AC1 – Week 3

Monday

Into the big wide world! It feels weird not being in lectures on Mondays, I
am so used to dragging myself out of bed to go to 9am’s and now it is
completely different. Well, not so different, I am still up ridiculously early
to catch the bus to get to hospital for 8:30am, so I guess some things stay the
same!

I got to hospital for my first CLO. These are clinical learning opportunities
where we shadow anyone but doctors in the hospital. Today I had the REACT team.
It was slightly different to what I was expecting, well, a LOT different to
what I was expecting but I ended up loving it anyway. REACT is a team at UH
which prepares elderly patients for transfer back home and suggests any
adaptions they may need. I ended up hanging around in ED and went to see a patient
being screened to go home. It was interesting to see how patients are assessed
and the gentleman we were talking to was lovely.

After, my tutor had to go and make a call, so I ended up just waiting. I
wanted to be pro-active, so I ended up popping back into the gentleman’s room
to listen to his chest as he had an infection and I wanted to hear what that
sounded like.

After, my tutor suggested I go and see a patient with Parkinson’s who had significantly
deteriorated and was severely ill. I went into the room and instead of throwing
21 questions at the wife, I ended up just helping her care for her husband by
helping her clean her husband’s beard from custard. The wife looked exhausted
and my first instinct is tea, tea solves everything. I dashed off to make her
some, so I now know where the tea station is in ED (which I believe will come in
handy) and when I came back, she was alone. I asked if she had had anything to
eat and managed to find her some (very dry, very crumbly toast). I went to sit
with her just to offer some comfort, but I was whisked away by my supervisor, I
hope I helped her a little though!

In the afternoon I was convinced I had bedside teaching, so I went to sign in
but couldn’t find my name. Turns out, I was meant to be in clinical skills
teaching learning how to take blood, starting 10 minutes ago. I raced up to the
third floor and collapsed into a chair. Learning to take blood felt amazing, it
really feels like a step up from first year, and I am hoping that I will now be
more useful on the wards than before. It’s weird, I’ve finally learned the
technique I’ve been wanting to learn since day one, but it’s not been the best
part of my day. I still wonder what happened to the lady whom I met in the
morning, and just getting her a cup of tea reminded me why I want to keep going
with my medical degree and why I became a walking textbook in first year.

In the evening Will came around to celebrate him passing his second-year
exams and the two of us managed to successfully cook a damn good dinner!

Tuesday

First day in Uni with the Freshers. I’m not going to lie. I am an over
excited puppy, so I was excited to get to the med school, but I was also aware
of the mountain of work I currently have brewing. We had our CBL finish in the
morning and then I decided that I would try to get some work done before
afternoon lectures. I ended up just basically distracting myself for an hour
and doing 10 minutes of actual work.

In the afternoon we had a lecture on cannulation and the anatomy behind the
technique. This was slightly weird as with the first years now here, we got
kicked out of our MTC, and we are now in the MSB, haven’t figured out if I am
pleased or not about that yet!

In the evening I FINALLY had my first SSC1 session. I am doing Middlemarch –
Medical Humanities. The book was written by George Elliott, of whom one of our
teaching hospitals is named after. The module focuses on Humanities in Medicine
which is a nice break from the pace of normal lectures. I have several ideas of
what to do, so I am excited to start putting them into place.

In the evening I finally got to meet my amazing medic kids. I am married to
Kat, a fellow Neuro in my year, and we have two kids who are Neuro inclined 😀
It was lovely meeting them and it was our daughters birthday so naturally I had
to embarrass her in front of everyone there by getting her a cake and singing
happy birthday at the top of my lungs, what can I say, I am OWNING this embarrassing
parent lark :D.

I also got to meet some other freshers and chat to them how their week is
going, everyone seems lovely and I even got recognized for my blog a few times
which felt really humbling. I’m glad I’ve helped others get to where I am!

I got home late and basically collapsed on the bed and was knocked out to
the world.

Wednesday

Pretty standard day, we had a 9am lecture on UTI and then a two-hour lecture
on Delirium and Confusion… which left us all confused. It was a Neuro lecture
so I should have loved it, but I am dreading typing that lecture up!

We then had some free time (sorry to rub it in first years) so I spent the
afternoon making rather fetching brain hats and a game to win a cuddly neuron
for fresher’s fair that evening. There was glue and Sellotape everywhere, but I
was pleased with the result and even my anatomy professor loved them!

