At the Academic Hospital, medical students do a lot of grunt work. If a Dr says that a drip needs to be put up, she means a medical student needs to put a drip up. If the intern tells us that certain bloods need to be taken from a patient, she means a medical student needs to take certain bloods from a patient. This has never struck me as unfair or unusual. That’s what we’re there for, to learn.
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw my first patient for my Emergency Med elective who needed IV access (she was haemorrhaging) and as I set up my equipment–did you know that everything you use in private has a detachable barcode or sticker that you need to remove for the records?–the doctor told me the Trauma Sister would be right in to put up the drip and we should move on.
Later, a patient who we’d stabilized after an anaphylactic episode needed bloods taken–this was the first time I’d ever ordered more than baseline bloods and an IgE level in anaphylaxis, isn’t private practice glorious?–and as I was about to go hunting for my needle and syringe, the doctor handed the patient her lab from and told her she just had to go down the passage and turn left to get to the lab where they would take her blood.
I never thought this day would come, but I actually spent the day wondering whether I would ever get to do any grunt work. My drip-skills are below average at best (although I can usually get blood from the darkest recesses) so I was really looking forward to improving in that department.
I’m trying to think of creative ways to hint that I’d like to access some vasculature over the next four weeks. Granted, I’m going to have a stint in a public hospital too, but it’s not going to be very exciting if I’m totally out of practice while a grumpy, underpaid, overworked registrar is screaming at me to get the friggin line up already.
Private practice feels like a parallel dimension folks.