sign to say that I am of relatively sound mind, and get my sister to sign the Power of Attorney and it's all go.....

Opticians at 11 as well.

Because the will guy, and Butcher boy as the witness of my signature on the will, were coming round at 9am today, after yesterdays OSCE, I spent some time tidying the flat - well tidying as in putting all notes in a big pile; and hoovering and mopping the floors, doing all the dishes and wiping the benches, and moving anything to big / annoying / strange to be tidied easily, into the bedroom, which now looks like the storage yard for a junk shop.... Can't decide if I am running out of room, or just running out of sensible storage ideas. There is a big yellow storage place not far away.... I wonder......

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scores and next year

Well, last week the UKFPO published the jobs online. I got my 6th choice - moral don't choose popular choices because with a mediocre score you should not aim too high! So next year I shall be in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. I thus spent the end of the week ranking in order the 18 individual rotations (this is the 3rd or 4th level of ranking to get a job!) and thus know that I will be doing a combination of medicine and surgery and very little else.....

Then later in the week they published the scores breakdown for our questions (each section scores out of ten points:
1 - List previous degrees, papers, posters etc
- 8 points

2 - Describe a case from your clinical experience that you have observed in the first 24 hours from hospital admission. How did members of different professional teams interact and how did this contribute to effective patient care? What did you learn from this that will influence your future practice as a new doctor? (200 words) - 8 points

3 - Describe a case from your clinical experience that you have observed in the first 24 hours from hospital admission. How did members of different professional teams interact and how did this contribute to effective patient care? What did you learn from this that will influence your future practice as a new doctor? - 4 points

During a ward round on an ICU placement, a consultant was teaching me about ventilator function and the various modes available for use in a patient with pneumonia. The consultant organised a tutorial where, having established my background knowledge of respiratory anatomy and physiology, he used diagrams and patient scenarios and asked me to explain the pathophysiology of each patient, and choose a method of ventilation, justifying my choice. I found this tutorial approach very helpful.
As a middle grade doctor, I could be called upon to explain some of the clinical features of a disease, such as diabetes mellitus, to some junior colleagues. I would adopt the above approach with the colleague in a one-to-one situation and start by establishing the level of the colleague’s understanding of the relevant disease. From this, I would then lead them through any areas of poor understanding, before reviewing a number of selected cases so they can see why the disease leads to the presented clinical features, and the effect these have on a patient’s life. Finally I would present them with new cases to establish their understanding after the teaching, reviewing their answers with them.

4 - You are one of two foundation doctors on a ward round. The registrar identifies a minor error made by your colleague and makes inappropriate critical comments in front of the patient and the healthcare team. Your colleague is visibly distressed. What actions would you take and how would you prioritise these? What actions do you believe your colleague should take in relation to these comments? How might you address a minor error made by a more junior colleague in the future? - 10 points

As this is a difficult situation, taking place in a semi-public arena and involving a senior colleague, I would ask my distressed colleague if they were alright to continue or if they needed some time out to compose themselves. Before moving on I would reassure the patient regarding the minor error, and would check that the ward round notes were written up correctly, such that patient care was not adversely affected by this incident. After the ward round, I would approach the registrar and politely suggest that whilst errors need to be corrected, they should consider how they present their comments in front of patients.
My colleague should discuss this error with the registrar in order to learn from it, and request the registrar to discuss any failings with them privately rather than in front of others.
Were I to be the registrar, I would correct the error to ensure patient safety and good treatment. After the ward round I would discuss the matter in private with the foundation doctor explaining why the error could have caused problems. I would offer appropriate help e.g. individual training or tutorial to improve their understanding and prevent recurrence of the error.

