Monday, 28 December 2009
In good timing for this, my parents have done the unoriginal, yet amazingly sweet thing of buying me a stethoscope for Christmas. I'm sure i won't get to fiddle with it much, or even understand what I'm suppose to listen out for till 2 years down the line, but its a nice gift and I'll cherish it. Currently i've only listened to my dog's heart, and the amplified sound of my finger tapping on the diaphragm.
So, other than eating a lot and catching up with friends, the remaining week will be to finish of these HD notes and sleep lots so i'm feeling fresh for the new start!
Saturday, 12 December 2009
After funmed exams i was like: "OK this it it!" and I was so keen on keeping notes up to date and learning as i go along; but once again i have fallen back on my lazy ways. So far i've done notes for 1 lecture in the last 2 weeks, and i've probably spent more time out ragging on the one day of rag, than i have on reading through text books. So whilst im relaxed now, i'm going to have to work during this X'mas break (officially a week away! ^.^)
Generally, i would say HD isn't very difficult (it is, when compared to funmed), but its definately a case of a LOT of information, in a very short space of time. >.< (... and i always feel like i don't have enough time)
Sunday, 29 November 2009
It's been 3 years since i've sat any EMQs, and i had forgotten what a pain they could be; though no pain can even come close to the spotter exam !!
Flicking through the microanatomy slides before the exam, in combo with my stupid "fingers crossed" ritual, had come no where close to preparing me well. I predict a flop.
At least i now know i really need to work on my anatomy!
The final kick of the day came in the form of my SSC allocations >.<
(though i'll try and keep an open mind)
So... that brings Funmed to an end..
..........................roll on human development!
Friday, 20 November 2009
"you'll do fine, you've done this all before"
comment quite a lot, and if i'm being honest, i'm sure i've muttered those words among the grads a few times myself. It's a bit of a weird feeling, even more so now that the.....
FUNMED assessment is in 7 days time!!
OK i don't really know the exact weightings, but i think its worth like 27% of paper A overall.... and the spotter component makes up 5% of the 27%....
so its decided, im giving up on the spotter!
(well i'll revise a bit of it, and have my fingers crossed for the bits of anatomy and microanatomy i like to pop up, but im not going to stress over it too much....now lets hope i've made the right decision!)
Thursday, 8 October 2009
I HATE the hour long journey to uni, and from next week onwards, i'll have to add a 2 hour journey to my fortnightly rota, as we start Medicine in Society >.< Luckily for me, its still within the zones of my travel card (I would be even more whiney if i had to pay anything ontop of the £81/month travel card!!) BUT, travel pains aside, i'm actually genuinly quite excited about med soc; in contrast to some of the people i've spoken to, i quite like the idea of being in a general practice.
PBL: isn't so bad.
If i have to choose one word to define my first session of PBL, i would choose: Awkward!
It really was a bit odd, none of us actually knew what we were meant to do, and i think the chair had a hard time getting everyone involved. (the tutor pointed us in the right decision throughout, and finally got us there)
However, the follow-up PBL session went a LOT smoother, we went through the objectives quickly, and onto the next case scenario. This time we knew what we had to do, and it actually wasn't so bad (actually i quite enjoyed it). I think it will just take some time to get use to.
Anatomy consisted of walking around to different stations, looking at specimens and seeking help from the demonstrators; asking one of the demonstrators a question about the brain was probably the best decision i made of the day.
Whilst answering my question and describing the different features of the brain, the demonstrator whipped out a pair of pink latex gloves from his lab coat pocket, handed them to me and told me to pick up the brain "Go on pick it up, i know you want to", and he was right.
The smell of formaldehyde was bearable, but I did feel a little queezy.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Things on a whole have been going well, theres not really that much going on as its the typical induction week; however there was this GREAT welcome lecture on friday (i don't want to go into great details in case i ruin it for others) which was a combination of shock, fear, laughs and feeling stupid right at the end for believing it all from the start ^^, if this is BL, then i think i'm going to love it!
Freshers fayre was another highlight of the week (!!) - a concise medical dictionary, highlighters in the shape of syringes, and random pens were nice gifts, but i think the free mini oxford handbook of clinical medicine was the cherry on top! (especially since i was planning on buying it!).
Roll on week 2, and my first session of PBL on Tuesday!
