Friday, 19 September 2008

I hate to say I told you so...

I know I promised that I wouldn't moan or mention Manchester again but I couldn't resist.

As I said in this post I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this years National Student Survey results on the unistats website, particularly the student satisfaction aspect.

Manchester - 30th out of 32 medical schools who provided enough data.

Ouch - that has to hurt. At least now you don't just have to take my word for it. And when I advise potential students to avoid Manchester like the plague - I can provide a bit more evidence than just my experience.

More hospital tales this weekend.....

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The first month!

Ok ladies and gentlemen, it has been over a month since I started life as a real life doctor. We're now completely settled in our new flat and have the Internet up and running. I'm clearly out of practice when it comes to blogging and my Google reader says I have 857 unread items, at some point I want to catch up with at least some of them.

The first month has, as you might expect, been rather eventful. From writing my first prescription to my first on call, dealing with my first death (not my fault, I should add) to my first pay day, and PLENTY of hospital politics in between.

The first week was rather terrifying, and it wasn't made any easier by my consultant being on holiday for the first two weeks. Thank god for the rest of the team! - WRONG! Half of my registrar (yes half - there are two of them who job share) is on long term sick and the other half also just happened to be on holiday during my first week. And the SHO - well, somewhere along the line they seem to have forgotten about them entirely and replaced them with me!!! For those of you who don't know much about hospitals let me simplify things a little - I was left entirely on my own! Had I not done a few days shadowing prior to starting my role being left on my own would have been a rather catastrophic event. In reality it wasn't that bad at all (not from my point of view anyway - the patients might tell a different story).

I coped by stumbling around the ward attempting to do my own ward rounds - having no idea what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I don't think I killed anyone which is pretty remarkable considering. The other doctors, and nurses were great in helping me out as much as possible. I got very excited during my first day when I prescribed some antibiotic eardrops based on my own diagnosis (although I had to ask the pharmacist which ones to give) - so its not exactly a life saving decision but it was one of the first decisions I made all by myself and with nobody senior to monitor it!

There are so many stories to tell from those first few days but now they seem like a distant memory. The first month has certainly gone faster than I ever imagined it would, and of course with that came the first pay day - all I've got to say about that is that I'm now entitled to moan about being a tax payer - there are FAR too many deductions! Payday was very, very welcome indeed. It is well said that the worst time to be a patient in hospital is the first week in August when all the newbies start - whilst you would probably want to avoid that period I can now say with some certainty that the worst day ever to be ill in hospital is the day after the first pay-day for all the newly qualified doctors! Remember that at the end of August next year and avoid being admitted to hospital at all costs!

Following my first week, the staffing levels improved but only marginally - I had help from another team's SHO, and half of my registrar made it in for 2 days. When my consultant got back it was a huge relief although then came a huge exodus of all the patients I'd been looking after - who by now had been ready for discharge for about a week - I certainly wasn't going to send anyone home myself! Normally people leaving hospital is a good thing right? Well not for me, because every time someone leaves, another patient who is invariably sicker and more complicated takes their place!

My first month has had more than its fair share of 'office' politics, there has already been a resignation on my ward. I gained 6 extra patients to add to the 20-odd I was already looking after and the half of my registrar who wasn't off had a heart attack and is only in hospital as a patient! All in all - it's chaos. A nightmare for the nurses, dangerous for the patients and bewildering for me. Nevertheless, I'm actually really enjoying being a doctor. I don't feel I'm any good at it yet - hopefully that feeling comes with experience but it is certainly interesting, quite good fun and most of all (after five years just racking up debt)- PAID!

That's all for now folks but stay tuned for more stories now I'm hopefully up and blogging again.