Friday, 30 March 2012


I would like to post more frequent updates; but unfortunately I have been somewhat time-poor lately. Quite often, I have a running commentary in my head of things that I would like to write about or reflect on here if I had a computer open in front of me. Unfortunately these occur at times too inconvenient and too often for me to act upon. Regardless, no time like the present for a quick catch-up.

I completed a mid-term assessment with my mentor a few weeks ago and to my relief, I was assured that I am doing okay. I was worried that I would be flagged for being too slow or not seeing enough patients, but nothing of the sort was mentioned. I remember on my first shift ever I managed to see only 2 patients(!). Now I'm seeing about 6-7 patients, depending on the area of the ED that I'm working in. I hate to be so fixated on numbers when, at the end of the day it's people we're treating; but it seems like a reasonable way to guage progress and efficiency.

Fastforward to the present. I am a mere 2 days away from completing my rotation in the ED! Incredible, how quickly time passes when you're so busy and focused. More incredible still, is that fact I have actually survived my first rotation ever as an intern (and from what I gather, one of the more challenging ones too)! Cliched as it may sound, the learning curve has been steep and I feel like I have learnt so much in such a short period of time. Of course it is only in hindsight that you realise how valuable the experience has been.

Admittedly, a part of me is actually going to miss being part of the ED team. By the same token, I am glad that it will be a while before I encounter people who annoyingly present to the hospital (sometimes via ambulance) without a valid medical complaint. The "Acopics" - as I have come to call them - are a unique breed of time- and resources-wasters who, for whatever reason, feel that a trip to the ED will fix all their problems. Some examples of shameless presentation that I have encountered include:
- burping after eating some sausages
- requesting a shower because the water in their apartment was too cold
- blocked nose for 20 years
- requesting a chat to overcome loneliness
... and so on. Clearly some people have too much time on their hands.

My next rotation is called "Relief". It basically involves covering or relieving people who are away from their normal rotations; taking your own annual leave; and providing cover for the wards after hours and overnight. My timetable looks a bit like this:

Week 1: cover in the ED (ok, so back sooner than I would like, but I'll just be an extra over the Easter long weekend)
Week 2: renal medicine
Weeks 3-6: annual leave (yay! going away for the entire 4 weeks to visit family in Jordan)
Weeks 7-11: rotating roster of 7 nights on/ 7 off as the overnight medical intern providing cover to the medical wards - not sure what to expect here but I've heard that a rotation in ED should provide solid grounding in the basics of anything one might face

So, obviously the most exciting feature of this rotation is the ample opportunity for some rest, relaxation and travel, given the generous leave allowance. Going home to Jordan is always a welcome break to catch up with family, even if lacking in adventure and novelty; but I am going to try to also spend a few days in the Southern coastal town of Aqaba on the Red Sea for some scuba diving while I'm there, as well as the obligatory trip to the Dead Sea. We (my parents and I) have also been talking of going away to a neighbouring country like Syria or Turkey while we're in the region; plus on the way back we have planned a 4-day stopover in Dubai which could be fun (I have been a bit lazy with my research on what to do there because I'm not expecting to yield anything another than ritzy malls). The other time I will have off is the whole week after 7 nights on (of which I have 2 sets rostered - so essentially 2 lots of 1 week off) - long enough to go away again and I'm itching to just lie on a beach for a whole week and do nothing so I may actually make something of this time. I have been looking at destinations in the South Pacific, South East Asia and even within Australia but unfortunately the only places that have caught my attention are pricier that what I am allowing myself to spend on this mini-getaway. It's easy to get carried away with the thought that one day you may make a lot of money as a doctor; but presently I am only earning a humble $28.96 per hour, which is only marginally better what I was earning as an unqualified pharmacy assistant during my student days.

Anyway, enough yapping from me. Will hopefully call in again before I go overseas (and while I'm there) for some glorious travel tales.


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