Sunday, 30 January 2011

F1 Choices

Don't worry, I'm not that organised that I'm thinking about F1 yet, I just got a very interesting email from my medical school I thought I'd share to see what your thoughts were.  As you no doubt would have heard, this year for the first time overseas students were allowed to apply for F1/F2 jobs, and in December this year 180 UK graduating medical students weren't allocated foundation jobs, although apparently they will all be placed by August.  This is important because you don't get full GMC registration until you have completed your F1 year.  Furthermore, medical schools take on more and more students each year because apparently there's a shortage of Dr's in this country, although it seems there's a demand for trained Dr's but not the resources to train us.  To try and stop this from happening again the Medical Schools Council have come up with three options:

  1. Extra assessments like situational judgement tests, clinical skills test and communication tests to help allocate F1 jobs.  
  2. Grant full GMC registration on graduation
  3. Link F1 year with the undergraduate degree so you stay in your locality to do your F1 job, and then compete for F2 jobs.  
Admittedly, I haven't looked into how the whole foundation places thing works yet, as it's miles off for me and I figured it would probably all change again by the time I got there, so I'm not as knowledgeable about it all as I'd like.  However, options 1 and 3 don't really seem to address the problem to me?  3 just moves the point at which there will be a problem - fantastic, well done you've graduated and done the horrible stressful F1 year and become registered, now if you want to practise as the Dr you've spent years trying to become, take your student debt and leave the country, or find another line of work.  How is that right?  

Option 1 assumes that medical schools haven't prepared you well enough for F1/F2 years.  Although I'm sure it's true not all medical students are created equal, surely (but maybe naively) if you weren't good enough to be an F1 you wouldn't have passed finals - is that not how the medical school conveyor belt works?  Equally, I thought GAMSAT was expensive enough, I'm shocked at how much the Royal College of [insert profession here] exams are that I've heard about, how much am I going to have to pay to do the assessments to let me do the job I've trained for?  By the time I graduate, it will have cost a lot of money to train me, what a waste if I can't get a job.  And what am I supposed to do with the £60,000 of student debt I'll have by that time?

As for option 2, I'm not sure why you aren't GMC registered after graduation anyway, so I can't really comment on that, but it seems that makes it easier for our home students to push off and take their skills elsewhere, and leave the Dr-ing to the overseas Dr's coming in to do.  What do you think?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Awesome day

Well yesterday was a pretty awesome day :)  In parts, bits of it were a bit weird, but it started and ended well, so overall - super smiley bean.  At 8am I logged in to student logbook whilst quickly bolting down some breakfast, to see the magic words "AMK - satisfactory".  I passed!!  I had wanted to do better than last time, stay in the top 50% of my cohort, get a satisfactory, and I was secretly hoping for double figures, but would admit that that may have been pushing it a little.  I am super happy to say I did all that.  last time I got 8, this time I got 14.  I cycled to work to spend the day being a waitress for some people who had hired out the seminar room at the GP's and I was their tea lady ._.  Meh, I got paid for it.  Can't complain.  In the evening, I went to a lecture, given by Professor Parveen Kumar who co-wrote the bible that is Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine.  It was nice.  We were told there would be some GI teaching, but it turned out to be a lecture on how we could change the world with medicine.  It was very inspirational, but practising medicine in a third world country is not my sort of thing.  She was talking about electives and how to go about making a change that is worthwhile and beneficial to the local culture, without imposing your views on them.  I also got my copy of Kumar and Clarke signed :D  And I totally don't care if that makes me sad.  I now have two signed books - my Kumar and a Rosie and Jim book my Mum had signed by John Cunliffe for me when I was 4 and ill in hospital.  So... I'm pretty buzzing at the moment.  Wandering around with a fuzzy grin on my face. Doesn't happen too often, but I'm enjoying it.  For Harry Potter fans I was in the inspiration for the Leaky Cauldron earlier on this week - they do awesome pizza.  And the inspiration for Diagon Alley is my favourite place in Exeter, although it was before I realised it was connected to the book.  Apart from that, this week has been pretty quiet.  Another case unit, this time about asthma, which is perfect timing as mine has just started to flare up again because I was a silly bean and cycled somewhere in the cold last week with no scarf on.  Boring stats lectures, hours at work and lectures.  All pretty standard.  I hope your interviews are coming through as you want, and good luck at them :)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Influential, dress-up bean

