Intern year in progress

Well, I graduated.

This piece of news is likely not a surprise to those who are close to me as this actually happened more than two months ago. For those who haven’t caught up yet, YAY I FINALLY HAVE MY DR TITLE. I also got an internship position in Australia despite being an Australian-trained international medical student. The Commonwealth Government was nice enough to release extra positions to accommodate those needing internship positions and I was one of them. Sure enough, I have to do return of service in the rural Australia, but that’s what I want out of my career path anyway…

Intern year so far has been quite uneventful. It’s week 4 in my first term, urology at the private hospital. Workload is definitely lighter than in the public system, but being one of the first interns in the private sector makes me feel like I’m flying solo in the jungle… So far, most of the consultants have been very supportive, although they are not too sure of what role I can play in the hospital just yet.

To summarise my experiences so far, here are the highlights and the lowlights.

HIGHLIGHTS:

+ My reg telling me that I’m more than a competent intern

+ The medical admin manager asking me if she can use my ‘exemplary’ discharge summary for one of the education sessions she is planning

+ Planning to see The Tallest Man on Earth at the Sydney Opera House in a couple of weeks

+ Meeting the other interns

 

LOWLIGHTS:

- Being told by one of the consultants that I don’t even work with that my rotations at the public hospital will kill me and she thinks that I won’t be able to handle the pressure

- Being told by the same consultant that the private hospital does not need me and that I was probably doing next to no work at all

- Not being paid overtime or on call

- I haven’t been paid at all for the 5 weeks that I’ve worked

 

N

Phase 4 in progress

Dear readers,
I passed my final set of medical school exams!!!

You’re probably asking why I still haven’t graduated even though I passed my exam almost a month ago… Well, I’m currently in the last leg of my medical degree, a leg called Phase 4. Phase 4 in UOW GSM is composed of an elective (a rotation that can be done anywhere in the world), a selective (has to be in Australia), and a Pre-Internship (which mine will be in Wollongong).

I’m in Darwin at the moment, with the cardiology team. The team is big but also inclusive. I definitely feel like I’m a useful medical student/part of the team being in cardiology this term. Being in Darwin is also quite shocking. It is here (and likely in other parts of the Northern Territory) where you see a different type of medicine compared with the rest of Australia, different because you see diseases that are commonly associated with third-world countries (i.e. NOT ones you’ll find in Australia). Last week alone, I saw two different 20 year-old Aboriginals with heart failure from rheumatic heart disease. It is an eye-opener to realise that the health condition of Aboriginals is beyond terrible compared to the rest of the population.

In a lighter note, Darwin is quite enjoyable. I’ve met a few other elective students from outside of Australia and we have spent a few days/nights hanging out playing trivia or going to the beach. It’s great that the buses are free, but public transport during the weekend is terrible. Hence why I’m stuck in the computer lab updating this blog.

Expect a few more posts from me in Darwin.

Regards,
N

Lady, your son doesn’t need any treatment. YOU DO!

So, I was working in the ED yesterday because my preceptor is the VMO on call for this weekend. A mother brought in her son who has a small laceration on his chin.

Mother: HELP! My son is injured badly! He won’t stop bleeding.

Child wasn’t crying, but wasn’t saying much either.

Me: OK, I’ll just get you to fill in the form and I’ll triage him in a sec.

Mother: BUT HE’S BLEEDING! HE’S GOING TO LOSE A LOT OF BLOOD!

Me: Sorry, we have a spinal patient needing more attention at the moment.

I went off to help the patient with the ?cervical fracture. Came back to see the lady and her son after 10 mins.

Me: OK, you can come in now. *lead both to the procedure room*

Mother: I’m afraid he may have broken his jaw when his chin landed on the cement block.

Me: *assessing the jaw and playing with the child* Can you point to where the pain is?

Child points to the chin.

Me: *pressing around the mental protuberance* Is it painful here?

Child shook his head. I went ahead and checked for any other injuries. Child only had a superficial laceration about 2cm length and 6mm deep on the mental protuberance, no discomfort other than the superficial injury itself.

Me: OK, it looks like your son has just got this laceration. We’ll give it a good clean and then we’ll glue the wound.

