Life of a medical student: Obs and Gynae placement

Hello everyone! I am blogging about my clinical placements and what’s it like being at the hospital during covid times.

I am in my obstetrics and gynaecology placement in Dundee. One of the most exciting part of my rotation were surgical theatre days.

I had to wake up early and arrive at the ward for the de-briefing and morning rounds to meet the patients before they go into surgery. The morning rounds usually start around 8:00 am where I met the consultant, clinical fellow and another medic. They explained us the patient histories and the elective caesarean section procedure. We then went down to the theatres at level 5, to scrub in for the surgery. I was interested in seeing the anaesthetics side of obstetrics, so I asked the anaesthetist if I could observe the procedure. He took me on board and quizzed me about spine anatomy and medications being used.

By 9 o clock we were ready to start with the procedure. I was standing right next to the doctor as he was doing the surgery. He explained how he would be focusing on the surgery and if I had any questions to ask in the end. This was my first time seeing a baby being born so I was very nervous yet excited. I had talked with the patient earlier and she explained how this was her first born and was quite anxious herself. However, her husband was right next to her providing her support and encouraging words during the surgery.

As soon as the surgeon made the first incision, he explained his findings to the clinical fellow. I am personally fascinated with anatomy since that’s the foundation to understand how the human body works and functions. Within a few minutes, the nurse was ready with the cot as the doctor was delivering the baby. There was quite a lot of bleeding and the view was unclear. Nevertheless, the doctor stayed calm and went logically along the procedure.

As soon as we all heard the baby’s first cry, all the nurses were in relief and awed at the new-born. The surgeon quickly handed the baby to the nurse while all his focus was on the mother. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I saw the baby’s size and how the mother had carried and nourished for months. It was awe-inspiring.

Getting the baby out seemed to be the easy part, however ensuring that the mother was no longer bleeding and closed effectively was the long part. Since, the doctors focus was on trying to find the bleeding source he asked for my assistance with holding the surgical equipment. My panic rose when I saw how quickly the doctor had to work around the bleeding site to prevent any major haemorrhage. Shortly, the doctor stopped the bleeding, sutured the patient and finished the surgery with no complications. We congratulated both the mother and father, had a quick look at the baby and headed out for a small break before the next surgery.

One of the most essential part of our obstetrics placement is being on a night shift. From what I had heard from my friends, it is usually a long quite night however this wasn’t in my case. When I was at my night shift, I was shadowing the doctors and following check-ups on all the mothers in the labour suite. Within an hour after finishing check-ups, a mother had gone into labour. The doctor and I rushed to her room to help the mother deliver her baby naturally. This was very different from my surgical c-section experience, since this happened spontaneously and there was no planning involved. It was also scary since the mother was in a lot of pain and didn’t have time to take any pain-relief medications. I had a new appreciation for a midwife’s role and how she encouraged and supported the mother through the birthing process.

I was surprised at how quickly the baby was delivered as compared to the surgery. In such a time straining environment, having good coordination and communication between the doctor, midwife and patient was vital for a successful delivery. I was still in shock as to how I had just seen a baby been delivered and was trying to process everything I had seen.

After that, we reviewed in-coming patients at the triage that had various concerns. Someone came in as they realized they were having contractions however it was just Braxton hicks. While another anxious patient came in because they were feeling stressed about the delivery process. It was all about acknowledging their worries and helping to solve them. As a medical student, I got to do a lot of hands-on procedures like taking bloods, doing ultrasounds to find baby’s heartbeat and position. The doctor taught me about understanding a cardiotocograph and how to find abnormalities and investigate further. Her explanation was helpful as it aided with our lectures and allowed me to appreciate it in real-life clinical settings.

Overall, it was definitely an eventful night, and I was exhausted to say the least. It was truly an incredible experience to see how wonderful the female body is and how it can bring new life into the world.


Written by:

Hello ! My name is Nidhi. I am an international medic studying at University of Dundee.