Intro to Clinical Phase 1

helenaI’m Helena, a third year medical student reaching the end of my first month of our first placement, CP1. Having spent two years in lectures, half a year doing dissertation and countless hours working for exams it definitely felt like the time to finally get onto the wards. Now surrounded by the people putting this knowledge into practice, the tiny amounts we have a grip of and the masses still to learn have become very apparent. Nonetheless it’s a good change! At last getting involved practically, being with patients and seeing day to day our future jobs has given another burst of motivation.

Placement at City hospitalcity

The structure of CP1 changes depending on where you’re placed. Being placed at City Hospital, conveniently a half hour free bus journey from the QMC, I still get to spend time with my non-medic housemates in their final semester of their degrees. The first two weeks of CP1 are introductory, reminding you of the examinations we haven’t practised since second year OSCE’s (practical exams) and the skill of history taking forgotten since first year, both very welcome reminders. We were also taught new things, such as taking blood (finally!), catheterisation, hernia examination and much more.

At City CP1 is split into halves, 7 weeks surgery and 7 weeks medicine. I’m currently in the surgery half, every second week we swap between general surgery and a special (urology, cardiothoracics or plastics). Our timetable consists of going to clinics and we’re in surgery at least once a week with teaching on most days. The medicine half consists of being on wards such as respiratory and cardio learning a lot more about diagnosing conditions.

surgery

Steepened learning curve

There’s a reason medical students have a reputation for working hard and that’s because there is a lot to know! Regularly seeing the holes in my knowledge it’s important not to let it become overwhelming. I still make sure I spend time with my housemates while they’re still here and keep at the things I enjoy, making clear where the whole work/life balance thing comes from that we all mentioned during the interview three years ago.

One month in

Every day brings something new to learn and getting to spend time with patients learning about their conditions makes achieving many aspects of the course so much easier. The past month has been knackering but I’m very glad to finally be in placement!