Only in Cardiff, Studying

My First On Call as a Medical Student at Cardiff University

Hi guys sorry I’ve been off the chart for the past few weeks.

I’ve been crazily busy preparing for a Situational Judgment Test which all UK final year medical students now have to sit as part of the application process for our foundation year Doctor jobs.

Preparing for that on top of normal training and a pretty full on placement hasn’t left much time for blogging, and I’m guessing you didn’t want to hear me moan about revision anyway!

As a medical student,  in your clinical years, you spend most of your time in hospital seeing patients Monday to Friday before disappearing on a Friday afternoon to spend the weekend letting your hair down and re-charging your batteries. However people don’t stop getting ill just because it’s the weekend, they don’t go home to re-charge their batteries and come back in just in time for next Monday’s ward round. So what happens in the hospital at the weekend and what’s different about being a weekend Dr? I decided to find out with my first ever “ON CALL”.

As a medical student you aren’t expected to come into hospital at the weekends, but as a Junior Dr it will be a big part of your job, so as I only have 6 months left until I qualify (touch wood) I decided to find out what actually happens on the weekends.

Knowing one of the Juniors who was on call from a previous placement I decided to join him for his 12-12 shift on Sunday. Arriving at the hospital the first thing I noticed was just how quiet it was. Gone was the hustle and bustle of a weekday, now replaced by empty corridors and perfect silence. Needless to say the silence didn’t last long.

Meeting the junior down in the hospitals A&E department it was busy from the word go – we started off by seeing a lady who had come in short of breath quickly followed by two gentleman –  one who had been vomiting blood and the second who had collapsed whilst sitting down to his Sunday lunch.

It was great to see so many different patients and be so hands-on in helping the Juniors take their histories, do the examinations and help order and interpret some of the investigations to try to figure out what was wrong with our patients.

By the time we had seen and stabilised these patients it was already 4pm so we quickly grabbed a snack from the canteen before heading to see a few sick patients on the wards. First up was a lady whose blood pressure was dangerously low. It was great to see how calmly and effectively the Junior Dr was able to deal with the situation and get things back under control.

Next was a gentleman who had pulled out his PEG (stomach feeding tube) and needed a new one put in before the hole in his stomach closed up! Just as we were getting the things ready for the procedure the on call bleep goes off and we are called to assist in theatre immediately on a pregnant lady who has appendicitis. Within 5 minutes we were scrubbed and a few minutes later I got to help out by holding and moving the laparoscopic camera to give the surgeon the best view of the operation.

 An hour later and we are finished in theatre and it’s now 11pm. We literally haven’t stopped, things have moved faster than the Japanese bullet train today. We just have enough time before the end of our shift to go back to put the feeding tube back into the patients that we got called away from earlier and do a few other jobs like putting out blood forms for the morning before its time to head home.

It was a crazy day but I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or done and learned so much in one day! I’m definitely going to do another before I graduate and would definitely recommend that all other med students do it too. But I may leave doing a whole weekend until I actually have to!


No comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *