How do you feel about Monday mornings? I can never quite decide if I really like them or really don’t, but this week definitely started in a very good way.
In this post, I’ll talk you through whole day, to give you an idea of what a day in the life of a medical student on clinical placement is like. Obviously no two days are the same, this is just a quick snapshot!
Last week I started my obstetrics and gynaecology rotation, which will last 6 weeks in total. During this time, my weeks are split between gynaecology outpatients (clinics), gynaecology theatres (operating rooms) and inpatients, anti-natal care, obstetrics and labour ward/ theatres, and genitourinary clinics.
I spent last week mainly in gynaecology clinics, and this Monday my week on the labour ward/ obstetrics theatres started.
I much prefer ward based and surgical activities compared to clinics (personal choice!), so I was quite excited about starting this week. This is how my Monday went..
I woke up at 6:30am and got ready for placement. I don’t really mind early starts, but sometimes waking up early is a bit difficult. Lately I’ve been using this app called Sleep Cycle that wakes you up at the best time in your sleep cycle within a set time window (e.g. 30 minutes 6-6:30am), and I found it very helpful. I’d definitely recommend it if you need a little extra help getting up in the morning!
I had breakfast – a bowl of oats with berries and peanut butter, and a cup of coffee. I then spent a few minutes planning my week in my bullet journal (more details in a separate blog post), and got ready to leave the house.
I got to hospital around 7:45am, introduced myself to the staff on the ward and got changed into scrubs. I really love placements where you get to wear scrubs and trainers instead of semi-formal clothes all day, so much more comfortable! At 8am I joined the team (obstetricians, midwives, anaesthetists) for the morning board round. This is when all the current patients on the ward are discussed and the night team updates the day team about anything that happened over night.
After the board round, I checked with the doctors which patients would be most appropriate for me to follow for the day. As part of our placement we have to observe a few normal deliveries, and this means following a patient until they give birth. The doctor suggested I ask the midwives if they had any low risk patients, so that’s what I did. The midwives were all so lovely and helpful, and in no time I found my patient for the day, introduced myself and joined their team. Sometimes patients are in labour for many hours, but luckily for my patient it didn’t take too long, and by early afternoon she had her new baby!
After the delivery, I left for a quick lunch break (tip for clinical placement: whenever there is some quiet time, have your lunch break! This is very important, and when people are busy working nobody will tell you to go have your lunch, so just take the initiative yourself).
After lunch I went back to the labour ward and followed the doctor conducing a check on the newborn baby. After this, the ward was fairly quiet, so the doctor took me to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to show me what it’s like. Before Monday I had only spent time in the adult intensive care unit (and really liked it), it’s crazy how tiny everything is in the NICU! I saw some very small babies needing lots of support in the form of nutrition, respiratory support, fluids, temperature monitoring and more. It was a very good experience to understand what happens to the babies after delivery if any problems arise.
My patient from the morning was well enough to be discharged home the same day (together with her baby), which is great news.
After placement (I left the hospital around 4pm, fairly early) I went back home for a quick break, and then headed out to the library to get some studying done. Last week I didn’t get much work done at all because I was (not so patiently) waiting for my exams results to be released (more in another post), but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.
I feel that my baseline knowledge around obs&gynae is a bit rusty at the moment, so I started studying by reviewing some of the normal anatomy and physiology relevant to labour before diving into all the pathological processes. I’ve been using this book titled Essential obstetrics and gynaecology, I really like it so far because each chapter has an “essential information” box, which is very helpful for remembering key concepts.
Around 6:45pm I ventured out to the gym. This is another aspect that I had been ignoring during exam season, so I thought Monday would be a good day to get back into the routine of exercising regularly. I only worked out for about 50 minutes, but it felt good to finally get back to it.
After the gym I went back home, had dinner and relaxed for the rest of the evening with housemates. I went to bed around 11pm, ready to repeat it all the next day (Tuesday I would be observing Caesarean sections in theatre).
Top tip for your obstetrics placement
Introduce yourself to the midwives – they are lovely and so helpful; as a medical student you need to witness normal and uncomplicated deliveries, so ask them for advice. Midwives are so knowledgeable about everything related to delivering a baby, and will be great teachers!
Have you had any similar placements? I’d love to hear your experiences and tips for this rotation!!! Just comment below.