We had freshers fair in the evening which was brilliant. We got a lot of
sign ups and I am pleased to say that the “pairs” game I had made
brought out the competitive med student in everyone. I was exhausted by the end
though, so I made it back and again collapsed into bed. The plan is to sell
more raffle tickets next week so Freshers, come and get your soaps!

Thursday

We had a Neuroimaging 9am lecture so of course I was excited. Radiology is beginning
to become a speciality I am really intrigued by especially the Interventional
side as it means we can fix patients problems without having to operate. I’ve
got the contact for a Radiologist at UH so I am going to email to see if I can
find out more.

After our morning lectures had finished, I spent the rest of the day
following Matt around as he took photos for his Med Project. He is going to
take photos of first years throughout their journey at medical school and see
how they change and how their perspectives differ throughout the year.
Considering Matt is normally behind the lens, he normally does not have many
photos of him (despite his cannula porn type arms see the image below)
so I used my limited photography skills to take some photos of him taking photos!
We also ended up in my Anatomy lecturer’s office doing a mini photo shoot and
got talking to her about teaching as I really want to build up my portfolio.

She also has an incredible book called “The Secret Language of
Anatomy” of which I believe my medic dad will love and I certainly do. It
is a book that tells you the origins of certain anatomical names of the body, I sadly geeked waaay too much over it.

 

Friday

This is what I have been waiting for, a day off!! I let myself sleep in until I naturally woke up, well, until a couple of my freshers rang my door bell.

I had a slow morning, sorting out the To-Do list and eating a perfect sausage sandwich, of which knowing that fact has greatly improved your lives :,)

I basically spent the day catching up on lectures and had to head to Tesco to grab a new flask as mine was taken over move in weekend. Turns out this new flask leaks more than an old tin roof. In the evening I went climbing with Matt and got signed off ! I now feel like a grown up on the climbing wall 😀

Advice for New Warwick First years

First off, sorry guys. I did make and edit a video but behold technology hates me, so here we are.

Firstly, bring snacks. Lots of them. I got to the middle of the afternoon
and was starving! The vending machine is not the cheapest thing in the universe
either so bring something to curb that 3pm dip. It may be only two hours till
hometime but it really makes a difference. Same goes for lunch, the cafe up
there (well, in fact anywhere on campus) is expensive and you don’t want to be
spending your precious money on that!

Secondly, Greys anatomy is brilliant for the workbooks you’ll
be given. A lot of the pictures are “label this”, if you look in greys, the
exact same image is normally there saving you time. These will become the bane
of your life but looking back, I really wish I had completed mine properly,
they provide clinical detail to a “label and colour” anatomy session.

Thirdly, get involved! This can be anything from Medic Parents
to Student seminars. First year is hard and getting involved with things that
go on can make you forget about Phase One which is essential. There is so much to do
here Medic Revue, Medic Take Me out, Winter trips, Wilderness trips, Medic
Balls. Don’t be a stranger, come and say hi to us!

Speaking of getting involved. The first week is there for
you to settle into Warwick and adjust to your new life. You do not need to be
catching up on every lecture, every session etc. Go to the Freshers events,
please go to Freshers fair (and visit the Neuroscience table!) and go on the
bar crawls. You thank yourself when you hit the back of block one going into
block two that you took that time off! (Also, Doctors and Nurses is not to be
missed, yes you have a 8am the next day but its tradition!)

Keep your notes legible and try your best to have every
lecture written down. You don’t want to be getting to revision and finding you
have no notes for an entire block. You don’t have to be up to date every day,
just make sure that you have at least 90% of the block written up by the end of
the block. Keep your notes organised , and just know where everything is.

Ask for help. No one is here to prove that they are god of Medicine.
 You are allowed to ask for help. A good
source of information is actually your fellow peers! Remember, you are on a GEM
course, people are coming with such a wide range of backgrounds that you will
all have expertise in different areas. If that fails go to the lecturers, they
are lovely and WANT you to do well. (Just ask Ellie in anatomy about the
afternoon we spent three hours with her on the arm). Finally, if you don’t feel
comfortable yet going to the lecturers come to us, your second years. We know
what you are going through, we survived it!

Formatives are there just as a guide. They do not count
towards your grade, if you fail, there is no problem whatsoever. I never passed
any of mine until I got to two weeks before exams. So, relax 😊

Finally, enjoy every second of it. First year is brilliant, hard and stressful but looking back , it was the best year. Be as cheesy
as you want, take every selfie you want, and smile through the hard times,
after all. You’re here at Med School!

