Saturday, 25 April 2015

Day in the Life of a Fourth Year Medical Student


It's been another one of those whirlwind weeks that I think are basically going to be the theme of my current obs & gynae placement. So with very little time to get up to much else, this seems like the perfect week to write a 'Day in the Life' post. I've wanted to write one for ages, but actually I don't have such thing as a 'typical' day and so it's really hard to choose I day I think best represents what I get up to. So here's just one example of a day in my life from this week...

This is one of those early starts placements, and today I'm up at 6am to prepare for the day. I could probably get up later, but I like being able to take my time about getting ready (which by the way is one of my top tips for making mornings easier). I like to either have the radio or the news on my iPad in the morning - it's my way of staying up-to-date with what's going on in the world.

I always have breakfast before going into the hospital - I can spend a lot of time on my feet, there's not always much time to stop and snack, and if I'm going to be going into theatre the last thing I want is to suddenly feel faint! I vary my breakfasts a lot and today I'm having a bowl of fruit and nuts, orange juice and a coffee. 

I leave the house and make the 30 minute walk to the hospital I'm currently placed at. It's much easier leaving early when it's sunny outside already! 

Today I'll be shadowing doctors on the central delivery suite (labour ward), so I head there and find the changing rooms. I change into scrubs and I'm provided with a very fetching pair of orange clogs to wear. I also meet the other medical student I'm with today - it's always helpful to have a familiar face when we're constantly spending time in different parts of the hospital.

I make my way to the staff room on the ward and meet the doctors and midwives who are on shift today. At 8 o'clock the night team doctors hand over to the day team, letting them know about the events overnight and updating them on the patients who are in.

I join the ward round, going with the team to see any of the women who need input from the doctors, finding out what's happened so far and listening to what plans are made for continuing with their care. After the ward round the team splits up and so I go with the consultant to see a couple of patients and discuss their symptoms and management.

There are some elective C-sections this morning and the obstetricians invite me to come and watch one. I meet the woman and check that she's happy for me to be present during her operation - happily she says yes and so I get to watch the procedure. I don't usually like spending time in theatre, I much prefer when I get to chat to patients and I find operations hard to follow, but even I can understand what's going on when the baby is lifted out! I love watching the parents at this point - especially the dads with their camera phones capturing photos of the moment their child is born. I stay in theatre while the obstetricians stitch the incision closed and they talk me through the operation so that I learn from it.

I go back to the delivery suite and follow the doctors there again, attending a crash call and the review of a couple of patients. During any downtime I also make sure to have something to eat and drink and write some notes in my logbook and portfolio - both will be checked at the end of the placement so I need to keep them up to date with what I'm actually doing!

The ward gets very quiet and my scheduled shift is due to end so I get changed out of my scrubs and head off to a sunny spot nearby to eat what's left of my lunch - having already eaten most of it while sitting in the staff room with some of the doctors.

It's then back to the hospital ready for an afternoon of teaching on some of the important topics in obs & gynae. Three and half hours of teaching on a Friday afternoon isn't especially fun, but it has to be done - especially as exams are looming on the horizon... It is however made a lot better by the leftover free food from a lunchtime conference that just finished!

I get home and catch up with a couple of housemates who are in. We're all on different placements so it's nice to find out what everyone else has been up to. Ordinarily I'd also do a little bit of work in the early evening, but this has been such a long week that I know I just need a night off. I have a couple of emails to deal with, and then spend the rest of the evening reading magazines, watching Netflix and eating dinner before heading to bed and looking forward to not having an alarm go off in the morning!


Monday, 20 April 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I've been nominated for many posts like this, that I might one day get around to writing answers for! But Hannah from Pull Yourself Together is currently one of my absolute favourite bloggers with her down to earth posts and frank discussions around mental health (plus she's a medical student which means she must be awesome), so I couldn't wait to get answering her questions.

