Even if I try to pretend otherwise, being a medical student is a huge part of my life. I never planned on writing about my experience of med school here, but I guess it would make for an entertaining read in 10 years time when I'm hopefully qualified.
The truth is, I sway between loving being a medic, and hating the fact that medicine has taken my life. I'll try to focus on the positives here and make it vaguely interesting for non-medics. I also have to add a disclaimer that due to the patient confidentiality all clinical encounters described here will be either inventions of my imagination or completely anonymous.
I'm now in 4th and penultimate year of my training, which means my life evolves around hospital placements and taking selfies in scrubs in the changing rooms. Since the middle of the 3rd year until last Friday I spent 15 weeks in general medical ward, 15 weeks in surgical wards, and 16 weeks on placements of my choice (in my case 12 weeks in neonatology, i.e. medicine of tiny humans, and 4 in gynaecological oncology). The final phase is all about exploring all the different specialities, and making sure that if I'm placed in a speciality ward such as obstetrics & gynaecology as a junior doctor, I'll be able to take care of my patients and will at least recognise their diagnoses written in the clinical notes.
I thought as an introduction to I would post something I wrote on the train on my first day of med school (as cliche as this may sound, this actually happened, including the title). I apologise for the lofty tone and pretentiousness.
I'm finally there
Having spent so many years dreaming about being a medical student and asking myself a question: “what am I lacking that they have?”, I'm finally there - on a train to my first day in medical school.As painful to read as it is now, I'm glad I saved this file. At the time it was really a dream come true, now I sometimes struggle to remember why I've gotten myslef into all this.
It's reassuring to have a perspective of a graduate student. I know what the university life is like, I know how to avoid plagiarism, structure and edit my essays and reference properly. What I do not know is if I will fit in. One would think that ' fitting in' is a major worry of teenagers. They are the ones who are growing up, rebel against their parents, wear black T-shirts and wear wooden necklaces and refuse to shower. All of that to fit into the group of their equally lost peers. And I can't help but wonder, what are the new medical students prepared to do in order to fit in.
First of all, from a perspective of someone who spent 3 years looking at med students with jealousy, I can assume that my idea of them is somehow skewed. They always dress more smartly than other students, have their sleeves rolled up, are never late, excel in sports and music, are involved in charity work and occupy the best spots in the library with piles of cool looking textbooks. Is it only me who's got this image stuck in my head? Now that I realised I'm going to be one of them, I need to decide for myself, do I want to become this seemingly stuck-up person, who whenever gets asked 'what do you do' replies with pride - Medicine and invariably gets an eyebrow rise from the person who has asked?
My answer would be no. I do not want to give this impression of medicine being superior to any other subject. But what if it becomes second nature? What if it turns out, that if you don't do this, you'll no longer fit in? For now, I'm going to focus on the curriculum, try and enjoy my learning experience as much as possible, knowing that this will get me a degree I have always dreamt of. And if anyone asks me, what do you do, I'm going to reply : Medicine, but try and keep my voice down and a humble expression on my face.
Currently, I'm on ENT (ear nose and throat aka otolaryngology) placement, which has been fun so far. I saw some cool surgeries already, including myringoplasty which is basically a reconstruction of the ear drum using a part of the patient's own skull connective tissue.
At least I don't faint in surgery anymore. Not having to be escorted out of the operating theatre is always a bonus, especially when you got a chance to scrub in and assist during the surgery...
So, are there any medics reading along? Reveal yourself.
PS. (Polish title of this post is: Z pamietnika mlodej lekarki)