Here are 3 things you should know before you venture into the practical world of clinical medicine. If you’re already on the wards/theatres/etc., it’s not too late – this will still help!
- You are a valuable member of the team! It’s easy to feel insignificant on a busy ward, ward round, clinic or theatre. But remember you are a valuable member of the team! With this thought at the back of your mind, stir up the courage to approach a member of staff (it doesn’t always have to be a doctor) and let them know who you are and what you want to do. E.g. “Hello, My name is Leo/Liz, I am a medical student in my third year. I will be spending the morning with the doctors and learning on the cardiology ward round. How can I help and get stuck in?” You will be pleasantly surprised with the responses you will receive.
- Be early, not on time, but early. Getting to your location 10-15 minutes early keeps you calm and prepared. You’ll also notice that, just because you arrived several minutes earlier, you will have greater learning opportunities.
- Remember it is a learning process; you are in a safe and perfect environment to learn from highly skilled professionals and kind patients. You will not be an expert at lumbar punctures, diagnosing aortic stenosis, taking a history or examining a patient on the first day! These are skills you will learn and continue to master throughout medical school and even after you start working as a doctor. Do not be too hard on yourself, enjoy it.