Placement this week was with a school nurse.  My schools didn't have school nurses, so I didn't really know what to expect. I was envisaging spending two hours watching nurses give out paracetamol and sticky plasters.  Instead it was a two hour lecture on the school nurse system and their roles and responsibilities, mainly focussing on the child protection aspect.  This finished with the nurse telling us a couple of stories of previous cases she had worked on - one about teen pregnancy and one on sexual child abuse.  The stories took place over many years and you could tell she really cared about the people she was looking after, and even got quite emotional.  I certainly didn't recognise that school nurses would get continuity of care like GP's did.  A midwife looks after you from birth to 10 days (up to 28 if they have specific concerns), then a community health visitor looks after you from 10 days to 4.5 years.  The school nurse then takes over until you are 18.  Most of their referrals come from teachers or students, but every time a policeman picks up a young person they call the school nurse the child is under to inform them.  It was really interesting, but would have been better suited to a lecture than a placement.

Tuesday I got to play dress-up!!  In clinical skills we learnt how to scrub in for surgery and theatre etiquette.  Is it really necessary to wash your hands 9 times?! Ha, my blisters were not amused.  We also learnt to suture, which I thought would have been easier because I went to that workshop on it, but it turned out the lady demonstrating does it a different way to the guy that taught me before, so it wasn't as straight forward as I was hoping it was going to be.  Ah well, more time in the self directed learning lab for me.

Today I had a very nice lunch - it was free :)  We had an email sent round asking for students from all years to go to an hour long meeting about community placements and give our feedback to the deans and placement staff.  I went, but there was only me and one other student, a fourth year.  It was pretty cool to be in a room with all theses GP's and important staff looking at us and actually being interested in what we have to say.  To the extent that I think they'll be making some changes based on our opinions which was pretty awesome.  I'd say if you could go to any meetings like that at your uni, definitely go.  It's quite fascinating to see the inner workings of it, and I'm not normally into things like that.  And as I said, I think it might have done some good.

Tomorrow will see me strapping on a set of plastic breasts as we learn how to do breast examination in clinical skills, and on that visual... good night :)

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Well this week seemed to go by very quickly, I meant to blog much sooner.  This week I have returned to normal with case units and standard lecture patterns, so that's been nice.  We have new PBL groups, and the first session went well, so I'm hopeful.  I was strange because everyone came to the session all used to doing things differently, ad the facilitator was no different.  We are supposed to sit down and work out our own group rules *Yawn* but she was full of "this is how my groups have done it in the past and it worked so this is what we shall do, happy? Right, good continue".  It seemed to work well, although I still don't understand the merits of electing one of the group to be chairperson, as it works just as well with everyone chipping ideas in and being equal.

Also this week I have done my second AMK, and this one counts for something.  I think (pray/hope....) I have done better on it than last time.  I answered more questions and felt a bit more confident.  Some of them I know from talking to others I definitely got right, and there are some that I chickened out of answering because I wasn't 100% sure, but have since found out I was right which is frustrating.  For revision I re-read topics I knew might come up that we had done and I had become hazy over, and I went through some bits of Crash Course in General Medicine which has chapters called Patient Presents With and then common symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath.  It tells you what it might be and what you should do about it, and just picking at that I found gave me answers to some of the questions, and a few of the ones I had an inkling about but wasn't totally sure, so I think it's a good revision idea for next time.

I had an academic tutor meeting, which left me quite frustrated.  My academic tutor grades my Portfolio Assessments: the one I said I waffled through about Independent Learning.  For grading, you can either get unsatisfactory, borderline, satisfactory or excellent.  She gave me a satisfactory, which ordinarily I would be fine with - I'm happy it's a pass.  However, she went through my essay and marked everywhere where I had ticked off a requirement in the mark scheme.  Since I wrote it to the mark scheme I had all the points ticked off which she was very pleased with, but I didn't get an excellent, because apparently she had a mark scheme in her head that I didn't correspond with.  What now?  I'm perfect for the medical school's required standard, but not to the one he made up?  I understood the points she made and agree my essay was lacking in those areas, but it's still annoying.  I may be a little bit of a perfectionist... in case you hadn't spotted.