Mother: I think he needs an x-ray. You can see that he is in pain.

Me: Look, I’ve examined your son and he is not complaining of any pain to me even when I pressed around his wound. I don’t think he’ll be needing any x-ray.

I left to grab some saline and skin glue. Came back, gave his chin a good wash and proceed to start gluing.

Mother: Oh, aren’t you supposed to give it a clean?

Me: *thinking ‘lady, you should have been watching me instead of texting the picture of his wound to your relatives” I just did a minute ago. *kept gluing*

When I was done, the lady asked if she could also get his prescription of the preventer med for his asthma.

Mother: My son has been having asthma attacks recently. I haven’t given him his preventer for almost 2 weeks cos the GP has given me the wrong dosage for his preventer.

Me: *thinking surely this lady could have gone in for another prescription* OK, I’ll check. *went to the medication room to look for the same med, which the ED doesn’t stock, but there was an equivalent med*

I went to check with my preceptor if the substitute med was appropriate, which he said yes, and to the mother to see if the child had specific drug allergies, which he didn’t.

Me: Well, we don’t have medication A, but we have got medication B which essentially does the same thing.

Mother: I don’t trust you and that medication. *went into a rant about how she would rather not give him any medications than accept medication B, how the medical system is so corrupt and inefficient, and how the doctors know nothing whatsoever.

Me: !!!

 

Some days, I just wish that there is a plague that targets stupidity and ignorance.

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The Scheme of Things

Today’s lesson is titled ‘The Scheme of Things’ for a reason.

A medical student friend of mine who lives only 15 minutes away from my place was involved in a car accident while traveling to attend his CBL this morning. To cut the story short, he swerved to avoid a kangaroo and in turns were involved in an MVA with another car and a truck. His car is a write-off, but he has managed to escape with a cut on the forehead, bruises on the chin and his ego. Despite the condition of the cars involved, everyone survived and were relatively unharmed.

Today was a doozy for my friend. The police came this afternoon and he was charged with negligent driving. He’ll have a massive bill from the hospital. The car is a write-off, so he’ll have nothing to drive for the next few months. Plus, he probably needs to pay for the garage for the cost to remove the car, etc. Definitely a doozy of a day.

BUT

  • In the scheme of things, he is still alive. Looking at his car, I would have thought that he wouldn’t have survived.
  • In the scheme of things, everyone else is unharmed. Ego bruising aside, no one died. Heck, no one, beside from my friend, had to stay in the hospital.
  • In the scheme of things, it could have been much worse, but IT ISN’T.

Long after today, it would have been just another day when something happened. People learn from mistakes or bad experiences. In the scheme of things, it is just like another gravel in the road of life, nothing less and nothing more…

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Dear rain, please stop…

It has been raining here. A LOT.

Not that I mind rain, but this damn rain has cancelled the first sporting competition of my life, namely the team triathlon I was supposed to be a part of. I was supposed to be doing the swimming part in the sprint triathlon and I was so excited for it as I’ve been training all summer. This damn rain also prevented me from going for a swim for 3 days as the pool was closed due to some flooding/puddling and I’m definitely not a happy swimmer.

To make matter worse, the rain has caused my internet to go tut tut… It takes me 30 minutes to check my email in the morning. I was able to get to the Riverina Rush website yesterday to register for the 2k open water swim, but the net kept going out. I tried registering today, but I think the rego is closed already.

I am cranky and tired and I want this rain to stop.

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community immersion program

1. find something that you like

2. do it

3. do it with other people who like doing things you like to do

If only I can foresee things ahead of me…

Dear blog,

To tell the truth, I’m a little bit scared of this year… There are too many ‘what if’s’ and I never like them. When I was taking a siesta earlier, I suddenly thought of what I need to do this year. I am such a planner that the idea that nothing in the next few years will be certain is quite painful.

First, I need to pass the exams and I don’t have a good record of passing med school exams. I just get so anxious having to do them that I almost always expect the worst to happen. Lo and behold, the worst comes.