Saturday, 5 September 2009
(Thank you Sengcheek and Lily for the supportive advice, but my fear of failing and flopping med school has both hands shaking me and telling me to stick with the less intensive 5 year course... and as seng put it, its still a win-win situation ^.^ )
**My welcome pack arrived this afternoon!**
OK, to be fair the excitement only lasted through the receiving, running upstairs to my room, and the careful opening part; after that it sort of died down as i flicked through the paperwork. Nestled inside the A4 sized envelope was a letter from BLSA, a book list, a two-day timetable, the pre-enrolment form (this just means i have to go to the student office next week and show them a few certificates), and few other bits and bobs. On a plus note, theres advice on getting myself a new student oyster card (i need one of those!), and real excitement in knowing i'll finally be starting on the 21st !!! (even if its a horrible 8am start to the day >.<)
Thursday, 27 August 2009
.....BUT starting 2010!
Its a VERY tempting offer, and one i have to make a decision on by next tuesday!
- GEP funding (less debt!)
- Graduate the same time as i would if i start on the 5 year this September
- No need to reapply on ucas, as it will just be deferred
- Not sure if i can manage the workload
(a BIG worry, as i rather do the 5 year and pass, than to do the 4 year and fail at the first hurdle!)
- Was really geared and ready to start this September
- Not sure what to do with another gap year
Currenlty finding this a really difficult decision to make!
- on a random note, i have an interview tomorrow with kaplan, for a part time teacher of the UKCAT! (randomly found the job advert online!)
Friday, 7 August 2009
Medical school wise, track finally changed to Unconditional a few weeks ago, and as my mum's friend made a visit yesterday i quickly went over (it was still the hour plus journey!) to the Whitechapel student office, showed my documents and got my CRB sorted. So now £41 poorer, its just a wait until September!
Sunday, 28 June 2009
(i say "full time", as im signing up to an agency, and if the interview goes well i'll hopefully be able to fit in a few shifts here and there during the summer or whilst at uni).
i think i've been quite fortunate in that i've met a lot of different people, managed to have quite a good time at work, and learnt not only a lot about the different jobs roles within a hospital, but also really random bits of Tagalog (sp?). The most useful i've found to be - "Atei maganda, gusta gung tea, salamat" - i've probably spelled it quite incorrectly, but it should mean - "Beautiful sister, can i have a tea please "... at which point the phillipino nurse or tea trolly lady will let me go on my lunch/dinner break or thrust a tea into my hands.
Tomorrow i'll be having a leaving lunch at work - we've decided to all cook something, and have a lunch in the staff room. I've decided to make curry chicken.
I really couldn't think of anything i could make, i usually have a trusty sandwich, left over dinner, or er something random i can find around the house for lunch, and so when left with the task of cooking something, the easiest option i could think of which also happens to taste alrite, is curry chicken - easy! (though of course mine is probably, actually i am certain it is not authentic at all - as mine consists of chicken boiled down in supermarket bought curry paste and sauces).
Monday, 22 June 2009
On a whole its been a month with more downs than there are ups, and i'm just glad theres only 4 SHIFTS LEFT!! ^____^ Roll on the summer BBQs, random day trips, and lazy days in the park and travelling fun!
The rest of the month in short:
- worked a crazy 5 shift week
- after emptying endless catheters from the word go, i finally observed urinary catheter insertion and removal (it's not as bad as i thought it would be, i'm not sure why but i always imagined it to be really difficult ~.~)
- got sent over to work in acute surgical admissions for the day - it was probably one of the busiest days of my short HCA career! I don't mind helping patients onto bedpans and all, but this patient felt the need to constantly remind me her son was an injury lawyer ..even if its just a glass of water she was after!!
- returned my occupational health and completed my CRB form for uni, now just a long wait for that ucas track to change to unconditional firm.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I will still keep my fingers crossed as i hope to hear off the accom waiting list early october, but most probably i will have to settle with living at home and making the dreaded long travel on a daily basis (i could always just read on the tube, prepare for the lecture, or er.. take a nap). Alternatively i could rent near the uni nearer the time, though it does seem a waste of money to rent near the uni when i live within london, but then again im not too keen on the 2.5hour journey each day! I'll think about it over the summer.
--- 17 shifts left!
Friday, 8 May 2009
When i first told my friends they were all a bit shocked i hadn't gone with the gep - but i think its a decision i won't regret. (i gathered they work out costing about the same, so i might as well take my time and make the most out of it, afterall i only get to do medical school once ^^)
Now just 21 more shifts as a HCA, 4 days of annual leave, and a summer break to go!
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Hope someone with experience could let me know how important having the experience of dissection or even pro-section is at medical school?? - i suppose this is the last bit of the decision process for me.
I'm even starting to find myself annoying, at how long its taking me to make my mind up!
