Archive for the ‘Uni’ Category

Isn’t it summer?

July 21st, 2010 1 comment

It is, apparently, July. Looking out my window it could be anything from November to March without too much convincing. Nevertheless, being July, means that I increase age yet another year. I’m now a few days into being 22 and I dislike it. I feel old.

On the other hand, this time next year (hopefully) I will have qualified and am sure to be even more terrified about being 23 and about to start looking after people. Ill people. Oh dear!

I’m also approaching the rough half mark in my summer “holiday”. In truth I barely feel like I’ve had many days of holiday, going from a final morning of surgery to Edinburgh airport in the evening. This was followed by a good deal of travelling then a jet lagged car trip in the baking Florida heat. Florida theme parks followed which, while enjoyable, are not quite that relaxing! Take this for example:

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It does film you throughout the ride, which was great to watch, but ridiculously expensive to buy. Getting about Harry Potter land also requires a great deal of patience and a hat to wipe the sweat away.

While I was only there for a week, it was great to get out of the country. My poor flatmate has tagged his elective on to the end of 4th year and effectively hasn’t had a break yet. Since January.

Back to my non-holiday, I returned Sunday lunch time, barely awake, to return to Glasgow the following day. So began the podcasting! This has involved my writing, acting in and editing clinical procedures. Indeed, I started acting the morning I returned from working T in the Park. With only a week with the film crew, we had lots to get through. It carried me through to my birthday weekend rather quickly.

And so here I am and after next week I return to medicine as I begin my elective in Yorkhill. I wish I could’ve gone away, especially since summer seems to be over here. I still have over a year to go though and the money to support me is a never ending hunt. It’s best I stayed, I’ll just have to make the most out of it.

And nod and smile when people recall their elective holiday come September. Sigh.

A different approach to feedback

January 28th, 2010 3 comments

Glasgow love feedback. Everything we do we’re meant to feedback and evaluate whatever it was that we attended. Fair enough, it’s great if it affects the future of the course. Apparently it does, I’m not so sure. Our feedback generally involves a 1-5 rating scale, with 5 being “excellent” and 1 signifying “poor”.  We also get a little free box to add anything else we can think of.

By the end of about week 5 in first year I’m pretty sure most people can no longer be bothered giving feedback, despite the constant emails on the subject. Personally I think I’ve come up with a much better way to rate things we’re timetabled to attend. Something along the lines of:

Was <whatever> more useful than:

  1. Spending the time reading about the topic
  2. Spending the same amount of time at the gym
  3. Spending that valuable time in bed. Asleep. (Or whatever.)

The very good classes are the ones better than spending the time reading about the content. Classes which involve something practical almost certainly are better than reading it from a book – they’d probably score highly here. Lectures probably have to do a little bit more in order to get the top mark. The vast majority that I’ve experienced do not quite equate to me reading it from a book. Thankfully PBL has saved me from having these lectures as my principle method from which to learn. (Take home message – PBL = good).

Going to the gym is fairly productive, certainly for most people. There are a few who would rather sit in any lecture than go to the gym but we’ll consider them the minority. I could probably suggest those people need to go to the gym more, but that’s a bit nasty. A lecture which is better than going to the gym (but not quite as good as reading the topic) is doing not bad. Could be improved but that’s ok. That’s what feedback is for, yeah? The majority of lectures (and the non-practical classes) probably sit somewhere in here. Does the feedback have an effect? Who knows.

A class which is not quite as useful as spending the time in the gym is struggling a bit. This is when students start falling asleep.

This brings us on to the worst of all classes – the ones where you could be sleeping. And, considering the quality of the lecture, you’d be better doing so. There are always going to be the odd few who like ever lecture. They’re also the minority. Probably the minority in the minority from earlier. A sad number of classes fall in here. Can’t we make them better, please?

I’m sure it’s possible. I’m slowly becoming more interested in medical education perhaps because (I think) I can spot the problems or, perhaps because I think things could usually be better. There are many ways things could be improved, I’ll try to see if I can summarise the more obvious ones in a later post.

Out of interest though, is this just Glasgow? Do other students (medical or non) suffer terrible lectures?

And isn’t that a more useful type of feedback? Instead of being given a mark out of 5, wouldn’t you rather know students would rather be asleep than at that class? Hmm, frustration!

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Getting on

January 18th, 2010 No comments

It’s been a while since my last blog post and things are certainly moving on. In just over a year’s time I’ll be sitting my finals – this is quite a scary thought!

