We’re now in our third week of term, and there’s been plenty to write about since I last posted, but it’s been hard to find the time and energy. Considering that in my working life I was used to starting early and finishing late, I’m finding the shorter uni days surprisingly tiring, and no, it’s not due to staying out late and partying every night! I’m missing my bright office with all its windows now that I spend most of my day in stuffy, windowless lecture theatres, and I definitely need to get back into the habit of getting outside for some exercise during lunch breaks, especially now that the days are getting shorter.
One of the more fun things on my schedule last week was an afternoon visit to a GP practice. Whilst some people were lucky enough to be assigned to practices within walking distance, my group drew the geographical short straw, being assigned to a practice outside of Dundee, 45 minutes away by bus. We visited the practice as a group of 6, and were split into pairs to shadow a GP for the afternoon. Luckily none of the patients objected to our presence, so we had the opportunity to sit in on a number of very different consultations, including observing some minor surgery. The GP I was assigned to was very good about explaining the different conditions that the patients presented with, making it a great learning experience, not to mention a good break from sitting in lectures. I also had the chance to play patient during the week, when I volunteered as a trauma patient for the 5th years to practice on. More of that in another post, when I have some photos to share.
Aside from my busy schedule and a touch of the freshers flu, my week was complicated by some personal drama – having just started letting the cats outside, one of them went missing for 24 hours. Fortunately, after ringing around all the local vets and registering him on a couple of lost pet websites, I found him whilst I was out putting lost cat leaflets through all the doors in my neighbourhood. Despite the fact he wasn’t that far away, it took a traumatic hour to coax him back home. I can only hope that the local car showroom didn’t have too good a laugh at my expense watching their CCTV footage the next morning, since I spent a lot of time crawling under cars trying to catch him. He seems to have recovered fine from the experience and is keen to get out again, but I’m still a bit nervous to be honest, so both the kittens are currently back under house arrest whilst I work up the courage to let them out again!
At the end of the week we had our second clinical skills class, where we learnt how to take basic observations and chart them – blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate, and oxygen saturation. It turns out that taking blood pressure is more of a challenge than it might seem, and I really felt all fingers and thumbs trying to juggle both blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. This is definitely something I’m going to need to practice a lot.