The rules:
- Link and thank the blogger that has nominated you
- Answer the 10 questions created for you
- Create 10 questions for your nominees
- Nominate 10 sister bloggers to receive the award

1) What do you personally think is the best thing about blogging?
It's a cliché, but definitely the interaction with other bloggers. I just didn't know that it was like this until I got involved. I've been in touch with some really lovely people and found people that I have so much in common with.

2) What one thing is guaranteed to make you cry?

Seeing other people cry at something emotional. I can usually hold in the tears, but if someone else starts, there's a pretty good chance I will too. I've got my first shifts on the delivery suite on my obstetrics placement this week - let's see if there are any emotional parents when the babies are born!

3) What would you say is your favourite restaurant?

This probably changes day to day. I like a complete variety of different foods and haven't found anywhere yet that would be outstanding enough to be my favourite!

4) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I'd love to go back to South Africa, and perhaps be on a safari.Or just anywhere warm, sunny and with some delicious food and drink. I'm not fussy.

5) If you could only save three things from your house if it was on fire, what would they be?

I'll answer this based on my uni house rather than home... I have less stuff here so it's easier! Although I don't really anything sentimental or especially valuable here either, so it would be all practical things - my phone so I could call for help, my ipad and my laptop!

6) What is the one fashion trend that you won't be trying this SS15?
Can someone quickly update me on what the fashion trends are for SS15?! I tend not to follow trends too much and instead just stick to what I know and like. I'll experiment with different prints and colours, but if the trends are too far away from my normal style I probably won't be trying them!

7) What is your pet hate?

Laziness. I can be seem pretty tolerant on the outside, but I hate when people leave little things that could be done in seconds!

8) What is your favourite scent?
I haven't yet found a scent that I really, really love and want to wear forever, but my favourite at the moment is Valentina by Valentino.

9) What is the word/phrase that you use way too much?

"Hello, my name is Jennifer and I'm a fourth year medical student..." Obviously it's really important to introduce myself to everyone, but I do get tired of repeating this about a hundred times a day!

10) Where do you see your blog in the future?

Hopefully still existing - I'm pretty determined to at least carry this on past a year! I'd love to see my blog grow, gain more followers and for me to showcase more of the things I get up to in life. 

Here are the bloggers I'm nominating, do go have a read of their blogs if you don't already!
Jasmin from Jasmin Charlotte
Joelle from February Girl
Hannah from Hannah Bakes Things
Katy from Little Miss Katy
Jane from Deluminators
Chloe from Chloe's Concept
Sarah from Nosebag NI
Imogen from Imogen Scribbles

And here are the questions if you would like to answer them:
1. Who would you most like to spend an afternoon with?
2. How long would you be able to cope without internet?
3. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you choose?
4. If you could live in a TV series, which would you pick?
5. What's your dream job?
6. What's something you have learned recently?
7. What is the achievement you're most proud of?
8. What's your go-to order in a coffee shop?
9. What's your favourite blogging tip?
10. How do you most like to relax?



Saturday, 18 April 2015

Let's Catch Up

Wow, this week has been something of a whirlwind. I know I say every week is busy, but this has been especially busy! 

The reason is, I've started back for the last term of the year - straight into eight weeks of placement which will be followed by end of year exams so there's a lot of work to be done. When I've not been in the hospital desperately trying to build myself some sort of timetable of clinics, theatres and shadowing sessions, I've been at home trying to stay on top of what I should be learning... life of a fourth year medic!

Although I've been super busy with working and placement, I don't feel like I've had more than about five minutes this week to do anything blog-related. But now I'm writing on a sunny Saturday afternoon here are some of the things I've done this week aside from agonising over timetables (it really has been bad enough to mention twice).

I came back to Bristol on Sunday evening and made sure to have a properly relaxing last night before restarting placement. Fresh bedding, towels and pyjamas, candles and Suits on Netflix were all components in a final rest before the start of the summer term.

My siblings and I managed to get through a pretty impressive amount of sweets over the Easter holiday, and while I have absolutely no regrets about that, I was certainly ready to eat some slightly healthier things again. Fewer Sour Patch Kids, more fruit and nuts... I've also been trying out a couple of different teas, camomile for switching off at night and a delicious strawberry and raspberry flavour that I might try chilling.

