Today was the first time I got to use my stethoscope (Purple, initials engraved for those freshers who wonder) on a real life, actual person. Ok, so it was another student, but it was the first bit of medicine I have done that wasn't pretend or on a manikin. And it wasn't exactly taxing being as it was taking a blood pressure, but I'm still excited. Well, excited but exhausted. In the two hour session we covered examining a pregnant abdomen including determining position and lie, fundal height, fetal heart rate, blood pressure manually and with a steth, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature aurally and under the tongue, and plotting it all on obs charts. It was interesting and good fun, but man - my brain was leaking out of my ear by the end. Just complete information overload. And to top it off, we have competency tests on it in a couple of weeks. Eeek!
Even more of an eek is that tomorrow I have my first exam. An AMK - acquired medical knowledge test, that will be 125 questions in 3 hours, multiple choice with 4 options and a don't know option. 1 mark for a correct answer, -0.25 for an incorrect answer and 0 for a don't know. The test is set at Junior Doctor level, although I was told last week that even a consultant would only get 60%, so I'm a little confused at that. I also get the feeling this is the test that will be sat by all Doctors every five years after qualifying to retain their license to practice under the new guidelines. I think we are only supposed to be getting about 2% because it's our first one, and technically it's formative so it doesn't count for anything anyway, but it's still fairly terrifying.
Most people on my course will be stressing I think because they will be used to getting 90%+. Having done a degree and had proven to me on many occasions I know nothing, this does not bother me so much. What is most nerve wrecking for me is that you can't revise. I'm a great one for cramming, but you just can't for this. There's so much I don't know, I wouldn't know where to begin. I'm confident in what I do know, but that amounts to pretty much nothing in the grand scheme of what I should know in order to do well in this test. I'm also worried that I'll recognise some of the words from my biomedical days and be tempted to have a punt and end up doing worse than I should. The questions are all clinical cases including symptoms and test results requiring a diagnosis, or what would you do in this situation (with the answer conveniently being some GMC guideline on the appropriate action to take), so I think I might recognise some of the answers, but never have looked at the science in a clinical context I'm not going to know the symptoms. Fingers crossed I can show restraint tomorrow. Wish me luck!
I have more news to tell about my midwife placement and confrontations with my PBL group, but I think I will leave that to later on this week and go to bed now with some camomile tea to try and abate the insomnia I always get before an exam. See you on the other side.