Thursday, 30 April 2009
The final results:
I was slightly sad as going back to kcl would have felt like home, and could have been the cherry on top of the ucas application sundae, but on the other hand i'm ready for a new change - and to be honest, im already over it, and super glad i'll finally be going somewhere this september on my 3rd ucas application (!!) - although i'm slightly scared and super excited mixed into one!
now back to mulling over the decision of qmul 5 year and warwick gep >.<
I've also handed in my resignation letter to the ward sister, and had quite a funny moment at work the other day when out the blue a FY1 came over to me to ask "can paracetamol be given to a patient up the bum?" - her exact words. I honestly didn't have a clue.
Friday, 17 April 2009
I felt the selection centre (especially the written component) had gone quite badly, plus UCAS hadn't sent me a status update email; but following on from my daily ucas track checking ritual this afternoon there was a conditional offer from Warwick - YAY .....and NAY
YAY because i really quite liked the campus feel of the uni, i've never lived outside of london before, its another option, and plus theres the benefits of a 4 year GEP course to consider, but... NAY as its going to be really tough deciding between Barts 5 and Warwick 4 year courses..... and theres still the wait to hear from the kcl waiting list (though i know my chances of getting an offer from the list are extremely slim!).
Theres a lot to consider, with lots of factors to take into account; i obviously really like london, but a shorter and cheaper course could be better financially, but then again i'm not sure if i can get use to living out of a city... i know i'll be dwelling on this over the next few days!
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Only returned recently from a short trip abroad and everyone seems to be getting ill around me, myself included. The trip was short and sweet, relaxing and now makes me want to make the transition from the hca-ing part of my gap year to the travelling part!! I was also sort of hoping i'd come back to london from my mini trip with results from the warwick interview, and from the kcl waiting list, as it's already mid-ish april; but nope, nothing at all. So the waiting continues!
The job is fine, there are some patients who make the job really enjoyable as they are great to talk to, and you see them trying really hard to get themselves mobilised and out of there, but it has started to get a little bit boring now (i believe its probably the high turnover ward im on, rather than the job). It is a really worthwhile gap year job, but i just dont get so excited or worried by the same things anymore (evidently, as i still have an angry appetite for lunch, even if its to be straight after clearing up soiled beds, or from measuring the volume of vomit using a cardboard bowl with indented markings), and i think i'd like a change.
The main issue i suppose is if i quit the job too early i lose out on posible earnings and may come back from my travels with nothing left but a handfull of pennies, being jobless and have nothing to do for a few months before uni starts ..but the longer i leave it, the more expensive it gets, especially with the summer air fares! - i ought to just get a move on with the planning.. perhaps its not even travelling im looking for, maybe a new ward, a new hospital.. ahhhhh i don't know!
Monday, 30 March 2009
They are really quite tiring, but not in the way you would expect a day shift to be. Most of the patients are asleep during the night, and once i complete my list of tasks, i don't have much else to do and have no patients to chat to - instead i clean and stock up some equipment, and then just sit at the nursing station watching the patients sleep, whilst resisting my own desire to join them in snooze land... well until a patient calls for attention anyways.
No news from kcl waiting list nor from warwick selection centre yet, but both have told me to wait until mid-april, so i think i'll just try and forget it until then, and keep my mind on more important things like... holiday! ^^
Thursday, 26 March 2009
The selection centre was actually quite unusual, and some parts (group excercise) were actually really fun (!!) - the video-based interview was very similar to the Bart's interview i had in 2007 (i got rejected that time).. and the written task was a complete fail for me (ran out of time, and basically didn't answer the questions well). So all in all, i doubt i will be at warwick next year, as the selection centre didn't really go too well for me... thankfully we've been told we will only have to wait till mid-april to hear back.. so not too long left!
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Hopefully i'll get some prep done today, before i take the coach up to leamington spa tomorrow morning, but to be really honest i have no idea how i can prepare for the selection centre - as its still quite a mystery to me as to what actually happens (i've read the forums - theres a group task, an interview, and something about nice chocolate muffins). What i do know.. is my friend has a lot of activities planned for after the interview (yay), which is then sadly followed by 5 consecutive night shifts starting on the wednesday night i return to london.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
The HCA girl i started with has also left the job now, and will soon be off on her 3 months of travels. Initially time went by really slowly, but now time seems to have gone by too quickly, and i will soon be off on my travels too at the beginning of April..... sadly only for 2 weeks, before i have to come back to the working life - its a short break, and hopefully will be worth the annual leave i had to take.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
The FY2 himself wasn't scary, in fact hes really friendly, helpful, and ever since we found out we had both done an undergrad in biochemistry at kcl before applying to med as a grad (what a coincidence!), hes been happy to find out how im finding the job and to teach me random things (today he was explaining the ecg belonging to a patient on the ward - though to be honest i didn't really understand that much of it - too many new technical terms). What was quite scary however, was the conversation we had today where he told me about how he thinks the courses are getting easier, and medical students are now less prepared for their foundation years than "back in his days" - and he feels he doesn't know as much as his peers when they were SHOs. Maybe i am just a bit pessimistic, but this is definately something i am worried about - not that i don't think the teaching will be good enough when i eventually start, just that i worry about not knowing enough.