Before then I have to try and learn as much as I possibly can (and hope I don’t miss anything that comes up). The problem I’m finding is the lack of exam this year has left me a bit aimless. I certainly don’t enjoy exams, but they do make you learn. I have many ideas about how I would change the course set up, but that’s another post.

My current block placement is in general practice. Last year I really liked my attached GP placement – it was small and friendly. We got specific teaching and there was lots of time to discuss things. Ok, so I only went there every 2 weeks but this year I simply feel much more of a burden on the practice. So much so, my timetable is fairly laughable. This Wednesday, for example, I’ve been told to go to reception in the afternoon. Sigh.

This shouldn’t be taken as offensive to receptionists (who, I’m sure, are frequent readers!) but I simply don’t think I’m really going to get much out of it. My computer skills are, I believe, fairly good and I don’t think they want to spend time teaching me their system just so I can answer some phones.

All in all I’m finding life as a student pretty annoying at the moment. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know anywhere near enough to be “out in the wide world” but I often wonder whether I’d be feeling the same at different hospitals, medical schools or even in a different country. By far the most enjoyable part of my year so far was the student selected component (SSC) I did in neonatal medicine. I liked the subject, sure, but I also felt like part of the team.

Is this important though? Can I honestly say I learned more there than I have done elsewhere? Difficult to tell.

The flip side to this is how will I feel when I’m actually not a student any more? At the moment I think (and hope) i’ll enjoy it but time will tell. In the middle of all of this, thinking about jobs is something I feel I should be doing. Certainly it’s still early but I have many things to consider.

Firstly, do I want to think about an academic foundation post? This is a tough one. It may help balance the fact I didn’t intercalate and I certainly have an interest in teaching and (clinical!) research. But is this post necessary? Will it help? More importantly, do I stand a chance? A great proportion of people in my year have a intercalated (or other) degree. They will surely be more preferentially linked to one of these jobs. Another concern is the actual rotations themselves. Should I pick an alternative I’m more likely to end up doing things in the foundations years that are more towards what I currently would like to specialise in. This is something I think is now very important, since we don’t have a lot of time to search around lots of specialities.

However, academic foundation posts don’t recruit through the standard method. I’ll need to decide before the summer whether this is something I want to do or not.

Llots to consider. Another worry niggling away at me is whether I’ll be able to stay in Scotland at all (assuming I apply for a traditional programme). If so, where abouts? If not, where else? My current academic standing isn’t great and the talk about changing the system could be either good or bad. Ideally I want to be in the West of Scotland and certainly Scotland as a foundation school was under subscribed this year. Lets hope it stays the same!

Got a few other things I want to write about – UKCAT for one and then something geeky. Just need to find the time!

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Sorry it’s been quiet

November 25th, 2009 2 comments

As has been pointed it has been a (really) long time since I made a post.

So what’s been happening?

I’ve finished neonatal medicine, now switched completely to old-age psychiatry. As I will frequently mention I have no aspirations as a future psychiatrist. So this should be a bit of a nightmare for me. Thankfully it’s not quite that bad. Compared to my last block I’ve got a lot more free time to spend (mainly sleeping). Unlike the last block I have to write up roughly 1 case a week. I’m still trying to get used to that. Most others in my year have been doing this for a couple of blocks already. No idea what will happen when someone actually sits down to read these!

Working in an old-age ward is leading me to question the cognitive abilities of my family. I’m questioning whether I can really give them an assessment as a Christmas present?

First aid has again become an increasing part of my free time. Not quite what it once was but for some reason I seem to enjoy it. Maybe I’m just strange, but there you go. Glasgow on Ice is back and I’m spending a few evenings there. Hopefully the rain will eventually stop and we’ll get proper winter weather.

I should probably take this opportunity to mention the efforts the British Red Cross has contributed to the Cumbria flooding. A substantial amount of the rescue equipment and teams has travelled down from Northern Scotland to help. Unfortunately the regular media hasn’t really given much mention to BRC. The same should be said of the International Rescue Crops who are another voluntary agency responding to some considerable disasters in and out of the UK. Personally I hadn’t even heard of these guys until my major incidents module and was quite surprised to hear what they can do. Plus, given the origins of their name, I was quite interested in them. If you haven’t heard of them either, go have a look at what they do.

Not trying to become a complete charity case but it is impressive that there are people out there who respond to such incidents without even a bit of worry about recognition.

