This past week has had a number of firsts for me – first week on the wards, first on call shift, first breaking bad news session and the first vaginal delivery that I have seen. All in all it was a good week, although things really didn’t start that way.
Start of the week – I was eager to make an impression and so planned to head into the surgical ward a little earlier to meet the doctor. In my eagerness I forgot the critical door code for the change rooms. This meant I had to sneak into the change rooms from the back way through the patients entrance much to the nurses chagrin. By the time I had talked my way past the nurses station and found my way into a set of scrubs I was late. This was definitely not the impression I had wanted to make on the first day. To make matters worse I was with the antagonistic anesthesiologist who forgot nothing and bugged me about everything.
Despite the bad start and the insentient teasing from the attending doctor, I have to admit I learned a tonne. By the end of the first day I could start an IV, intubate and extubate patients and by day 3 I was working on my lumbar puncture skills. This was of course all done under the watchful eye of the doctor who would not let me live down any mistakes made and who was quick to jump in if the IV was taking more than 2 pokes (I do honestly feel for the patients here and want to definitely thank those that I came across for their patience).
As I mentioned above this week also had my first on call shift. The on call policy is a little different here than it is in the big city. For one there is one resident and one medical student on for the entire hospital for the night. You can be (and will be) called for anything and everything. There seems to be a lot of leeway with what I am to do so long as I discuss with another doctor or resident … Vitum Medicinus gives probably the best run down of what the first night is like if you’re at all curious read it here.
This week brought 70 hours of work and a learning curve where it honestly felt like I was preparing for an exam every day (with the exception of the academic 1/2 day). It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I think I am finally beginning to realize just how hard this year will be and how much I will enjoy it. Finally – the wards!