Im sure i have a lot of time to worry about this in the years to come and i should just enjoy what i have left of my gap year. Afterall i am now into my 6th month as a HCA (feels like its gone very quickly!), and if following my previous plans, this would be by last month before fitting in some travel. However, with the current economic crisis, i think i'm going to work for a few more months, possibly till June/July before setting off somewhere for a few weeks. Although its less travelling time, I think the little extra cash will be helpful next year (!!)
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Im sure she would have been happy to let me take up the spot - even without the edible bribe (!!), but she also plans to show me the campus and take me on a tour of the local shops - and if theres time.. even a mini outing to birmingham! - so i think random edible bits from london to help her pass the easter exam revision period, and buying her lunch is a must!
Nothing interesting lately, i finally forked out the 44.99 and purchased a lomography fisheye 2 camera, have been playing around with it, and am close to finishing the roll of film (36), can't wait to see how the photos end up!
Thursday, 12 February 2009
I obviously made the team aware of this, as although i've had nurses and other hcas teaching me how to do it before, but when i saw the patient in so much pain i just didn't feel confident. i fetched the machine over, plugged it into the mains and then felt useless as i watched others members on the ward attatching the sticky tabs and the relevent leads. The doctors finally arrived, and i watched their diagnostic process, taking bloods from the patients, feeling around the area, asking the patient to describe the pain, and discussing among the team the possible cause of the patient's sudden pain. Alas with no obvious signs from the bloods, a bladder scanner revealed urine retention - and after a swift insertion of a urinary catheter by the nurse, the patient slowly but surely began to feel better, and a few hours on was happily sitting up talking to the visiting family
- i was really happy to see the patient recover from the bout of pain so quickly; but was not so happy when the FY2 doctor thought i had thrown his tourniquet away, and made me dig through the bin to see if it was in there... it was later revealed, that the FY2 had left it on the patient's bed ~.~
"so i'm alive then?" - The first time an elderly male patient asked this after i had taken his temperature, i found it quite sweet, but now i just find it cringey - as every patient seems to be saying it these days... where did it all start?!!
A few people at work know i have an offer now (only because they sussed out the reason as to why i was there and had asked me about it, or they are among the gap year applicants), but generally most people still think im doing this because i can't find a lab job - and i prefer it this way, as i get to avoid having some of the weird looks some of the other gap year hcas get.
Friday, 6 February 2009
Most of the information given today i could have found online, but visiting the medical school, and listening to the speakers talk about Bart's with so much passion has definately made everything seem so much more exciting!! The only downside..is the long travel time for me >_< (1 hour plus!!) , but there are plenty of positives to make up for it! - i really like the look of the systems based course, the opportunity to spend some of the clinicals years in the soon to be refurbished hospitals, the atmosphere, and being able to study near the olympic games are definately just a few of the pros.
All in all i think its been quite a good day, although a bit on the tiring side, and the London weather wasn't exactly at is best, but i think it has definately relighted the excitement of going to medical school for me ^^
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Today i also had a very intersting conversation with a patient's relative who decided to talk to me about his body building routine (i don't know why!), it was intersting, but i don't think i'm going to take his advice on sticking notes around the ward to get myself to eat 5 meals a day as opposed to 3.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
When i first started working as a HCA, one of the hard things i felt was to understand what all the acronyms on the handover sheet stood for, and what it meant i had to do for each individual patient. Some are pretty obvious, such as U/cath - meaning they have a urinary catheter (or a spc - supra or sub pubic catheter), and it was just protocol for me to go empty it twice a shift before they eat or sleep, or if it is getting full at other times during the day. Without having to sound too corny, but on my night shift yesterday i learnt how important communication between healthcare staff is - as a lack of communication meant i poured away 6 hours of urine for a patient as normal at midnight, before the nurse exclaimed that we were supposed to collect 24 hours worth and send it off to biochemistry... i was told this after having poured and flushed the urine away, and had the cup being disinfected >.< Thankfully the patient was very understanding, though he did mention being dissapointed, and it made me feel pretty guilty.
