Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. When I last posted I was doing my research project. I’m glad to say that I’ve since finished it and passed it with good marks!
At the beginning of January we started our first specialist clinical placements. My first block was in GP. Last year on clinical placements we weren’t placed on any particular speciality, but instead rotated around lots of different random areas (geriatrics, ortho, paeds, O&G, derm, ophthalmology etc…) and basically had to learn a bit about everything. We did 3 of these 10 week blocks from January until August – the 1st one to concentrate on history and examination, the 2nd to focus on diagnosis/investigations and the 3rd to look at basic management. We also did 1 day a week in a GP surgery. At the time these blocks felt quite unstructured, but I appreciate that they’ve given us a good grounding in basic clinical knowledge. This year however we have 8 speciality rotations, a revision block and then final exams (which take place this time next year – a scary thought!). The order of rotations I have is:
So basically, by the end of each rotation we need to have enough knowledge in that area required to pass finals. So even though finals are a whole year away, we have to start preparing for them now. We got given a massive list of learning objectives we need to know for finals and it’s pretty scary! Thankfully though, as GP is so broad and covers a bit of most specialities, all of the GP learning objectives are covered again in other blocks, which took the pressure off a bit for this first block. This turned out to be a good thing as GP block had a load of extra pieces of work and sign offs which most blocks didn’t require. Over the 6 week block we had to do a minimum of 18 consultations, 3 OSLERS, 1 assessed case discussion, 1 mini-CEX, a therapeutics presentation, an end of life presentation, film and get feedback (from our tutor and student group) on 2 consultations, multiple SIM sessions with actors pretending to be patients (including breaking bad news where I had to tell a lady she had incurable cancer), 1 piece of written reflection, 1 end of block OSLER in exam conditions and an end of block written exam. Add onto that the fact that the GP surgery I was placed at was a 56 mile round trip, meaning that I had to leave the house at 7:20am and didn’t get home until 6:30pm, and I’m pretty tired by the end of this block!
I have enjoyed the block though. My GP surgery was really well run and everyone was lovely. I feel that I’ve learnt a lot and that I’ve massively improved my consultation skills. For some of our consultations the GP allowed us (myself and my clinical partner – one person doing the consultation, the other observing) to do the consultation independently, and the GP just came in at the end to hear what we’d found and to make sure that they were happy with our diagnosis and treatment. This was rather scary, but also exciting as it meant we were doing actual doctor stuff by ourselves rather than just observing!
This week was our last week of the block. I’m pleased to say that I’ve had everything signed off for the block, and so next week I’ll be starting my paediatrics block. I’m slightly apprehensive as I haven’t done a lot of paeds so far and I’ll have a lot to learn. I’m also getting married this year, so on top of all of my uni work I’m also trying to organise everything for the wedding and our honeymoon!