Closer to home I’ve recently been involved in the admissions committee for applicants in 2010. I don’t want to mention too much of it here since it is an ongoing process but I will probably spend a bit of time on the UKCAT in the near future. Interviews started today (I believe) so good luck to those who have them!

Unfortunately I’m quite a big X Factor follower. Personally I’m a Joe or Stacy fan, simply because they can sing. Loved Lucie, sad to see her go. It’s worryingly close to the final now, which means it’s almost Christmas. Shopping? Done none of that! Tomorrow is fortunately pay day so I should maybe start thinking about it.

That’s quite a good bit of catching up. I’ll try in future to do some smaller posts more frequently. Even though I say this it probably won’t happen.

Categories: General, Uni Tags: , ,

Keeping busy…really

October 6th, 2009 1 comment

Despite having completed 1/10th of my final teaching blocks left before I (hopefully) graduate, I haven’t really done much medicine yet. The start of this week seems to have changed all that. Yesterday was one of my longest days since exam revision. Somewhere along the lines of:

8am – leave flat

9am-12pm – Interprofessional stuff with the pharmacists (was better than expected, think I had a lucky group)

12pm – Lunch & walk back to the west end

2pm-5pm – Radiology lectures >.<

5:05pm – Grabbing a chocolate bar

5pm-?pm – Lecture on more major incident stuff & debrief of recent exercise

6pm – Red Cross meeting

6:45pm – Time I actually left other meeting to go to Red Cross meeting

7:50pm – Time I left Red Cross meeting

8:15pm – Home

All in all, that’s a lot for someone who’s been in for a couple of hours a week for the past month. Sadly I seem to like days that are busy and I worryingly hope it’ll be like that for a while starting tomorrow.

I’m expecting a lot from this next block (neonates). I’m hoping to try and get an audit completed since this is a common thing post-qualification and I’ve done nothing of the sort so far. There is also a bit of hope that I can experience some of the neonatal transport in the West…we’ll see.

Out of Uni I’ve been busy 1) trying to get an update of my IPB mod released, 2) doing some first aid for the Red Cross and 3) trying to produce some sort of fancy booklet for a conference. Not to mention sorting out what I’m doing for my elective. All this whilst going to the gym as frequently as I can (I’ve become a fan of the 8-9am slot!). To counter my gym habits I’ve become a keen baker too, serving a batch of cookies into work last weekend.

Kind of means this blog is being abandoned (sorry!) but I’ll keep doing the best I can.

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Keeping busy…ish

September 21st, 2009 No comments
Screen shot 2009-09-21 at 21.55.08

Welcome to Edinburgh...

It’s been a while now since my last post. I’d love to say that things have been hectically busy but this is not really the case. I’m now into my 4th week of 4th year with only 2 left to go before I’ve finished 1/10th of my final years.

So why has it not been too hectic? Unfortunately my “cohort” timetable is a bit medically challenged (at least before Christmas). I’m current on an SSM/SSC looking at Major Incidents, soon to be followed by one on neonates (which, I guess, will have some medicine in it). After that will be my first “proper” block – psychiatry.

So what have I been up to? Well in truth I’ve been holding out for some pictures to show. They should be worth it, but they’re not forthcoming. Instead, I’ve managed to find some video from Edinburgh Evening News here (hit play). The article basically explains what is going on. I can’t find myself in the video (I’d be on a stretcher) but will hopefully be able to get some sort of pictures in the future.

As my SSM is loosely based around this sort of stuff I also went to the site the week previously. This was a much smaller group, giving the ambulance staff a chance to familiarise themselves with the equipment. Unlike the actual scenario though, that day was raining considerably. I was pretty glad to see the sun on the 16th, since we were lying around for ages. The ins and outs of the day are a bit much to go into but I would recommend the casualty bit for the future – just make sure it’s summer (money is also a plus).

Other things I’ve been doing in the last few weeks include confined space rescuing with the fire service here (in the tunnel in the last photo. I managed to cannulate…ok so the model had no blood but still….). Also with the police in their vehicle (or similar!). The camera is fantastic, beware!

Finally getting started with the Red Cross. Should hopefully be doing a couple of events in the next month, including the fireworks in November. It was that night, 4 years ago, where I first considered becoming a first aid volunteer. Somehow it’s taken the 4 years for me to actually go there are a first aider. As per last year I’ll (timetable permitting) be teaching the 1st years some sort of first aid. Being me I’ve went and decided to redo some of last years slides to try and keep it interesting. I can hope…

Also managed to go to what may have been my last appearance an Open Day. I was giving 2 talks to prospective applicants (both went ok…I think).

