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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The final leg of Two Weeks in the Life...

Day 10: Wednesday.

Really flagging now.  My two direct seniors are on call today again so I have them with me briefly then I'm on my own to prepare for the consultant ward round in the afternoon, and I have my medical student again to entertain.  I have compulsory teaching at lunchtime which is rather inconvenient but the ward round in the afternoon goes off reasonably without a hitch. I've been invited to a friend's for dinner and I don't get there til after 8 before meeting some other friends for a drink.  Struggling to suppress an insatiable urge to get 'out of my head' by now, and probably head home a bit later than I should have done.

Day 11: Thursday.  Final on call of the 2 week mega-work-a-thon, and I'm post take, so start at 8am.  It's reasonably painless but post-take days are always a bit more chaotic than I would like, with a combination of managing all your new patients and sorting out all of your existing ones.  One of our existing patients is quite unwell and it's quite handy that I'm on call in the evening as I can reassess him later on knowing all about him already.  I feel completely snowed under in the afternoon as my SHO is sorting out the few remaining new patients (most of whom are on other wards by now and therefore no longer our responsibility) and my Reg has other work to do.  A lot of our patients are to be discharged in the next couple of days and if I don't get on top of my discharge summaries today, I'm going to be in a right fix tomorrow.  I'm not really able to offer my medical student much by way of time as I have so much paperwork to do.  There's also an important end-of-life discussion that needs to be had with one of our patients' relatives; it's always upsetting to have to accept that your efforts are proving futile and ultimately someone may just be nearing the end of their life, but we have a very frank discussion and all agree a plan of action with my Reg.

Post 5-pm, I have a few jobs handed over, but nothing too overwhelming.  A lot of warfarin dosing and a few IV fluids to prescribe, and a couple of patients to review.

The person who's on nights is late - he's never late.  I carry on with a couple of small jobs I might have otherwise handed over when the night SHO appears at around 10pm - it turns out the night version of me has had a car accident in all the bad weather.  Fortunately he's alright, but obviously can't work, so the SHO tells me to hand over to him instead.  I drive home at the pace of snails as the weather really is awful and I'm feeling a bit shaken by the news of my friend, and when I get home I call him to make sure he's ok.  So by the time I have my sad dinner of microwave rice, it's gone midnight.

Day 12: Friday!  The last day!  I'm doing a quality improvement project with one of the other doctors so I arrive for 8am again to collect data from around the hospital before my day starts proper at 9am.  I get some unprecedented praise from the pharmacist for getting all of my 7 discharge scripts to her before lunchtime - you've got to take these small positive moments!  My SHO and I try to see everyone before this afternoon and pre-empt the jobs that might need doing, and by lunchtime I'm feeling quite on top of things.  A quick lunch, and I'm ready for the boss in the afternoon.  My SHO and Reg are both on call, again, today, so I'm on my own to direct the boss round everyone.  Even though we've discharged a lot of people, the remaining patients are all quite complicated and unwell, including my unwell patient from yesterday.  The boss seems reasonably content with how we've managed him.  Some relatives want a detailed update about one of our patients - I spoke to them at the weekend so know them already.  By this point it's after 5 and we still haven't seen half of the patients - it's important obviously to give a full update, but it's a challenge balancing this with the time owed to each of the other patients, and the general brain fatigue that has set in from being at work everyday for 12 days in a row.  The boss handles the situation like a pro, and everyone leaves happy.  It's after 6 by the time we've seen everyone, and it's left to me now to mop up the remaining jobs and prepare the weekend jobs list and put out the blood cards for the phlebotomists to take.

I finish, triumphant, around 7pm.  I'm going away to Devon this weekend with some of my junior doctor chums, and I am greeted by them with a flat cap and a beer.  Relief!  My twelve days are done, and addressing Life Beyond Work can now commence.

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