Lesson 2

Consultants, even the nicest ones, can be sort of intimidating when you’re the lowly medical student. You want them to like you. You don’t want to annoy them. And after hearing lots of horror stories from older students, you most definitely do no want to make them angry.

At the moment, I’m on a medical placement on ‘Care of the Elderly’ and I had a day of sitting in on clinics today. During one of the consultations I got the chance to practice a cardiovascular examination, which was really nice of the patient, because really, I had no idea what I was doing. I found it really hard to find his radial pulse and when I did, I definitely miscounted as I got a ridiculously low value. On the plus side, I got to feel a pacemaker! That made me an embarrassing amount of happy on the inside- probably because I could actually feel it and didn’t have to pretend that I could feel something.

I also got to watch the registrar conduct a cognitive assessment (Addenbrooke’s cognitive examination) on an elderly patient who was complaining of memory problems. It was a great experience. But, honestly, some of the questions were ridiculous- following a series of pictures that needed to be identified: “point to the one which is a marsupial.” Am I the only one that thinks that the definition of a marsupial is not everyday common knowledge?

And here is the lesson:

-Don’t leave your bag in the consultation room if you ever need to pop out for any reason. Always take it with you.

My partner and I left one room to go and see an interesting patient in another and I left behind my bag, which held my iPad and my phone. When we finished and were off for lunch my bag was still in the first room, which was occupied with the consultant and patients. I then had the uncertain situation of- “Shall I knock? Shall I not knock? Shall I wait? Shall I not wait? How long will they be? What if I annoy him? What if I make him angry?” I knocked in the end, interrupted the consultation and retrieved my bag. Sure, it wasn’t a huge problem and I didn’t get yelled at because my consultant is nice, but easily and best avoided by not leaving your bag. Ever.

 

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