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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, 17 November 2012

Two weeks in the life of...

I'm embarking on that most feared 12 consecutive day work-a-thon.  Thought I'd keep a little diary, more for my own benefit in future years, but also because sometimes people are interested in what I actually do everyday.  Read at your peril.

Day 1
Post take.  That means all the patients who have come in to hospital over the weekend are now my team's responsibility, and I arrive an hour early (8am) to start the post-take ward round.  Not as painful as it could have been, and we've seen and sorted all of our patients by 5pm.  Find out a patient of mine died on the ward over the weekend, so this also needs to be addressed during the day.  Lunch is spent at Journal Club, where we discuss a paper on risk stratification for pulmonary embolism.  On call in the evening - it's busy, and I'm on ward cover.  Issues include a spiking high temperature, low blood pressure, agitation and a few patients I've been handed over to review/chase tests for.  Finish at 10pm.

Day 2
9am start today.  I have a medical student, so amongst doing a ward round of our patients (including a few who have been put on wards the other side of the hospital), we're trying to do some teaching as we go along.  I supervise them seeing some patients on our ward.  A bit upset as another patient has passed away - it's difficult to see a family you have got to know deal with this difficult part of life.  A couple of our patients are quite unwell and need urgent investigations, so there's quite a bit of running around making sure they are getting sorted out.  Today lunchtime is spent at our 'Tricky Cases Meeting', where we discuss cases of interest and do literature searches on these topics.  Finish around 6pm, and have planned to go to the cinema with some friends. Soooo tired but determined to do something relaxing away from work.

Day 3
9am start again.  Busy, and trying to make sure my medical student is having an educational time as well as getting our work done. Compulsory teaching at lunchtime today on respiratory medicine.  We have a full ward round today with the whole team which starts quite late so we finish at about half five.  We're scheduled to do the case based discussion tomorrow, so my colleague and I sit in the office preparing our presentation.  Get home after 7, cook dinner for housemate who cooked me dinner last week.  I have assessed work due for a course this week, plus haven't addressed my mountain of emails, so spend the evening replying to emails, reading some literature and submitting the course work.

Day 4
Again trying to balance seeing everyone on my ward in a timely fashion and making sure my medical student is learning something.  We spend lunchtime presenting our case based discussion which goes quite well I think.  We see a couple of our more complex patients with the boss late in the evening and I get home about half 7.  I'd invited a couple of friends round to have dinner with my housemate and I, so it's in the door, cooker on, get chopping!

Day 5
We spend much of the morning sorting out an unwell patient who has come under our care, and then get cracking with seeing everyone else.  I'm on call today - just as there was a thought of grabbing lunch, a crash call goes out and I'm off to A and E with the rest of the on call team.  A brief sandwich-stop later, I'm back on the ward, but the boss is delayed and we start late in the afternoon with a final round before the weekend.  It's an interesting juggle between finishing all the jobs from my own ward, receiving on-call bleeps from all the medical wards and getting evening/weekend handovers from my colleagues.  It's quite depressing seeing everyone else slip away while you know it's just you and a bleeping machine for the next 72 hours.  Relieved when my night counterpart arrives, and I only have a couple of things to handover.  It's now a bit quieter, so we have a quick chat.  Dealing with your personal life - it gets a back seat at best sometimes so it's nice to catch up with a colleague who's also your friend rather than just having your game face on all the time.  Home after 11.  Reheat the remnants of last night's dinner.  Bed.  Up tomorrow at half 7 to do another 13 hours.


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