What’s going on here?

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.

Hold up.

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.

Hold up.

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.

Just saying.

Private practice feels like a parallel dimension folks.



Filed under Elective

7 responses to “What’s going on here?

  1. annie

    Sounds like or going to have an interesting elective huh?

  2. I know right? They call them phlebotomists and they are AWESOME, I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone take bloods from me so painlessly (I’m generally pretty resistant to pain though). I reckon that hinting could probably be done to the phlebotomists themselves – they might have some awesome tricks to teach (which you can share with us all!).

    On a tangent, I think you’re going to be able to do an excellent write-up comparing private and public emergency care. Very cool!

    • That’s actually the focus of my elective! I’ll be working at a large government academic hospital later in the month and in early December. Goodbye comfy on-call room 😦

      Phlebotomist, sounds vaguely familiar. Might have heard or seen something like that on Grey’s or in an American blog!

  3. inuttimcapple

    The fact that you can find time to write blog posts is amazing. In my attempts, I didn’t last because for some odd reasons, I was always just too tired!! Phlebotomists are legends! Although my first phlebotomy experience was in a state hospital which was like a dream. I don’t know how far they will go with you in terms of invasive procedures and all considering its private ’cause you can use the opportunity to practice other procedures such as putting up ic drains or something like that….

    • I actually got VERY forward the next day and started stealing patients before the doctor could see them. That way whenever I suggest management, I suggest it like I’ll be the one doing it. They’re still very confused about where my sudden ‘confidence’ came from 😀

  4. Pingback: A Vein Update | The Complete Idiot's Guide To MedSchool

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