5 - Describe one example from your medical training when you received feedback on an aspect of your performance. Explain how that feedback altered your subsequent practice. How will you use this experience to develop a specific aspect of your foundation training?- 6 points

Having observed the procedure several times, I was, under supervision, taking my first blood for culture, using aseptic technique. My setup was less than ideal. I contaminated equipment and had to replace it and start afresh. The supervisor took me aside and discussed the problem, emphasising the need for thorough preparation. They suggested that I plan carefully, listing the equipment required and checking I had collect it all prior to starting. They also demonstrated techniques for putting on sterile gloves without contaminating them. Overnight I read up the procedure and consulted the local protocol. The following day, the registrar asked me to repeat the procedure on another patient. I referred to my notes and the protocol, collected the required equipment, double checked it, and completed the procedure successfully without wastage or contamination.
I adopted this approach of observation, pre-reading, reference to local protocols and making notes for common procedures in this and subsequent placements, and have found that it increased my confidence and success at performing procedures. In foundation training I would continue with this approach to new procedures, consulting textbooks, familiarising myself with local protocols and carefully observing senior colleagues practice and amending my notes accordingly.

6 -
At times, the patient and the medical team have different ideas on the management of the patient’s illness, because of personal, social or cultural views held by the patient. Describe a clinical case where you have observed this. Identify the factors that contributed to these differing views. Why is it important to understand these differences in your practice as a foundation doctor? - 4 points

The summary of this is that I am rubbish at questions I work hard on and quite good at ones I drafted once.

Interestingly, due to an academic score of 34 (repeat a year) I made my academic score almost with part 1 which brought me to the same score as many of the academically gifted members of my year who did not have a degree. Thus the scoring discrepancy, and thus the first choice is jobs is based on ability to answer those questions.

The questions for 2009-10 were quite different to previous years and I am not sure if that helped or hindered.

Oh and as a PS - I know what to do if someone shouts at me - I got 10/10 above for that!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Theoretically half way

The written exams were Thursday & Friday and featured a bizarre selection of questions old and new - STI's, testicular masses, febrile convulsions, pelvic fractures, postural hypotension, hair loss, and more.

The Short Notes were again unusual - the ethics one being absed around adults with incapacity and the rights of relatives with 'welfare guardianship' rights; the public health one related to smoking prevalence.

Either way they are now both finishged and OSCE revision starts in earnest tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The hoodies are gathering

I am surrounded by hoodies, most of whom look as if they'd happily receive a hug......though not from David Cameron.

Yes, on level 5 of the Study area in the med school, the buzz of tension mixed with the swish of pages turning, the click of keyboards and the hum of the aircon is stifling conversations. The neat piles of empty coffee cups, M&S sandwich boxes, salad tubs and fruit salad trays are growing near the bin, and the dress code is heading from normal to comfy and homely - started with hoodies and jeans, now slippers are creeping in.

The earphones are in, and a selection of online music sources, podcasts etc are providing the soundtrack to our lives. Yes, we're heading through exam season, and as we all struggle with the same past papers, and identifying which antibiotics cause cholestatic jaundice; and debate the answer to mock EMQ 1.8 from the XX past paper etc, we are heading towards a camaraderie - those of us who choose to revise here and developing something of a bunker mentality/ blitz spirit.

And when it all comes down to it, we are all in it together.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pivotal month?

Far be it from me to declare any month as more important than it's colleagues, but.... Feb 2010 is pretty important to me - career-wise at least.

These pretty much fill February - writtens w/c 8th and OSCE w/c 22nd & 1st Mar. Nuff said - they decide if I graduate, if I have resits etc etc etc. This means that much of the rest of the month is built around revision.

Last Med Student Block
.........................Hopefully! This should be signed off tomorrow, again hopefully with a 10/10 pass. The coursework is all uploaded so everything on that side of things looks ok.

Programme details
Hopefully I find out which programme I will be on next year for Fy1 jobs. This is step 2 of the 3 stage 'find me a job' process. Step one assigned me to Scotland Foundation School, and Step 2 will allocate me (hopefully) to one of my top ten choices of programme (or I go into 2b where I have to re preference the remaining vacancies).

Much of the above is tentative and 'hopefully' and just to tempt fate I am planning as if I will pass!!