In the War(d)s

On Wednesday, after five years apparently spent preparing for the experience, I started work as a doctor in Chesterfield hospital. A real doctor. With a stethoscope and everything!

My first job is a four month stint in Cardiology, and my first ever day as a doctor was a 12 hour emergency on call. It was a sharp learning curve, with little prior explanation of even the simplest proceedings.

My first hurdle was the “bleep”. Your bleep is your electronic dog lead; anyone can use it to make you heed to their beck and call. Obviously that’s good if someone has a heart attack, and you are needed for resus. It’s less good if a secretary the other end of the hospital wants your signature on some mildly unnecessary form, whilst you are trying to finish a ward round.

This combined with my non understanding of the system on the Emergency Admissions unit to make me look an absolute idiot in my end of day handover. Day rating: 7/10.

On Thursday, I wasn’t on call, but I did have to conduct the ward round and all the ward jobs all on my own, with my SHO, Registrar and Consultant all on leave or busy. Whilst this was mega intense, and frankly not a lot of fun, I did manage to get everything done, and went home (nearly) on time. My Consultant seemed happy enough, so I’m not too worried, although I would like to have lunch at lunch time more often, rather than eating a sandwich on the toilet at 3:30pm, combining two time occupying jobs into one. During the last hour of my shift, I turned on the CD player in the nurses station: the only CD we had was one of Christmas hits. The tacky music alone made this an 8/10 day.

Friday started out very well. By lunch time – and it says a lot that I was even having lunch – we had finished the ward round, and started on the patient care endless paperwork. And then I discovered I had to attend a compulsory 2 hour introduction, hand washing and blood taking lecture. I got back to the ward, and almost immediately got bleeped to go write a TTO for a patient I’d never met, who needed a slightly complicated bit of warfarin prescribing. I was also approached by rather a large man, looming over me as he asked:

Large man: Are you a doctor then?
Me: Well, yes, just about.
Large man: Can you write me a prescription then?
Me: Err… are you a patient here?
Large man: Yes.
Me: In that case, what for?
Large man: Can you prescribe me a hug?

Needless to say, both of us ended up with a hug. Unfortunately, by the time I had finished on that ward, returned to my own, and finished seeing all the patients, reviewing all the drugs, and filling out all the bits of paper, it was 6:45. I only get paid until 5, but I suspect the NHS aren’t too bothered about that. Despite the lateness, I got a hug off a somewhat threatening man, so the day has to get a 9/10.

So far, the best thing about the ward is all the wonderful nurses, pharmacists, receptionists and porters. Without them, I would actually still be in the hospital, probably gibbering quietly, and completely naked except for drug charts sellotaped all over my body.

Stay safe kids, and remember – don’t get sick in Chesterfield!

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