Mr came down because he had some free time he hadn't anticipated and it was so nice to wake up with him in the mornings and come home and tell him all about my day.  We didn't do anything terribly exciting as I had work and lectures but it was still lovely to have him around.  Finally, I went rowing this morning on a really long outing and have so many blisters my poor hands are shredded.  I'm not looking forward to clinical skills on Tuesday because I think we are learning how to scrub up for surgery and I really don't want to have to wash my hands too many times, or let alcohol hand gel go anywhere near them. Shampoo in the shower was bad enough.  I shall go bathe them in moisturiser to try and get them to heal in time.  Hope you had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Another holiday brings another last day at work and I can resume normal blogging service.  I hope you all had a good holiday.  I liked not having new work to do, but I did miss being immersed in medicine.  Pensions somehow isn't as fun as it used to be now I have this whole other side to my life.  I have some new followers which is amazing, hi guys!  I also had some comments on old post which I'd like to address.  I try to be as ambiguous as possible, and I'm really not that accurate with those parts of my memory anyway, so I highly doubt any of the people I talk about could be identifiable.  You only got my side of the story with the frustrations with my group, and I'm pretty certain they had some issues with me too, which was confirmed in my peer review forms. I use this blog as a place to empty my head - I'm not talking to anyone in particular, so although those who know me might have worked out who I am, to the rest of you it's anonymous.  Plus, people who know me have no real reason for reading this blog, they know what I'm doing.  Unless they are trawling for me to dish the dirt on someone, which isn't going to happen and is quite petty.  Besides, venting is good for the soul. I've set up an email address for people to ask questions, and those who have I'll be answering soon!  Despite the low med work load, there still seems to be heaps to do ._.

Now that's done with, time for the proper catch up.  Christmas was quiet as the relatives who were supposed to be visiting got snowed in, but luckily the snow went in time for the mr and I to go to London for New Year's.  Once again the fireworks were amazing, although I was a little disappointed I didn't get to go to any of the museums I wanted to because they were shut :(
NYE Fireworks, taken by me
It was nice to spend so much time with the mr again, it won't happen for a while.  I managed to get a load of lecture notes typed up again after losing them all with the hard drive.  Sugarsync has extended their double bonus for a few more months, so you can still get an extra 500MB for clicking the link.  I was listening to some Podmedics podcasts on the train to London and this lead me to some other medical podcasts so I'll let you know if I find any that are particularly useful once I've heard a few more.  The next lot of placement allocations went up and this term I'll be visiting school nurses, an alcoholics charity, a brain injury charity and the GP's where I work, so a real mix of stuff.  I'm looking forward to the brain injury on because I think we'll be helping at an activity rehabilitation morning, and the opportunity to see the other side of my GP's surgery to the administrator side I get now.  I'm not really looking forward to the alcoholics charity one, because from what I've heard from others who have done it, it's a presentation where they come to us and tell us about their work in the local prison.  Whilst I'm sure what they do is interesting and useful, one thing I like most about placement is that we get to go out and do things and see things be done in different settings.  Giving me another presentation is just like another lecture.  However, I shall reserve judgement until I've done it.  They may yet blow me away.

We have had a consolidation week to catch up on some bits and revisit topics we have covered in different contexts so we don't end up thinking things like all oxygen dissociation curve stuff is fetal connected because that's when we first saw it.  It's a good idea I think, although I'll admit I haven't made the best use of it as I didn't realise there would be work to do in it so I told work I could do this week. I shan't make that mistake again.  Looking through the topic list I'm certain there are things on it we haven't covered, and the next AMK is next week so this isn't the time to get insecure about all the mountains of stuff I don'tknow yet.  Luckily the slight panic is being subdued by rediscovering the Return of the Champions album by Quenn + Paul Rodgers on Spotify.  I'm a sucker for a good guitar riff and this is such a beautiful album stressage simply rolls away.... Sorry for such a bitty post, I'll see you again on the other side of the AMK.  Happy Friday for tomorrow!