Please come and say hello to me, I am USELESS at recognising
faces so please forgive me if I can’t remember your name even if you had told
it to me 4 seconds ago. I am normally in the Med School ( I seem to live there)
and I am known to be a good tea maker if you ever need a chat.

 

Anyway, I will let you get to sleep ! Good Luck !

 

 

AC1 – Week 1

Monday

Wow, could this week start off to a more chaotic start? Managed to lock myself out of my room 30 minutes before I had to be at the med school. Thankfully, security did come and bail me out. It was raining so I had my headphones on, hood up and walking to get there as fast as I could. This did mean however, I barged straight past some of the people in my year XD.

We got to the med school and I had to pick up some papers regarding AC1 placement in hospital, learning outcomes book and our clinical skills handbooks. Unfortunately, that pack did also contain our “beloved” anatomy books which I only have to do for two weeks this year!

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Keeping up traditions

I was really happy with my timetable! I got all the clinical learning outcomes I had wanted to get (especially paediatric play specialists) there’s just the small issue of somehow making it back to Cov from Rugby in the space of two hours on one of the days using public transport. I think that might be a tad impossible. We also got assigned our bedside teaching groups of which there is just me and one other person. No pressure there Kim! It does mean virtually one to one teaching but it does mean we have fewer people to hide behind if we don’t know something. I’m trying to google the docs we will have as teachers to try and do some pre-reading but alas, they are so hard to find!

We had the normal intro lectures, you know the Welcome back and such and such. There was a lot of “give yourself a round of applause for getting through year one” and the applause was one of the most genuine from my year, 😀

AC1 is a bit of a transition period for us. Getting used to not just learning how something goes wrong, but what it does and how we fix it. Its like taking that small step up. I am a bit apprehensive, but it should be ok. I am relaxing more as the week ticks on, and only 7 more days till I get my flat !

We also had the introduction of clincial partners, which really cranked the stress o meter inside me up. We have to choose people to basically put up with us on the wards and GP land from January. I will be going to George Elliott come March so I have to pick the people in my stream. Ideally, I would pick my best friend on the course but we have been advised this is a no go. So I am kinda left on my own, and I hate going up to people to ask. I feel like that’s putting them on the spot so they kinda have to say yes. I’m hoping something gets sorted otherwise I am paired with a random person and I think the stress of changing learning styles/enviroment and getting to know someone new will do me no favours.

We had a couple of lectures in the afternoon two being PPD/ Soc Pop based looking at errors in thinking and how we can prevent them. It was kinda scary thinking about it all and for most of the categories I could think of a time where I screwed up due to one of these factors. We also got a bit of Neuroscience thrown in so I was a happy bunny. Our final lecture was Anatomy of lymph drainage with Tunstall and it was really nice to see a familiar lecturer on a day where so much had been changed. However, half way through my brain had given up.

We escaped the med school at 4pm (early finish whoop) and I basically went straight back to my flat and went to do some work but basically argued with Student Finance for half an hour who have mucked up our payment schedules. Well, apparently it was Warwick who have coded it wrong but either way, I kinda need to be paid before the 30th if I am getting to hospital :D.

After that I attempted to get some work done but I could feel the tiredness hitting. Turn out I wasnt alone! So many people in my year hit their beds ridiculously early last night and I was a zombie from about 7:30pm ! Better get this stamina back up again if I am going to survive this year !
Tuesday

Slightly better start ! The sun was shining and I left early enough to have an amble walk up to the med school. On the way I bumped into Joanna and we were laughing about how tired we are and discussing SSC1. Most people start theirs today but mine does not start until the 24th , which is actually good because I still need to finish the book 😀

We had two lectures about hypertension and you can see the shift to clinical practise already. The lecture focused on treatment rather than physiology and we started to learn NICE guidelines which I have been told are needed for the exam this year.

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It was a long morning as we also had a CBL intro where we met our new group. No offence to my old group but I needed the change. We were all pretty stressed during block 5 so I think I associate my old group with that stress! We had to figure out who was born the furthest away from the Med School (Michael had it with Blackpool beating me by only 10 miles !) and we discussed about scribing and chairing for the next session. I jumped at scribing, I really enjoy it and I would rather be focused in CBL this week than having my mind worrying about CP’s. Matt ended up being chair so we are pretty content.

