This week, I started going to the wards again.
I'd like to document the lessons I gained each day, to simply share with others, about what I learnt. I also find it useful for me to look back at my experience some day in the future later.
Here are the things I learnt this week:
Aim for quantity, not quality
On my first day back in the wards, I felt a bit clueless about what to do. I was also scared about clerking patients and examining kids, something I haven't done for 2 months.
I did muster the courage to do it, though I only did it on 2 patients. I then quickly realised that I should eat my own advice and aim for quantity, not quality if I want to improve my clinical skills.
I want to become a good writer, so I'm aiming to write 100 articles (currently at 50-ish)
Likewise, if I want to do well in medical school, I should aim to take 100 histories and do 100 examinations.
One of the reasons why we might be averse to trying something new is because our first iterations are bad, but that's the reality of most things. Our first few tries will always be bad. You just have to trust that your brain will quickly recognise the crap and become better over time.
Don't think about the quality when you're starting. Think about the quantity. You'll get better at it soon enough.
I'm going to keep that in mind and try to muster the courage to talk to meet as many patients as possible, feeling content to be thought foolish in front of patients, friends, and doctors in an attempt to improve my
Tiring, but fun
Going to the wards, meeting patients, is really tiring. Add up with studying and writing in my spare time, and that doubles up how tired it is. However, it's much more helpful to phrase it positively.
It's tiring, but fun. It's tiring to meet patients, but I find it nice when I played with the kids I'm clerking. These moments usually helps me feel grateful about what I do and helps me get through tiredness. It's really all about the story you tell yourself.
I'm really lucky
Being in Paediatrics really puts my life into perspective - and shows how lucky I am.
Some kids aren't as lucky, with disabilities and illness early on in life.
I complain all the time, but I never stop to think about how I was already handed a good hand in the first place.
What are you optimising for?
When working to achieve your goals, it's often helpful to ask yourself what you are optimising for.
For example, I was required to present a case to my doctor. A good presentation would be one that's complete. How do I optimise for that? By using checklists instead of asking questions from my head.
While I would usually clerk patients without referring to any templates, using checklists would result in a more complete history, and that would result in a better presentation.
It's always helpful to ask yourself what you're optimising for. If I'm working to improve my history taking skills, referring to a checklist might impede my progress. However, since I'm aiming to give a complete presentation, a checklist might be the best way to achieve that.
Hospitals are made to treat patients, not teach you
Unfortunately for you, hospitals are made to treat patients.
This means that you need to take charge of your learning in the hospital. You need to be proactive and make use of the opportunities you have to learn.
That would mean asking the doctors for help, shadowing them to learn from them, as well as offering yourself to help should they need your assistance.
Never ask, never get.
That's all for Week 1 folks! Hoping I can continue this in the coming weeks.
Here's a picture from my first day: