Silvan: For me, it was the GP time on placement. I got to do suturing on a patient. It was really good to be able to do the entire thing in full, rather than the last two to three stitches, with the assistance of the supervisor. It felt like I was taking that next step up.
Cheyenne (MBBS4): I had a sensitive case that sticks in my mind. I took a patient history for a patient with a difficult case and reported it back to the Senior Medical Officers. It was a really good learning opportunity, because being a more sensitive case, I had to focus on my problem-solving skills while also practising clear and compassionate communication. There was also the opportunity to follow up with the patient and to be helpful in what was a very challenging situation for them.
Nicholas: For me, it was a patient who came in with chest pain. Under the direct supervision of the Senior Medical Officer, I was allowed to take a history, do a physical exam and let the Senior Medical Officer know what I’d like to do next. I felt like I could back my clinical knowledge on the case in terms of decision-making and understanding of pathophysiology, investigations and management. It was an awesome learning experience.
How have you found stepping up with more responsibility?
Silvan: As a fourth-year, this placement has translated preclinical knowledge into a clinical perspective quite well. It does stretch you in many ways; having to collect and synthesise a lot of information on the spot and relay it back to your supervising doctor. It hones everything you’ve learned over the past three years. Overall, I feel like this placement has really shifted my thinking to that clinical mindset.
Callum: In the pre-clinical years (MBBS1-3), I did feel sometimes that I was ‘going through the motions’ as my studies geared towards assessment rather than clinical practice. Now being in fourth year, with the emphasis on putting skills into practice, you can see the point of the foundational learning.
It feels like you can place confidence in the baseline understanding of pathology and use it to contribute to diagnoses. It makes you feel a bit more competent. You’re helping someone's journey as opposed to it being purely about your own learning.
Silvan: Yeah, even things like taking blood for instance, in second-year it was more micro-managed and you had a clinician following your every step. Whereas now, when you're out here, you’re not just doing these skills to tick the box of your training. Yes, we are here to learn, but you do feel more like you are part of a healthcare team working for the patients.
Cheyenne: Yeah, I definitely agree. In this placement, you actually felt like you're contributing something to the hospital, which is a really nice feeling. Especially in the emergency department, it is very hands-on. You put the theory into practice, and you also see that the patient you’re treating might be different to the ‘textbook patient’. It encourages you to revisit your previous learnings, while adding brand new experiences.
Nicholas: It’s been great. As a sixth year, I’ve been given a lot of autonomy and responsibility. It’s been great to develop professional relationships with the staff and gain their trust, but also to become comfortable and proficient at the everyday jobs expected of me during my internship next year. I really feel a part of the team, and that I can positively contribute to patient care.