Week 3 was Shortness of Breath. There weren't really any focussed respiratory sessions, it was more a case of turning up and hoping that there would be a patient who was short of breath. We had placements on the Medical Assessment Unit and in ED Majors and Minors. The stand out experience by far was ED Minors, surprisingly. When we turned up they were short staffed and really busy, so they told us to look at the screen, call the next patient through, clerk them, think of some differentials and management plans and find someone to present them to. My partner and I looked at each other in disbelief. Although this was similar to our ISCE’s only a few months ago, we hadn't been given the opportunity to do anything like that since and we were both worried we’d miss something important from being rusty. It turned out to be the best afternoon I could have hoped for. I had all the tools I needed to clerk patients, I just didn't have the confidence in my own abilities to trust and use them.
The first patient I saw was a tricky one, as they had come in thinking they knew what the problem was, but what they were describing didn't fit with that at all. On top of that, there was a significant language barrier, so they were having to type words into their phone to get translations so they could understand me and me them. When I presented them back, the Doctor agreed with my diagnosis and that was the confidence boost I needed. I stayed for four hours in the end, I was enjoying myself so much.