As I have completed my GCSEs this year, I started my summer holidays extremely early and almost a month has gone by since. I wouldn’t want that month to have gone to waste and my extra bit of holiday to amount to nothing, so I decided to do something productive and get a job, not a paid one, but a job nonetheless.
Working at my local medical practice this past week was actually quite enjoyable and I have learnt many things; it was a nice change from my last work placement and this time I got to do more than just a spot of shredding.
This is just part of what I got up to during my time at the practice:
I met everyone in the practice and they were nice and friendly. I did some scanning, stamping, opening of letters as if it were Christmas and nosed about through patients’ business (only I can’t tell you anything). I sat at reception and saw the way they prioritised patients in order of urgency, handle prescriptions and rude patients.
I spent the morning with the phlebotomist (blood-taker), learned how to find my veins (the visible blue ones), and my pulse. I held warm blood tubes and gently shook them so as not to break the cells. I noticed that not everyone is as big a wimp as I am; I saw our first patient through my fingers but then became more comfortable as I saw the ease of the procedure and the speed at which the tubes filled up. I didn’t take any blood but by the end of it I felt like I would know how to. Perhaps some dart practice to help me along…
I joined the nurse in vaccinating squirming children, poking at squidgy swollen feet and peeking into magnified ears. I learnt that cotton buds are evil and that their inventor’s motivation was purely financial. The ears had dried blood, blocking wax and a burst drum, all because of an innocent looking cotton bud. A man entered with sharp abdominal pains; trapped wind was suggested but upon checking a urine sample, blood was detected even though the urine looked perfectly normal. I also pressed a little boy’s spotty belly to see if it was meningitis but because the spots reappeared shortly after pressing and he was far too lively, it was nothing serious.
I did general admin work; updating event calendars, taking in and stamping the mail and discovering a birthday card (not for me) in the mail. I oversaw a patient consultation meeting, signing people in and making sure forms were completed. I rummaged through a neat filing system to find a patient’s notes, hidden deep within.
I spent the day with the practice manager, made call cards with everyone’s telephone numbers (for when the building gets bombed and cordoned off), got to grips with the new laminator she had just bought, typed up notices, laminated them once I had figured out the laminator, and got to go home early because she was leaving at the same time. I also signed a non-disclosure of confidential information contract, so, in case of any lawyers chasing me up, I have withheld all names and the people reading this are perfectly trust-worthy.
These are just a few of the things I noticed:
- Everyone makes use of the internet, whether to check the symptoms of a minor ailment or to show the patient where the kidneys are in their body. The internet is an extra employee.
- Urgency is subjective. What one person considers serious another would not even blink at. My family does not often visit the GP, but there were people requesting urgent appointments for a mosquito bite.
- Politeness is appreciated. Many receptionists complained about the demanding nature of some patients. Not even a thankyou.
This week has been extremely beneficial in terms of gaining experience and a feel for the medical profession. I still want to be some kind of doctor, still a psychiatrist but I am now also considering working in A&E. I have another week to go and am pleased to say that I am actually looking forward to it.