Thursday, 6 January 2011

It begins. Again.

One christmas in on the road to being a doctor
An Absentbabinski in repose
You win some, you lose some. First day back was more successful than I expected! Second day back was pretty depressing.

I met up with my new PBL group and quickly realised there were quite a few strong personalities which will take some time to start to gel. I figure this is as much about the types of people who go into medicine as much as anything else.

The theme of the week is hypertension, so the practical was cardiovascular exam - allowing me the chance to bust out my new hunter green Littman Classic. I know it's corny, but you drape a stethoscope around your neck and suddenly you feel a bit less ridiculous running through the "Hi, I'm a first year medical student..." spiel.

The comms session was filmed this week which was pretty exciting. We sat with an actor practicing history taking whilst the lecturer filmed the 5 min "performance". I really enjoyed it, partially because I felt challenged by the situation, but also because it gave me a chance to do something I enjoyed as a nurse - talking to patients. If I could be sure the actor wouldn't mind I'd upload the vid to YouTube and give you the chance to rate me!

The downside of the week was two-fold. I had to face up to having not got the best results in my first summative exams. The marking is split into Basic Clinical Science (BCS) and Personal Professional Development/ Community Population Health (PPD/ CPH). My BCS marks were sound (as I expected), but my PPD/ CPH mark fell short. So even though I passed the exam overall, I was called up as a "cause for concern" on the PPD/CPH. I think it was a bit overly dramatic, seeing as how I was told that I would just have to up my efforts in future exams to ensure I keep the mark for PPD/ CPH well above passing in future exams. The head of exams also suggested some materials I could look at to help clarify some of the concepts I seemed to struggling with. So not awful, but still a bit galling.

This was followed up by a lecture on hypertension that forced me to face up to the fact I am pre-hypertensive. I've known for a while, but not really wanted to address it - typical male/ medical response to the notion of illness. I've been feeling pretty stressed about the exam results, money (surprise, surprise) and just generally the future (various things I'll go into in a future post, I'm sure), so having a lecture remind you that you really need to change some aspects of your life, because you are inherently unhealthy just left me emotionally drained. Not great.

I think I need to read Desiderata more frequently:

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

I'm sure part of this is just nerves from restarting the med school journey again, which will subside when I get back in the saddle. The other bit will probably be resolved with me passing my next exams with marks to spare and once I start getting shifts on the staff bank.


  1. I know you know this already (having worked in health care) but good grades do not necessarily a good doctor make.

    It is totally soul crushing to be putting in loads of effort to get that result but really the important part is being able to put the knowledge together when people's lives are at stake. You will have no problem in that regard with your background and I am sure you'll fly through clinicals (i.e the important years).

    I looked at my new PBL group that starts tomorrow and banged my head on the desk. Sigh. One. Semester. Left.

  2. Thanks for the support :)

    I think I was just shrugging off some of the angst that comes from having a bit too long off over Christmas.

    Normal programming will now commence!