A Week In The Life Of A Medical Student | Paediatrics Rotation

Friday, 11 January 2019
Hi guys!

This is a post that's been in the works for a long old while, as I wrote it back in August last year whilst on my paediatrics rotation but then completely forgot to polish and post it with all the rush of final exams that caught up with me very quickly. I hope you'll forgive me for posting it now that I finally have time to edit it! This was my very first week of the new rotation so it was my first opportunity to get my head around all things kid-related! Let's take a look at what a typical week was like on the paediatrics team.

Monday wasn't too full-on as it was our first day of the rotation. In the morning we had an introductory session from the rotation coordinator, where she explained the expectations and practicalities of the rotation as well as giving us some hints as to what topics we should be focussing on learning for the exams. After that session we had about 15 minutes break, just enough for me to run and grab a sandwich from the staff cafe right at the other end of the hospital.

While scoffing my sandwich I attended the paediatric X-Ray meeting which happens every Monday to review all the interesting imaging results from the last week. The whole team including most of the consultants and the leading radiologist go to the meeting so it was a good chance for us to introduce ourselves as the new faces around the department for the next 6 weeks.

In the afternoon I went to my usual Monday afternoon 'Flip Out' gym class which I really love. Most of the exercises involve tyres, whether it be bench pressing them or flipping them, hence the name of the class! In the evening I cooked dinner for my housemates and even managed to convince myself into doing a bit of study before bedtime.
Today I was on placement with the Hospital In The Home (HITH) team. This meant hanging out with one of the nurses for the morning and getting to go out on home visits which was exciting. The HITH team will often do regular visits for families who had a premature baby, as they generally need lots of extra attention even once they've gone home, so I got to see lots of cute babies! It was actually a fairly quick round of visits for the morning and I was home by about 11.30 AM in time to make myself a nice lunch and get some good study in before I attended a committee meeting for the rural health club in the evening.

Woohoo, I had Wednesday pretty much completely off to do as I pleased!
For full disclosure, I really didn't do as much study as I should have, but I did spend most of the morning getting frustrated and filling in endless forms for my overseas placements later in the year.
After I finished my forms I was finding myself procrastinating study quite a bit, so put on my timer for an hour to force myself into getting some work done. I managed to finish the hour but it was a struggle, with my brain wanting to get distracted every 2 minutes! It was just one of those days but at least I tried, right?

Thursday was a biiiig day! My first stop was at the hospital for the paediatrics handover at 8AM. It was very entertaining finding my way to the handover room as I'd never been there before-  it's in the back of about 3 weird twisting corridors, and to top it off all the lights were off at the time I arrived (it keeps the environment nicer for the babies while they're sleeping).
After listening to handover I headed across the road to the private clinics as I was rostered with one of the private paediatricians for the day. We saw two very cute babies for their six week checks and I wrote the notes for both the consultations.
After those consults were through I headed back over to the hospital for lunch and sat in on a teaching session about tuberculosis, which was actually really interesting!

For the rest of the afternoon I sat in with the same paediatrician for his public patients, and got to see a couple of patients on my own and write plenty of notes. It's always good to feel like you're actually being helpful and achieving something with your time!
I got home about 6pm tired but satisfied, and spent the evening watching the Bachelor with my housemates and getting great joy out of making fun of all the contestants together!

I had the morning off on Friday but unfortunately had a bit of a slow start as I woke up with a headache. I took some panadol and distracted myself for a while watching some youtube videos about places to travel in India.
I felt a lot better after relaxing for a bit, so went for a run in the rain along the esplanade to refresh myself. Before my tutorial at 12.30 I also did a bit of planning for the weekend ahead, writing my to-do list and tidying up my room (I explain how I like to prepare for the weekend on a Friday in my How I Maximize My Weekends post here!)

After my tutorial I had bedside teaching with one of the senior paediatricians, where a small group of us students go to see a patient together and get tips on improving our history and examination skills. I felt quite sorry for the poor little boy and his family that we saw, as the doctors hadn't yet worked out what was going on and they were clearly quite stressed with the situation! However I do know that they have since found a diagnosis and are on their way to improving his condition, which is a relief. That brought my first week of paeds to an end.

So that was my experience in my first week of paediatrics! I'm quite enjoying paeds so far, as it's never the kid's fault when they're sick so it makes it much easier to be empathetic. I've got to cuddle so many cute babies as well!
Next week I'm on evening shifts, which contrary to what some might think, I'm actually really looking forward to! Our evening shifts don't actually go all that late, so it will free up my mornings to be productive as I like without leaving me too tired from late evenings. Happy days!

I'd love to know what a typical week in your life looks like and how it differs to mine, so do let me know in the comments! Is this what you thought the life of a paediatric doctor would be like?
Kate x

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