Other acronyms i've come across so far at work are NIDDM and IDDM (non/insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) - meaning i have to take their blood glucose before their meals, or hourly if they are on a sliding scale. NBM for nill by mouth, often accompanied by a time on the handover, and recently i learnt the meaning of TWOC (trial without catheter) - when i went to empty a catheter and embaressingly couldn't locate it.
Not an acronym, but just a stupid spelling mistake i keep spotting on the handovers - cellulite. When i read the handover, i was surprised it mentioned patients had cellulite.. on the first few weeks i never really understood why it was important to have it pointed out...and that it could be painful (?) before i eventually asked a staff nurse, and then understood they meant cellulitis ~.~
Finally U is also for unsucesful, alas i could not escape my curse of january rejections. As the month is about to draw to a close, i thought i might escape january rejections this ucas round, but nope, UCL kept the tradition by rejecting me today.. but... although not happy about it, im not to bothered either, as i'm just so relieved to have an offer, and best of all.. i get to stay in london ^^ !
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
It almost feels surreal, to the point in which i'm still quite calm, having randomly checked my track on tuesday afternoon, and havn't had the emotional dance, cry or shout... yet (i'm sure there is plenty of time for that in the time to come!)
It's an odd feeling, i don't know how to describe it, but am just really glad its all worked out, and my gap year plans are on course. I think working as a HCA has really made the extra difference this year, and though that said.. i can't wait to move on to the travelling part of my gap year!
Until then.. i'm back onto night shifts tomorrow night!
Thursday, 22 January 2009
The interview area looked almost identical to last years, with two rows of seats arranged to face the interview area, which was defined by green office-styled screens, boxing off different areas of the hall into small make shift interview bays. I was in the one on the right hand corner, luckily quite a distant from the other bays, though throughout the interview it was hard not to over hear other people having their interviews in the background.
The interview started with big smiles from the two really friendly interviewers, then came a few very typical interview questions, followed by some questions off the personal statement, and finally a good long discussion on the ethical case article they sent along with the invite. I actually prefered the ethical case discussion taken in their interview approach this year, compared to their video approach in the past years, and i felt the interview also went a lot better this year, but only time (and ucas track updates) will tell.
However, of all the possible ways i could have ended the interview by asking a normal question, we ended up talking about their helicopter... ~.~
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Went downstairs today to find something to munch on (actually, it was specifically chocolate i was looking for haha, a family friend had bought some back from her trip to switzerland... yum!) and saw a pile of post on the floor, with 2 interview invites, one from qmul/barts 5 year A100 (only 1 day off from my interview there last year, a bit unnerving) and the other was from warwick 4 year A101. January has actually managed to be a niceish month so far - and with the interview for warwick being in march, also means i won't have the same sad situation of receivng 4 rejections in January, as i did last year.
Whilst excited, i'm also a bit worried, as the selection centre at warwick sounds difficult, and barts seems like they have changed their interview style this year, and has sent me a few pages to read about a recent ethical situation to read and to discuss at interview. I suppose this may be the new replacement to the video from past years?
Will probably browse the forums in a moment and see what sort of information i can get, but until then... its time to collect my free shuffle replacement from the apple store - yay another nice january moment thus far into 2009 (i had accidently placed my shuffle into the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, and obviously it came out broken, but having taken it to the people at the apple store in regent's street, they are going to give me a free replacement ^^)
Thursday, 1 January 2009
A good example would be my gap year plan to earn enough money to repay my student loan, squeeze in a major backpacking holiday trip, save some money for the future, and most importantly get into a medical school.
-This was sort of going to plan, until:
i) I realised how big my loan was
ii) I realised how little pay HCAs get
iii) when I promised mum I would take her on holiday, so paying a trip for 2 on top of everything else
iv) When i was put on the waiting list after interview
However, although there are now greater limitations to my backpacking trip, i am still really looking forward to my mini adventure, and can’t wait to meet up with my friend to discuss possible plans this week. I was all hyped to go alone, but as I found out one of my friends also wants to take a break after her degree, I thought the more the merrier! (+ safer and cheaper ~.~). Not too sure where we plan to go yet, but hopefully that would be cleared up after a chit chat over some coffee, and with some access to the internet.
On application side of things, i met someone recently whos currently in the final year of her biomed degree at kcl, and having had an interview at kcl in november, has now secured an offer for the 5 year course.. what a great christmas present that must have been!!
- - though whilst i was extremely happy for her.. eeeeek it makes me wonder whats going to be happening to those put on the waiting list... >_____< !!
WELCOME JANUARY 2009 ~!
Let me hope you will be nicer than January 2008!!