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Third year at last

December 11th, 2008

It’s the beginning of November, Christmas decorations are now appearing throughout the city centre and I finally start my 3rd year of medicine. With everything we’ve heard about this year I can’t help feeling a little enthusiastic - almost as if we’ve hatched to be come “proper” medical students with proper clinical teaching. As I sit in a rather official looking meeting room at 9am and watch my colleagues - all 12 of us - stumble in, I hear our tutor utter the words “how many of there are you?”. This is when I realise that third year isn’t going to be anything different after all.

To their credit it was actually the secretaries fault we were slightly unexpected. She was expecting us a week later. However, typically, she doesn’t work on Monday so none of this got sorted until the Thursday when we returned.

Twelve people is a simply ridiculous number for clinical practice, especially for 1 tutor and the 1 patient she’d set aside for us. We therefore spent a bit of time talking about history taking and cardiovascular exam. Half the group (those who also had clinical practice on the Thursday) then went to examine the patient.

I have discovered that I feel particularly awkward walking around a hospital, and particular a ward, in a group any larger than 3 or 4. We just look out of place, probably because we are.

With the appearance of a secretary on the thursday a little more order appeared. Since then hospital clinical sessions have been largely useful although there remain a few reservations. My main problem at the moment is related to numbers - even with half the group there are still 6 per patient. By the time we reach the last student as part of an examination the poor patients are exhausted and getting bored.

In comparison, the time we spend in our GP practices with only 3 students gives much more focused teaching. I’ve quite enjoyed it, despite not really being tempted by GP as a career. The practice I’m based at (which thankfully remains constant) is small with only 2 GPs, both of which are excellent and happy to teach.

This post lay dormant for a month so it’s not quite as detailed as I’d intended. Will hopefully get some more posts done in the holidays.

Uni ,

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