The afternoon consisted of a welcome lecture from our phase 2 lead who was off helping with the second year OSCE’s yesterday and I heard last year he made subtle remarks about using Youtube and Instagram and patient confidentialty essentially hinting at the two bloggers in the year above to watch what they do, thankfully I escaped this ! We then had a talk about assesments and we have a changed paper this year with the new hybrid paper. Instead of having MCQ’s and SAQ’s in different papers we will be given two papers with a mixture which I think I am going to prefer.

After I sat and did some work in the med school settling back into my normal spot of which I was glued to last year. Trouble is , I was getting stressed over the whole CP scenario and ended up leaving in a really bad mood but just walking back to my temporary accomodation helped to calm me down. I had to let Will into my flat as he thought he had left his charger in my room from when I helped him OSCE practise the other day ( I was suprised at how much I still remembered from first year!) (he hadn’t) and then headed to the libary to hopefully do some work but alas, that has not been the case. At least I’ve got one lecture done today ! (oh and this blog written).

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Wednesday

Whole morning of lectures today that seemed to never end. We seem to have come to the end of hypertension and have moved on to arrhythmias. I liked this as ECG’s reared their head again and I seem to be able to read them more efficiently this time despite not having looked at once since June. We also switched lecture theatres as there seems to be a problem with the main MTC one but it was a weird prep for when the newbies get here when we get kicked out of what has been our second home for the past year.
In the afternoon we had our first CBL sessions. I had brought snacks ( Jaffa Cakes always go down well) and I scribed for the first session. It was a weird session because we all come with our own way of doing things so there was a bit of a mish mash but once we see every method we will probably be able to make the session run more smoothly. We got on well and we seem to be a good group, we also had one of our anatomy CEF’s as our facilitator so we were all pretty happy!

In the evening I had what has been the highlight of this week. I love science outreach and I met up with some of the guys who I know from the Birmingham Sci Comm group. Jon was someone who I met at LSF and my mood always improves when I see him because he is as bonkers as I am and he was the guy who when I first watched him 4 years ago, I knew that I wanted to be doing something like what he does for the rest of my life. I also got talking to a couple of people from Warwick main campus and put out the ideas to run my science demo comp. It will be small scale this year but when I grow it , I want every department to run their own and then a grand campus final ! Big dreams I know. It was the best night of the week having a drink with everyone and I needed it to get away from all the stress around clinical partners. We are now three days in and every day my self-esteem is getting a bit of a knock. I’m convinced that I am the only one in my stream not paired up. I’ll do the whole year by myself if I have to though, I don’t care !
I was pretty low all day but having been to the pub and had a laugh and a reminder of what I love in life, I left a lot happier. I now know this needs to carry on this year…for my sanity sake.

I got back about 10 ish and had to physically drag myself to make lunch and have a shower. Sunday can’t get here quick enough.
Thursday

Slightly easier day today, only one lecture!! We had a consultant cardiologist from Warwick taking us through anti-arrhythmic drugs. He was pretty good and make what could have been a very boring lecture interesting! He also had to take a clinical call halfway through which was a weird blast of reality in a 9am lecture!

After we had VLE coursework. It was about gaining consent from patients and I volunteered to be the victim of my group to talk to the SIM patient. I had to gain consent for a breast examination from a woman who had found a lump but her mother had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. It felt weird because we’ve never been given a structure for consent but I found it comfortable to do despite the nerves and I got into it! We had feedback from the SIM and she said I had done well in being open and friendly , made good eye contact (yay) and she said she felt really comfortable. I was buzzing inside from this though I hate being told I am good at things for some weird reason.

At the end we had about 20 minutes over so we jokingly suggested our facilitator (non clinician) to do one, and he agreed ! He was a brilliant sport and did really well for a barrister! He made an excuse saying he wasn’t a clinician and we replied that neither were we so he cant use that excuse. It was a brilliant way to end the session off and I think we all needed that release from what has been a ridiculously stressful week back.

CP (clinical partner) choosing should have waited until next week as it has been stressing most people. Everyone who I know and I work well with has been chosen by someone else and when I eventually came round to asking Matt , he had been taken three times over. I am really worried and at this stage , I could quite easily just ask the med school if I actually have to have a clinical partner because to be frank, it would be a lot easier. I don’t often critique Warwick because I think they are brilliant but I am really not happy about how the CP’s have been handled. I’m just hoping something happens over the next two days.