Now I’ll try and keep this updated a bit more!

Credit for the photo should be given to the Evening News, as it comes from their video.

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Glasgow 1st year Medicine books

August 31st, 2009 5 comments

A lot of people who I meet coming to start at Glasgow are confused about whether they should be buying lots of books before hand. Probably not, it’s almost certainly better to wait until you start. Despite that, I thought I’d give my views on some books typically used in 1st year at Glasgow. All books link to Amazon although I don’t receive royalty for the links (so click away!).

Anatomy (Almost certainly one of these)


Now in a 2 volume 12th edition Tortora (as it’s affectionately known as) remains a favourite for 1st years. Covering most of the anatomy and physiology you will ever encounter, this is one a lot of people buy. Personally I would try and experiment a bit more, it’s a decent book but the faculty hate it. Some of the individual anatomy and physiology books offer more and explain things clearer.


Either this one or one of the updated Clinical or Colour atlases are faculty favourites for anatomy learning. I haven’t seen the updated books but I found McMinn’s a tricky book for beginners. Almost all of the images are based on dissected specimens which, although very realistic, make it hard to see what’s going where. I much prefer the (slightly larger) book below.


Recently updated, this excellent anatomy book tries to make everything seem relevant by relating it to clinical practice. Whilst perhaps a bit much for 1st or even 2nd year, I wish I’d bought it early and actually got the full use out of it. One to look at!


Not to be laughed at, this book is actually really good at making you apply anatomy – which is generally quite dull. It does require a bit of time to get it usable as a book but for something you are only slightly interested in learning (something you’ve come across but not expected to know in detail, for example) it can be useful.
Fast Track

Fast Track

I’ve only come across this recently but I’ve grown to like it. It presents a question and answer format for the most important and commonly encountered anatomy topics. A chapter is finished with pictures (not the best of quality) which show some of the topics. Nice and small book, perfect for the train or similar.

Read more…

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A&E so far

July 6th, 2009 No comments

I’m now into my second week of my A&E elective. So far I’ve seen a nice mix of things from painful hands, shoulders, ribs, knees, ankles and feet to COPD, DVTs, falls, chest and abdo pain to a cardiac arrest we were sadly unable to resuscitate. Quite a lot for just over a week of starting.

Last week was particularly warm outside but despite this the heating remained on for reasons that escape me. This turned the department into a sauna and I was struggling to cope. Now that we’re back to rain, the heating has been turned off and I’m almost feeling cold!

The attitude from staff has been excellent, everyone is happy for us to get involved. I’ve had the chance to practice some cannulation and blood gases. I’ve also done a fair number of venepuncture but this doesn’t quite excite me to the same extent. Indeed for the start of this week I’ll be working as a phleb from 7-9am and then in A&E from 9 till 4ish pm. Quite a long day! To top it off I plan to cycle in on those days so I should be fairly fit by the end of this (and shattered!).

The hospital is one of the few with a helicopter landing pad. Twice now I have been out with the brightly coloured jacket to receive the patient. As yet none has been terribly serious and I’ve just been happy to familiarise myself with procedures. It is probably only a matter of time though before we get something a little bit scary coming in and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s managed. I have take two of my own helicopter trip this Saturday which I’m looking forward to.

I plan on spending the Saturday night in the department to see what the infamous Glasgow population can get up to. That also happens to be T in the Park weekend (which I’m sadly not attending) so maybe it’ll be a little more tame than normal. We’ll see.

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Intercating? – No!

June 18th, 2009 No comments

Apparently I find out on July 1st what’s happening intercalated wise.

Or not – today in fact:

Due to the high number of applications this year your ranking is such
that we are unable to offer you your first or second choices on the BSc
(Med Sci) Clinical Medicine.

Here comes 4th year!

A bit shocked but I also kind of expected it. My grades were not exactly brilliant and that is what they generally go on.

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All done

May 22nd, 2009 1 comment

I’m finished at last!

Today was probably the best day of the week since I knew what was coming up. The only thing that really threw me was the breast examination. I was expecting a manikin but instead had an actor with some strap on breasts.

Heading to the Apple store now to try and see if my iPod is fixable then it’s drinking time! Won’t last long though before I head home to start an intensive care module.

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