Wednesday night was a much needed night off -someone had spotted that prosecco was on offer in our local Co-op so my housemates and I spent the evening with a glass of wine each in front of the TV. It's easy to get completely wrapped up in work at this time of year, so I really appreciated the break.

Last night I decided to bake, having not done so in absolutely ages. I've had the recipe for a chocolate fudge cake bookmarked in my Great British Bake Off recipe book for months and thought this was a great opportunity to try it out. However, starting baking at 8pm at night was a terrible idea- by 10pm all I wanted to do was go to bed so I didn't wait for the cake to cool before taking it out of the tins. Which is how I ended up with this rather disappointing mess, the result of literally just sticking it all together as best as possible... (it does still taste great though).

Next week hopefully I'll be back to having a bit more time... and if not, at least my time is going to be spent with the midwives and doctors on the delivery suite which is pretty exciting!

What have you been up to this week?

Friday, 10 April 2015

Shaun in the City

While spending an afternoon wandering around London in the sunshine, we came across a few of the sculptures placed around the city. We hadn't intended to go looking for the Shaun the Sheep sculptures forming part of the Shaun in the City trail, but they are so eye catching we couldn't miss the few we did pass!

Getting photos of them was much harder than you'd think - far too many children ignoring the 'Do Not Climb' signs, but of the five we passed, I did manage to get a quick snap of three. The sculptures seem to be perfectly placed to allow you to get a good shot of some famous landmarks too!

The Shaun in the City trail is currently in London until the 25th May with 50 sculptures dotted around the capital. I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to find anymore, but the good news is that a further 70 will appear in Bristol in July. The Shaun in the City trails are part of an appeal for the Wallace and Gromit's Children's Charity and The Grand Appeal which help children who are in hospital. You can find out plenty more about the project at the website right here.



"To Sheep Perchance to Dream"

Have you spotted any of the Shaun sculptures? If you've featured them on your blog feel free to leave a link!


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Confession - I Don't Like Poldark...

"Have either of you watched Poldark?" 

"We've tried - but neither of us can get into it!"

"I am so glad you've said that - me neither!"

Over a delicious falafel lunch the other day, sheltering from the rain and squeezing the meal into the gap between a contraception tutorial at the sexual health clinic and an afternoon of lectures on fetal health, my friends and I discussed the latest period drama - Poldark. 

Everyone's been talking about it and so many people have recommended it to me that I thought it was worth a watch. I'd been looking for a good new series to get into now that Call the Midwife was over. And a good period drama to fill in the gaps when there's no Downton Abbey on seemed ideal. 

Now the one problem with on-demand TV services like BBC iPlayer is that I never feel any great hurry to start watching things. I'm actually pretty rubbish at sitting down by myself to watch TV on catch up and I generally find five or six other things to do first. Never agree to watch a series with me - you'll be waiting forever or quickly find yourself five episodes ahead! So because of this, by the time I eventually found I'd exhausted my list of other things to do (is it weird that I procrastinate for watching TV?!) I already had three episodes of Poldark lined up to watch. Which would be excellent if I loved it and wanted a marathon of Poldark watching, slightly intimidating if I liked it but not enough to make it my priority in life, or just a perfect excuse not to bother with it if I hated it.

I got comfy in bed, arranged the cushions just so and propped up my iPad and started the first episode... 

I was about twenty minutes in before I realised I had no idea what was going on. In fact, the only bit I could even remember was a bit that had been shown on Gogglebox. Not exactly a great start. I'm not really sure what it is about Poldark that I don't like. Perhaps it's the dark scenes or the slightly complicated language. Maybe it's just the time period. I love Downton Abbey partly because it's recent enough to just about relate to. 1780s Cornwall? No idea about that.

