Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Week 1 out of 52

I'm one week into my intern life and I'm learning quite a lot. I'm not learning much medicine as it is. The life of a house officer is basically to learn the mundane bureaucracy and protocols that come with daily life in a hospital structure or within a health care system. You learn to know which drugs to prescribe, when you can book a follow-up clinic, how to write up discharge summaries and which people to consult for particular patients.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh since I'm based at a convalescent & rehabilitation hospital. Most of the patients I admit into the hospital have already been assessed a number of times by more senior doctors. So when they come into have surgery there is really no point asking them a history or performing a physical examination since it does really help his/her management and more important it wastes my time. Most of the time I feel I'm treating a laboratory result or a finding, which I know I've got to stop. Every time a patient has low potassium levels, I should be stopping myself prescribing potassium chloride syrup and actually go to the patient, assess his/her status and then think about some management. I hate to say it but I think my mind is being numbed. The pay off is that the work is not that taxing and my calls are not that harsh. I will probably miss having a good night's sleep when I'm on call in the admission ward but I think my mental thinking will benefit a lot more.

After this week I know which doctors and nurses are nice and who is a real bastard or bitch. Fortunately those are a minority but it does make your life hell. Thank goodness I've only got five more weeks of this. The doctors and nurses who I don't like expect you to know everything and when you don't they give you a really hard time about it. They don't know about insight or putting themselves into other people's shoes.

For once I'm really glad I have my evening free. I'm glad that I'm not revising my exams and being under pressure. I'm glad that I'm just reading for my benefit and not for the benefit of somebody else. I'm glad I have the evenings to sleep and watch episodes of "House" and "Bones" that I have (illegally) downloaded off the internet before my internship.

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