Saturday, 4 December 2010


Maybe best to first explain a bit. Final year of medical school in NL is a sort of student-intern year, in which we're called 'semi-doctors' or 'senior med students'. Faculty policies allow you to start on that year with one regular placement still 'open', in my case that was the elective I am now doing in the UK. That means, in practice, that I've gone back one level on the medical ladder. And I was really pleased with moving up that ladder in the first place... and here is why:

Being a med student sucks. You come to hospital to learn, and sometimes you have to go in there even in the middle of the night. To learn medicine, you know. While in hospital, your actual learning is left to the whims of people who are (in this case) only slightly your senior. First three nights were all-right, really, and I rather enjoyed the third night. Because I did well and did things and actually learned some medicine. Then came last night.

As I went in, one of the male nurses warned me that A&E was 'all in your face'. I shrugged it off, busy A&E is just part of life, and back in NL I could make myself useful in a busy A&E. Having lost my status as 'semi doc' (really, not that much different than the UK FY1), I'm just a medical student. A year after I finished my last regular placement, I haven't fallen into the submissiveness that is expected from a med student. I wasn't prepared for the frustration that came.

Just before midnight I had seen my first patient. Adolescent with early-pregnancy bleeding, I couldn't find an immediate cause for the bleeding but it wasn't that severe and she showed no warning symptoms so in my head I had decided that she'd be safe to go home. BUT I couldn't find a doctor, they were ignoring me. (Then of course, I found the flow chart, and the flow-chart stated exactly what I had just figured out all by myself). Later on, the lady was sent home by a see-and-treat nurse. Who completely ignored the fact that I had seen the girl. A few bloods and a failed cannula later, I had seen a young fellow who came in with blackouts. This was after I was planning to see nr 3 on the 'to be seen' list and the nurse in charge told me to see someone lower down on the list. Blackout boy was nr 5 or 6. Blackouts are possibly seizures, but I don't have enough info to distinguish, but regardless, the patient needed a referral to neuro. Right. So I was standing there, completely useless, learning absolutely nothing. Waiting for Blackout boy to be seen by someone with a degree. Trying to at least see or do something that might teach me something, apart from more cannulas and bloods. At some point I was chatting with one of the nurses, and a pretty black female doc told us to 'mind the swearing' because we're professionals. I don't recall any profanities in the conversation. Still waiting, still doing bloods. Still feeling annoyed that the kind doctor whom I asked if he had any tips to keep rolling veins from rolling explained to me how to do bloods... that was NOT my question!... and then proceeded to watch me perform my tenth venapuncture of this set of shifts. At 3:30AM Pretty Black Female Doctor had taken Blackout Boy's notes in a moment when my eyes were off the stack of notes and proceeded to see him while I was standing RIGHT THERE at the desk. It's not even like the medical student assessment sheet could be filled in by any med student, I was the only one there. I can't even say that taking his history and examining him taught me anything. I already know how to do that.

I literally did a 180degree spin on the heels of my terrific boots and headed home. I decided I'd learn more medicine by watching Doctor Who DVDs. I'd definitely feel less useless.

If I were a super hero I'd like to be something like the Doctor. But a female one. Naturally. A heroine who uses wit and wisdom over brawl, one with a bit of mystery about her. I'd like her to have some sort of hidden pain; maybe something like the everlasting search for a place to call home. Not something typically girly like a lost lover. She'd be hot, besides, lots of men kick on the idea of a powerful woman. Sadly they rarely have the guts to actually go for her. Women could identify with her, the world needs more female superheroines. Superheroines isn't even a word, according to my spell checker. A lady who is truly in control. Why are these amazing characters always men? I don't want her to be teen-slutty like most female supers. Sensual, mysterious....powerful. 
I think the Doctor-concept would work really well with a female Doctor, to be honest. We'd just need something more sophisticated than a screwdriver maybe. 

Sadly, it would only sell to men because they'd like to fuck her. Now you tell me who the stronger sex really is. 


  1. Just stick it out... Try your best, go find the docs after you do your assessment.

    Let the phlebotomists do the blood draws and you can do something more valuable. You have the knowledge, now you just need to apply the skills!

  2. heh thanks. That actually WAS me trying my best. I can't go find them immediately after my assessment, because that would mean they might get seen earlier than people who arrived before them. Go Britain.