We also got some swanky new badges. At two of our hospital trusts, Lanyards are banned so it is hard to spot the medical students so now we have badges just to let everyone know that we really have no idea what we are doing ,:). I was hoping it would have our year on them but they do not, might invest in some 2 stickers 😀

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We had the afternoon off to fill out the Anatomy books ( the main source of headaches and late Thursday nights in first year) and I managed to also catch up on some lectures. I was re-united with my study husband Sam which was really nice as I felt like some things were still the same and I found some grounding. I also managed to bump into a fourth year and we were chatting about how to handle block 2 and medic Revue. I can’t wait to do it again and to my lovely medic kids – You will be doing this, no excuses 😉

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I am now racing off to climbing, I think I need it after this week !!

Friday

Finally…we have got to the end. We only had to be in for 1 hour and a half today but that still meant an hour bus ride to the hospital. We had our penultimate session with the plastinates in the STC but it felt a bit weird being there because we were learning lymph. You can’t see lymph nodes on the plastinates very well. Oh, well.
We got out early and Stuart gave me a lift back (yay – thank you!), I ended up going home just to change and then spent the afternoon working and catching up on admin. We have to book to go onto the wards at UHCW in AC1 and someone grabbed the morning neurosurgery ward slot (please give it to me whoever you are!). I went climbing in the evening to try and get rid of some of the stress building up in me however, it didn’t work. I came back to the flat and my key card had stopped working and that was it.

I just sat on the cold ground just wishing for my bed (a few tears may have been shed).This week has been so hard, I really am hoping next week is better, it’s not even the academics that have stressed me out. However, I move on Tuesday into my permanent accommodation, hopefully, this CP business will be sorted and I can finally focus on what I love. The medicine.

I’m sorry this hasn’t been a happy post. I could have sugar-coated it and pretended everything was hunky-dory. That is not why I started this blog though and I am determined to keep it real, and if a stress-filled, self-esteem hitting week is what happened. Then that is what I shall write.

See ya next week

Abbie

Second Year … Second Thoughts

No, I am not quitting Med School ( I worked way too hard in first year to do that). It is the 8th of September 2019 and it is also the night before the second year.

I am excited to be here. There were stages last year where I thought I would never see the day. I was convinced I would fail and be kicked out. It caused a lot of problems for me, this constant worry but I made it through!

Second-year brings a lot of milestones for us. We pass the halfway mark in January (ish) and we also start to become clinical med students. This means we spend more time in the hospital and less time in the lecture theatre, we start to attend GP’s and we learn how to take blood and insert cannulas etc. Not a lot then.

Even though I am excited about what we have to learn clinical skills wise this year. I am really nervous about the upcoming changes to our education. After January, we have no timetable, no routine and it’s up to us to freestyle. Not having that routine and having to change how I learn means that it will take me longer to adjust than most, but I have been chatting with my medic family about it so I can have some heads up about what to expect. I suppose it will give me the freedom to learn how I want to learn, which I have been craving all year but I know I’ll be worried I haven’t covered everything.

I also have the situation this year where I can’t move into where I am living this year until next week. I am going to be a resident tutor this year meaning I look after the Freshers in their accommodation. However, due to the building works not being finished (surprise surprise) I am having to live out my suitcase until next week. YAY. Apparently, the first two weeks of second year are hard too, if you see me rocking in a corner, it’s ok, just leave me be, :D.

However, in two weeks time, the newbies will arrive. This brings about the slightly more positive thing about second year. I am a mother to two first years and I have also arranged with Matt to do a student seminar with him. I love teaching and we’ve established we are a bit of a team because he knows my weak block inside out and I love Block Three with all my heart. I also have tonnes of resources from all my revision so it will be nice to put them into use. It is going to feel strange not being the youngest year in the medical school, and even more strange that there will be 400 students in the MTC. Im used to 4 as of lately :D. However, one of the people I remember from helping out at interviews has got in (in fact they are Matt’s medic kid) so it will be nice to (hopefully) see a few more faces!.

We also have medic revue (of which I can’t wait for), doctors and nurses (of which I have already booked the time off and prepared for the hangover the next day) and medic family dinner. We also have a bit of an easier time with lectures because…. well we don’t have as many 😀

This year I am being a bit stricter with myself with regards to the amount of work I do. I burnt out, I did too much. I did not see the point in taking time off but now, I know it is not just a nice thing to do. It should come before Medicine (first-years take note of that). It is also the first year I can be at home for my birthday so I am hoping to go home for the weekend. I am also learning to drive so I can bring my car up to campus and not have to rely on the slow Coventry public transport network.

So … yup. Second year is finally here. There’s no stopping it. Just got to give it my all!

Abbie

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