I persevered up to thirty seven minutes before deciding it just wasn't for me. I can be pretty ruthless with TV programmes - if I don't like the first episode I very rarely ever re-watch it to 'try again' or force myself to watch the next episode in case it gets better. I don't watch things just because I 'should'. But even the friends I'd discussed with said they'd tried rewatching it multiple times and still hadn't liked it.

I just can't get into the story. The only character's name I can remember is Ross Poldark. I have no idea who he is or what it's all about. I really tried to concentrate, but my mind kept drifting. The programme just doesn't grip me. And I don't want to have to put effort into watching TV. If I can't follow it when I try to give it my undivided attention, how on earth will I watch it while making dinner or cleaning the kitchen?! (Constant multitasking has become my way of life.)

Other opinions go something along the lines of "well yes, I guess it's not the most interesting. But it's worth it just for the guy who plays Poldark." Which doesn't seem like the best reason to spend an hour every week watching something I'm not following. I mean, sure he's alright looking but I have far better things to do with my life!

So when my friend asked the other day if I watched it, the three of us were all pretty relieved to find that we all shared the same opinion. It sounds silly to be scared to admit to disliking a programme that everyone else is raving about, but when the rest of your friends seem to love something, it's easy to just go along with it.

From now on, I'll stick to watching the 'highlights' via Gogglebox (my new favourite way to watch TV to be honest) and work on finally getting through Season 3 of Suits... and maybe even getting to the end of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 

Have you been watching Poldark? Do you think I'm missing out? Or are you secretly not that into it either?!


Thursday, 2 April 2015

The A to Z of Me - Part 2

Last week I started my A to Z of facts about me, but because I know you're all busy people with far better things to do than read about me all day (it's ok. I understand), I've split it up into four posts. I got as far as G in the first post, so now it's time to do H through to M...

H is for Horse Riding
There was no way this was going to be anything else really! I think I was about nine years old when I first started horse riding and I rode regularly until halfway through my third year of university. It all began with a riding lesson on holiday and turned into weekly lessons for the next ten years or so. I haven't had the time for a horse of my own (that's something for the future maybe), but I was a member of the Pony Club and did a few low key competitions at the stables where I learned to ride. I managed to keep up riding at university and was secretary of the Riding Club in second year. Sadly moving away on placements meant I could no longer get to our weekly lessons and it's now been over a year since I last rode!

I is for Italian
No I'm not Italian, but I did study the language for five years and did two school exchanges to Florence. I found Italian slightly harder than French (which was unusual but hey that's me) and I certainly haven't kept it up quite as well. It's a fun language though and I do wish that I could speak it better. If only to stop Italian waiters correcting me in restaurants...

J is for Japanese
Sticking with the languages theme (this is the last one though!), I also studied Japanese for a year when I was eleven. My secondary school was a language college, hence all the languages! Because I was getting on well with French and Italian, they put me into an extra class to study Japanese. However, I couldn't really get my head around learning a new alphabet (and that was only one, I think they have about three) and so didn't do very well. Now all I remember is how to count to five and how to introduce someone as my friend (or possibly give my phone number. I can never remember what the phrase actually means).

K is for Kate Middleton
It took me ages to think of anything for K and I know she's technically meant to be called Duchess of Cambridge now but this'll do... She's one of my favourite style inspirations with her classy dresses and smart heels. If I could have anyone's wardrobe, it would be her's. And her hair while we're at it... 

L is for London
I grew up in the suburbs of London and while I'm not desperate to ever live or work long term right in the city centre, I do love London. It definitely feels like home and I enjoy being able to get into central London easily and enjoy everything it has to offer. Moving away from London has made me appreciate it even more, although it does also prompt people to comment on me not having a 'London accent' - we don't all sound like we're on Eastenders you know!

M is for Magazines
I love buying and reading magazines - and I'm really bad at throwing them away! Most months I'll buy Glamour and Cosmopolitan as a treat for myself, and then enjoy a couple of hours settling down to read them. A lot of my time is spent reading medical things, so these are the perfect way to switch off from medicine.

And that takes us to halfway! The next two posts will be up in the next couple of weeks with facts N to Z so make sure not to miss out!

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