In addition to the exams, I need to tackle the internship issue. I can’t afford not having a job and I can’t stand not knowing whether or not I’ll get an internship position. Every international student who wanted an internship position in NSW last year received a place, but I don’t think that is a guarantee as it is getting much harder to get a position anywhere with the medical student tsunami. I have no other way than to apply everywhere. Next week, I am planning to put in an application for NZ. It will be my last option, but I need to be prepared or otherwise I’ll be unemployed after 200k education.

I’ll end on a good note as I don’t want to be too depressing. One of my favourite websites, Apartment Therapy, had a post the other day on the Lego company office in Denmark complete with pictures of a giant slide. I want a giant slide in my house…

 

Ta,

N

A GIANT SLIDE!!!

Lego_rect540

The giant slide in the Lego office. Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Fourth (and hopefully final) year

Dear blogosphere,

I decided that this is a good time to update since:

1. I’m at the practice with internet connection that is not as crap as the Telstra dongle.

2. It’s lunch time and I have no patient scheduled until 2pm.

 

Since the last time I updated, there have been a few things going on. My weight loss program is still going strong, however I’ve lost the website and the password for my weight tracker. Currently I’m about 93kg, which is 3kg lighter than the beginning of December. I still go swimming almost daily, but today I was having some chest pain while I was swimming. I think it’s a musculoskeletal chest pain, not painful anymore now, but I could only swim for 45 minutes instead of my usual 1.5-2 hours. I’ll have to do a bit more tomorrow to balance it out. I feel like my weight is plateauing but at least I’m still active and not gaining weight…

Other than my weight loss program, I’ve also been accepted for my elective and selective. My selective is up first in July and I’m going to Darwin for cardiology followed by my paed elective in Singapore. This is very exciting, because that means I can get everything finalised ASAP and don’t have to worry about it before the exams, which are gonna be my last med school exams for me in June. Have your fingers and toes crossed for me. I’m starting OSCE practice tonight by reviewing the clinical examinations.

I have a lot of things that I need to get done, but I should be OK. I made a list the other day of what I need to do. Finish my written assignment this weekend, finalise elective and selective in February, apply to NZ internships also in February, finish my research project and have everything written in March, blablabla. It doesn’t look fun and it won’t be, but I’m so looking forward to tackling them especially because I can already see the finish line.

Don’t worry it won’t be all work and no fun. I’m heading back to Zegong in April for a friend’s wedding and to renew my passport. There is another wedding that I was originally supposed to usher for a couple who happened to be undergrad friends/ex-housies in the USA, but now that is no longer happening as it is right before the exams. I’ll just give them a shoutout here when the time comes… Sad, but I suppose that’s the reality. You can’t have everything that you want…

Take it easy,

*N

New Year of Blogging

Dear blog,
I thought having a Christmas and New Year break means having more time to blog. How wrong can I be? Very…

I’ve been a bit lazy in my blogging department for the last few months, but I think I’ve been the opposite in real life. Since the last time I updated, there have been a few changes in my life. I better outline them here.

1. I’m about 3 kg lighter. YAY! Been very good with my exercise program and diet. First week, I lost 1 kg, but the I gained a couple during Christmas. Ever since then, I’m down to 93 kg from the original 96 in the beginning of December. My regime includes 1.5-2 hours of swimming followed by light bike riding. In the beginning, I could only take 30 mins of swimming, but thankfully my stamina has built up. Diet-wise, fewer desserts and more water seem to help. I have such a sweet tooth that I don’t know how I haven’t had a dessert since the New Year…

2. I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED TO CARDIOLOGY IN ROYAL DARWIN. This will be in July after I pass my last med school exam in June. Fingers crossed. I sent my application for paediatrics in Singapore, so fingers tightly crossed for that one. I’m very much looking forward to authentic Asian food in Singapore, especially after being ‘stranded’ in rural NSW for the last few months.

Actually, I shouldn’t complain about being here. It’s such a nice little town and my co-workers and preceptors have been nothing but amazing. I can thank the practice I’m at for reviving my once lost interest in general practice. I can definitely see myself being a GP, especially because it would give me time for other business ventures (I’ve been busy planning for a patisserie & cafe in a distant future; a man can dream really).

I don’t know what else to write, except to wish everyone a HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR and here’s to achieving your goals in this new year.

Ta,
*N

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