April 8, 2014, by studentcontributor

Transitioning from pre-clinical to clinical phase


Hi! I’m Abby. I’m a third year medical student, which means I only started my clinical phase only a month ago- and I simply can’t believe it because time has flown by so so quickly!

Clinical phase is really an exciting time because you finally feel like you’re studying to be a doctor. You wake up early every day (5.30am if you’re shadowing nurses who do 13-hour days starting at 7am) and you actually get used to it quite quickly (even without the caffeine) because going to work is definitely more fun now. Having structure again after months of dissertation is almost nice!

It helps that the staff at King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield, where I’m placed, are beyond lovely and most will go out of their way to help you– whether it is because you’ve forgotten your wallet at the Costa, have a clash in your timetable, or you had been running around wards with your consultant and missed an important teaching session (I know each of these from experience). You get to know a lot of the staff personally and all of them are happy for you to follow them around wards or sit in their clinics. Everyone is expected to go into theatre whether it is with the consultant you’ve been assigned to or not. This friendly environment is both educational and comfortable and it’s almost an incentive to get out of bed and into that surgery you know is happening today- especially since it’s with that consultant who likes you because you knew what Charcot’s triad was. That’s another thing about clinical phase- -as a third year CP1 student, staff don’t expect you to know much, making it that much easier to learn, ask as many questions as possible and have a good time despite not remembering what innervates the biceps!

King's Mill Hospital, Mansfield

King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield

Secondly, given that the commute to Mansfield is fairly long and that my house-mates are all medics, it was not difficult for me to decide to stay at the KMH accommodation for the weekdays. Especially since the accommodation is pretty much everything you can ask for, with en-suite rooms, a spacious kitchen fitted with a free-to-use washer/dryer and a Morrison’s literally 60 seconds away. It’s in fact, like being in halls, and I love having an en-suite room again! The commute back to Nottingham is straight-forward if you’re driving, and still hassle-free if you’re taking the train- -so I’m still able to commute in the middle of the week if there’s an unmissable birthday.

Being here is very different from being a first or second year student. It’s not rigidly structured, allowing me to go home between teaching sessions, or up to all the different things I could be doing in the hospital- examining patients, being in theatre, shadowing my F1 or a nurse or sitting in clinic with a consultant. You learn in so many different ways and the best part is, you can pick the way you want to learn and create your own timetable every single day, doing the things you think you benefit most from. This way, the days aren’t boring at all because you’re always doing something useful. Plus, even examinations and clinical skills get more amazing. Taking blood from one another, using cannulas and catheters is indeed interesting work!

Overall the transition to clinical phase is exciting– you learn a lot more in a typical day than before. You’re treated like an adult and feel like one as well because you’re working in a professional setting so much. And you finally see yourself becoming a doctor.

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