Medical Mondays – the transition

First year was a lot about cramming, you crammed (what you thought was a big) list of drugs for conditions such as malaria, alongside lots of other seemingly irrelevant conditions that 1/100,000,000 people contract every ten years and anything that seemed likely to cause you any extra work was disregarded with a quick “I’m sure we’ll cover that next year”. Well, this is next year, and I totally regret it…

It’s quite tricky, in a sense, training to be a doctor. On the one hand you really want to pass the exam so you cram niche facts for the sake of it, but another facet that’s becoming more apparent is that one day, I’ll need to use this knowledge to actually treat people. This really challenged me because every time I skipped over an “additional information” box so I could have an extra ten minutes watching The Great British Bake Off, could be the difference between nailing and missing a diagnosis in clinics.

Ok, so that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get my point! I’m hoping that with my last week of preclinical medicine fast approaching, the fact that people’s lives may very well be in my hands one day, will spur me to change the way I learn.

One thing that makes second year that much different, is that the stuff we learned this year is more of what I always expected from medical school: limbs, drugs, chronic diseases, the brain – Stuff people would be more willing to discuss (I mean, would you really sustain a conversation about the diarrhoea you just got over from that holiday in Spain?). This does, however introduce an odd dynamic to everyday chat.

An old friend of mine recently told me she was diagnosed with a pretty serious condition, and having just finished our repro module, inside I was buzzing with tonnes of questions in the standard, slightly morbid medical student fashion, about symptoms, causes, consultation, treatment, surgery, but you have to balance this out and be there for them, meeting them where they’re at, rather than playing twenty questions.

This has become increasingly common over the last year, but I guess it’s experiences like this that’ll ultimately shape the doctor you become, and trying to find the balance between between them will have a big impact on a patient, making them feel less of a case and more like a valued individual; We’ve all had enough experiences with good and bad doctors to know the difference it makes!

B

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