25 September 2007

Year 4 Week 3 - Mental Kids

(Not the patients, the freshers)

It's freshers fortnight this week.

It's also my first week back in hospital since July.

I've started my paeds firm properly now. To say it's organised chaos would give it too much credit, it's not particularly organised, half of us have been shunted out into the community, which isn't bad from a learning point of view, but we're essentially forgotten (and we have a fortnight of the same immediately after this firm).

However, I'm finding myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I like engaging with the patients and their families - on the good days it's far more laid back and fun than medicine for big people.

And yes, freshers started here this week (well, Saturday). At least this intake seem like a decent bunch at first glance, they've been out in force, they're almost all borderline alcoholics and they seem quite happy to dress up in the most ridiculously costumes - what more can you ask of them? For me, I've been good; I haven't pulled a fresher yet, I haven't destroyed one either (they don't need my help) and I've done my shifts and (mostly) got up for school the next morning. Not bad going really.

24 September 2007

Year 4 Week 2 - Mental Kids

Back in the swing of things, the year has started properly with me dipping my toes into the unchlorinated pool of paediatrics. I've sat through week of lectures, grossly inadequate to prepare us for the vastness of child health, and feel a bizarre combination of fascinated and truly terrified. A lot of the week focused on child mental health - behavioural problems, developmental disorders, mood disorders and the rest - I wasn't expecting much from it, to be honest, I only went because it's attendance is compulsory, however, I found a lot of the material fascinating, I'm really looking forward to learning more about it. However, a lecture on sick kids (and how quickly they die) mainly worried me, I'm not sure how I'll deal with that sort of thing. On a side note, I'm impressed by my own attendance - I've only actually taken one hungover afternoon off (attendance checks might not be all that bad a thing).

Year 4 Week 1 - DNA

No, nothing to do with genetics, in modern medical terminology - Did Not Attend.

I went to one introductory lecture this week, missed some very important stuff and will have to sort my life out early next week. So, really, I have nothing to say.

Except that I'm considering succumbing to the demands of my audience, both of them, and thinking about restarting this blog. I could say that I'm inspired by the likes of Nick Edwards
and Tom Reynolds, but I'm not particularly, I'm just bored and have plenty to say for meself.

7 February 2007

I Am Not A Drain On Society

Well, actually I am.

But the above is the title of Merys' Blog. Mery's is an ickle baby medical student who's struggle to get into medical school and her continuing struggle to get through it moderately unscathed make up her blog. To boot, she's also a very nice girl, albeit northern (but nobody's perfect).

Incidently, she recently entered the Love To Lead blogging competition and is within a hairs bredth of winning a shiny new laptop on which to spend hours studying medicine (and farting around on the interweb). It seems however that the two leading entries aren't proper blogs, one seems infact to be plagerised from another source, so I'd really appreciate it if you'd pop over and vote for her.

UH Comedy

I may have mentioned my respect for Dr Crippen before, if you have not read his blog I urge you to do so now.

The good doctor recently posted with reference to the UH Comedy Revue, an annual gathering of the five London medical schools to perform a sketch show or medic humour. You can read the post in question here.

I have no doubt that Dr Crippen included this in his blog, rightly or wrongly, because it supports his views on nurse practitioners.

What astounded me was the vitriolic comments that this attracted from our nursing collegues. Is the nursing profession having a sense of humour failure?

The UH comedy revue is written, performed and produced solely by medical students. It unashamedly has a laugh at the expense of things that medical students find funny - I think it fair to say that we are not the general public and we do not share the same humour. It is at times dark, nasty and thoroughly thoroughly black. It is quite certainly not politically correct and anything is considered a valid target, particularly those that we work with, be they doctors, nurses, patients or stillborn infants (thanks Guys).

As a sketch, this was performed particularly well by Imperial and was particularly well recieved by an audience made up of students from all five London schools.

So what's the problem with the sketch?

I would be particularly disappointed to see nurses not only teaching medical students but also proscribing what they are allowed to find humorous.

6 February 2007


I'm not.

So christ alone knows why I wanted to run for election.

5 February 2007

Arse Kissing

The excellent Dr Placebo has recently published a post on Arse Kissing, naturally it's a somewhat negative piece.

My own views on brown-nosing aren't straightforward, obviously it's not socially acceptable and can lead to some serious unpleasantness. But when you think about it, we all do it, at least a little.

I challenge anyone to tell their boss exactly what they think of them or their ideas. Nobody does. Concsiously or otherwise, people talk to everyone else with the aim of ultimately benefiting themselves. In medicine it would be unheard of for a student to openly disagree with a consultant; in every operation it's almost pro forma to complement the surgeon on their skill. Is this brown nosing?

Work Hard, Play Hard

Are medical students less sociable these days?

I's an often quoted fact 'that' in years gone by medical students were almost exclusively middle class white boys who spent the vast majority of their time drinking daddy's money away in the union. By all accounts, they, and the unions, had a great time.

Now, with significantly more diverse students, is the social ethic disappearing from medical school?

Union attence is down across the country, there are fewer sports teams than there have been and the culture is notably far more work oriented. It's worth considering whether this is necessarilly a bad thing? You might say no, surely a future doctor who concentrates on work is preferable. To an extent, I'd disagree.

Medicine has always been an extremely sociable profession, it's almost a prequisite of the job that a doctor is a team oriented person with excellent people and communications skills. It may be a generalisation, albeit with a basis in fact, that the most sociable people tend to be those with the people skills who have the ability to get on with people. I can identify the people I'd want to work in a high workload, high pressure job with and they aren't the ones who know everything.

Of course there is a time and a place for knowledge, but it certainly shouldn't become the be all and end all.

Two Types Of Medical Student?

I don't know all that many medics who attempt to epitomise perfection.

Personally, I'd split them roughly in half, there's those that are a member of a sports team, involved in the union, drink a fair amount of alcohol, are sociable and so on. The other half study hard, spend entire days in the library and seem to have few friends outside of study groups.

Of course there's a middle ground and all sorts of exceptions, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that most medical students are towards one of the extremes.

So, who's right?

I don't think that there's a really noticable academic difference. Of course those that fail and scrape through are more likely to be of the former group and the academic superstars are more likely to be the latter, but most are in the middle.

What concerns me is that with the advent of MMC, the new medical job system or Mangling Medical Careers and the changing demographics of medical admissions more medical students drift towards the latter group. This has serious implications for students unions, in the long term, if this trend continues, sports teams will struggle to find players, unions will become unsustainable and eventually close.

Now when we can clearly see that those who are involved and those who do have a good time at medical school can do equally well academically as those who don't, we have to ask, who does this benefit?

Not the student, that's for sure.

16 December 2006


Yes, I've been away for a bit, I apologise unreservedly now.

You see, in the words of modern medical education, I have been experiencing the patient pathway from an alternative perspective.

I've been a punter.

If you've ever been in hospital, you know it's not a pleasant experience. Let me tell you, it's even worse when you know exactly how fucked up it all is.

I dunno whether other patients would remind nurses when they need time critical medication, I dunno whether other patients would question inappropriate medication prescribing or administration, I dunno whether other patients would be as nervous as I was if they knew too much about their condition.

Anyway, back now and only slightly worse for wear.

(And I would like that thank everyone who sent get well soon messages, it was very much appreciated)