A Week in the Life Of... A 4th Year Medical Student!

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Monday

Monday – here’s hoping to a great start to the week! After grabbing my trusty golden syrup porridge and a strong cup of coffee I’m ready for the day. Today I have a full day of online learning (thanks, COVID) via MS Teams and on the university specific platform. I’m currently on my secondary care placement (oncology and palliative care) at the moment, so a lot of my private study is based around the 4 commonest types of cancer (Breast, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal) as well as the common treatment regimens and side-effects that are associated with those.


Today our online learning was more based around communication skills and how to break bad news sensitively. During the teaching, the doctor/honorary lecturer said something that really resonated with me today – “sometimes the worst bad news is often when people leave your room not knowing that they have been given bad news”. This really made me think of how to achieve the right tone when delivering bad news, as I’m definitely someone who likes to sugar coat things, but in a lot of situations within Medicine, it’s just imperative to be as empathetic – but also as honest as possible.


In between my online learning I also organised my 2020/2021 tenancy today with my flatmates. We’re staying in the same flat as we live in now – yay! We’re all relieved as an unnecessary move would definitely not have been welcomed (I have a LOT of clothes). I texted my mum to tell her the news – she told me not to worry about it and she was right (as always!)


Tuesday

Today I was scheduled to be in a radiotherapy review clinic, but when I arrived it had been cancelled (boo!) Although every cloud has a silver lining – it was nice(ish) weather today so I managed to have a lovely walk and enjoy some fresh air. I even managed to chat with an old friend on my way home when I seen her getting off the same bus. After arriving back home from my failed attempt at placement, I completed some revision on long-term conditions (e.g. Diabetes, hypertension, COPD) and looked through some videos of clinical examinations to refresh my memory. My oncology/palliative care placement also has a primary care element attached to it whereby I am required to learn essential long-term management of some chronic conditions like those mentioned above. I intercalated after 3rd year so it always feels like a LONG time since I have done a lot of things Medicine related, although slowly but surely I’m getting there! After getting through some work, I chatted to my Dad and worked my way through my Christmas chocolate collection (my favourite part of the day!).


Wednesday

Today I have a virtual ward round. Cool right?! It works like this – the doctor wears Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, medical students are signed in on a MS Teams call. When the doctor is seeing a patient on the ward round, we take a ‘history’ from the patient – typing in any questions we have into the chat function on MS Teams. The doctor then sees these questions and asks the patient directly, and when the patient responds we can see/hear them through the VR goggles. I think it’s very admirable how many clever people have envisioned innovative ways to ensure medical education remains as high quality as possible through this pandemic.


After the VR ward round and teaching, I relaxed and listened to some music for a little while and continued binge watching How To Get Away With Murder on Netflix (SO good, would definitely recommend!)


Towards the end of the afternoon, I also began preparing for my shift at work. I’m able to work from home (yay) as I’m a judge/chairper