Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Life starts... now!

Wednesday morning, just past midnight.

I am less than a week away from starting internship so I thought it might be a good time to resume writing. The holidays have slipped away, as often happens, all too quickly :-( I have disposed of my medical school notes in a timely manner; cleaned my room (sort of); and finally unpacked my suitcase and stored it away after practically living out of it since I first packed it for my rural placement in Lithgow in September (!).

There's a sense of change in the air - all too familiar, I've been here before. I'm still adjusting to life as a non-student. It's weird and I don't know what to do when I am at home. What do people do in their free time? I want to take up photography as a hobby and have been meaning to enrol in a community college course. It's only one class a week over eight weeks but you have to attend a set day and owing to the shift-work nature of my first couple of rotations, I will have to put it on hold until my third internship rotation where I will finally (hopefully) have a more predictable working roster. Speaking of rotations, I got very lucky in my allocation and will be doing the following rotations over the course of the year:

1. Emergency medicine
2. Relief/night cover/annual leave (where you cover for other people who are away on their normal rotations; do night-shift cover for the hospital and take annual leave)
3. Cardiology
4. Vascular surgery
5. Emergency medicine (at a different hospital)

I'm a bit freaked out about starting in Emergency Department because, unlike ward duty where you mostly just follow orders made by more senior members of the treating team, in the ED you actually have to make your own decisions. Do I order this test? Do I prescribe this drug? Do I discharge the patient home or admit them? We are supposed to present each patient to a senior supervisor at some point in our clinical work-up; but I don't know how much of that actually happens in reality and I'm actually quite nervous about being assigned a supervisor who will just tell me to pick up my slack and start making my own clinical judgements!! Okay, clearly I have been watching too many episodes or ER :-S Just to be sure I don't get into a pickle, I have ordered a copy of The Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine as a safety net in case I run out of ideas on what to do next with a given patient and can't find anyone to help me. There you have it people: seven years of university and I will be flipping frantically through a how-to guide before I do anything. Warning: do not become ill for the first few months of the year as there is a good chance that you will be looked after by a clueless intern if you present to the ED. Don't say I didn't warn you. Maybe they will just assign me all the triage category 4 and 5 patients who really should have gone to their GPs instead and I will be stuck all day writing sick notes for sore throats and blocked noses.

Anyway, I don't care what I'm presented with. I have gone into survival mode and I have one aim for this year and that is: to make it out alive.

Wish me luck!

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