Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Somewhat Overdue...

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! I'm currently here for a couple of days en route to my elective placement in New Zealand. Staying in a rather basic (but clean!) hostel, exploring a new city and chilling out so that hopefully by the time I arrive in Hawke's Bay on Friday morning I'll be nicely rested and relaxed :)

The lack of updating recently has been due, in no small part, to me deperately trying to get organised for my elective. However, I also had my last week of work at my job (summarising medical records in a GP surgery - just can't commit a reasonable amount of time to it this year), 2 weeks of uni and an interview for the Scottish AFP. I'm hoping that justifies my silence in the blogosphere!

Having got back from my Sense holiday, I had 2 days at my parents' house before returning back to my uni flat and working for the final week of my summer break. It was quite odd finishing as I've been there over 18 months and actually really enjoyed it. I would happily keep it up, particularly as the money would be handy, but with elective, placements, finding an FY post etc I just don't think it's realistic to pretend I can hold do a job. Once I was done with work, I had 2 weeks of (pretty dull) classes on professionalism, communication skills, careers and all the other dull stuff you have to do at medical school aside from the actual medicine. It does feel quite strange knowing that, after all this time, I'm actually in my final year of medical school and if all goes well I'll be a doctor in less than a year...

As I mentioned before, I had an interview for the Scottish academic foundation programme on Thursday. It was a really difficult interview to prepare for as I genuinely had absolutely no idea what to expect. The interview was in 2 parts, a 10 minute interview with 2 clinicians (in my case a GP and a liaison psychiatrist) on clinical issues and a further 10 minutes with 4 academics on the more academic side of things. The clinical stuff was ok, largely about communication, professionalism, good qualities for a dr to have etc - really quite similar to the kind of things they were asking when I applied to med school, but looking for more specifics as I actually know some medicine now! I did screw up a bit when they asked how I'd treat an insulin overdose because we've never been formally taught that so I didn't have an answer to hand the way I would if they'd asked about, say, DKA or acute asthma or paracetamol overdose, but I'm hoping that I managed to come to the right conclusions eventually, and if not, the fact that I said "call for senior help" will give me some credit! The academic part was really difficult as it's a bit strange trying to talk to 4 people at once, but the questions themselves were easy enough to answer and the panel all seemed really nice. I hear either way on September 15th so just got to keep my fingers crossed until then - although it's not the end of the world if I don't get it, it would be nice.

Right, it's 11.30pm here and I'm hoping to fit in a decent amount of sightseeing tomorrow as it's my last day here, so I'm going to sign off and head to bed.

Hope everyone's keeping well and I'll update about New Zealand once I get there :) xxx

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Makes Sense!

Yesterday I got back from a week's volunteering with Sense (http://www.sense.org.uk/), who are the UK's national deafblind charity. A group of volunteers took 5 young boys with multisensory impairment (as well as other needs/difficulties) away to the Cotswalds for a week, where we swam, ice skated, go-karted, ate, drank, laughed and generally had a fantastic time. This was my third holiday with Sense (those of you who also read my OTW-related posts may have gathered that I'm a bit of a volunteering addict), although my first with children as I'd previously worked with adults. I cannot describe adequately what a special experience this kind of work is. It is, however, rather tiring, thus I have spent most of the time since I got home sleeping. This got me thinking - I am exhausted after just a week. How on earth do parents/carers who look after these kids full time manage? I have the utmost respect for anyone who looks after someone with these kind of complex needs.

After such a good week, I'm feeling pretty positive. This is in no small part due to the fact that on Monday, I received an email inviting me to interview for an AFP at the end of the month. There are two short interviews, one regarding clinical issues and the other on academic/portfolio issues. I am absolutely terrified as I have no idea what to expect. I'm going to make sure I've read over my application and know everything there is to know about anything I've mentioned. The last time I had any kind of serious interview was when I applied to medical school so I feel a bit out of practise... Any tips greatfully received!

Hope all the students reading have had exam success and are enjoying the summer and all junior docs are settling into their new jobs :) x