We’re off to a mad start with our clinical years. Workshops and refresher tutes all over the place to make sure we’re all up to speed. Information flying in one ear, out the other. Absolutely frantic as we look to be as prepared as possible before joining the medical teams on the wards.
I must say I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the year. It was unclear what we as freshman clinical students would be able to contribute. Would we just simply be like astrocytes in the brain and fill in gaps (except astrocytes are REALLY important, us not so much) or would we be hands on and getting our hands dirty?
Truth is, we’re not either of those things, rather the level of one’s involvement is really dependent on a number of factors. The most important being your team’s willingness to get you involved and taking the initiative to want to get involved in the first place. Another pivotal point is the specialty of the team you’ve been placed with for the rotation.
I learned quite quickly that there are a lot of things that can go wrong in a hospital setting. The consequences for these mistakes can be quite damaging, if not fatal. Hence it was easy to appreciate the need to be very cautious with the tasks allocated to students. Nonetheless, from my limited experience most teams are genuinely wanting to help juniors advance their knowledge.
From this, I quickly came to appreciate the consultant or junior doctor that would put me on the spot with a question I had no clue how to answer. Whether I knew how to answer or not wasn’t the point, it was about voicing my knowledge on the topic and then having any gaps filled. Many of my peers may not agree on this point, however overcome the initial feelings of embarrassment and view it as a learning moment. This is an example of the importance of perspective. Instead of seeing it as a personal attack, take the opportunity to correct or reinforce your understanding of the concept especially when you’ve just seen a physical example of it.
Out of the blocks and right into the thick of it. There is much to learn, much to be seen and much to be experienced. We are only at the beginning of a new chapter, keep an eye out for the remainder in the reflections to come.