Med School Diaries: Phase 2 has begun

I’m two weeks into Phase 2, and honestly can’t believe I made it here. 

It’s been a bit of a long journey to get here and there have been a few moments where I didn’t think I would get this far through medical school. But its only been two weeks, and it’s been nerve wracking, busy and thrilling all at the same time. Importantly, I am excited about medicine again. 

With Covid moving our end of phase 1 exam back to October and therefore pushing back our start after summer to November rather than September I’ve been doing phase 1 longer than I ever thought I would be, even though resitting the year. It got to the stage where learning the exact same content repeatedly for so long was pushing me emotionally and academically. So i’ve been having to battle the recovery from a major burnout whilst teething to jump head first into plenty of new material!

Phase two started with a week off arrhythmia and hypertension. it definitely wasn’t an easy start; it was full of ECGs, Pharmacology and Paperwork… it was definitely a shock to the system from sitting at my desk learning revising content, to moving into learning new content online, attending clinical hospital shifts and face to face teaching again. It’s been a strange experience having shortened clinical hours and reduced face to face teaching. Its been especially tricky when it comes to anatomical teaching but we have been given access to a new website called Incision, which I am hoping to write a bit more about once I’ve gotten to grips with the software more.

Second week was a shock to the clinical system having done no med school based clinical activity in almost eight months it was a shock to the system to have bedside teaching and simulated patient scenarios without much revision on clinical skills. Despite my anxiety they went quite well and it was a comfort to know that I actually did quite well once I got over the initial nerves. It’s strange walking around in scrubs, its not something I have expected to do for a long time, but COVID precautions mean I get to walk around in these lovely teal scrubs. They have been given the name ‘Casualty Scrubs’ because they look like scrubs you see on TV and I almost feel like an actor in them sometimes, like I am not good enough to be in them. I am sure I will get used to it soon having to wear them all the time. 

I also sat my first TDOCS this week. I took two, Venipuncture, Blood Cultures and Cannulation. TDOCS are a new second year experience, they went well and I passed but it is definitely nerve wracking to know that the next time I practice these skills it will be on real patients. Strangely I preferred cannulation to venipuncture… we shall have to see how well I feel about them all in the real world soon.

I mentioned earlier about the nerves I was feeling being back in clinical scenarios. Not only have I been having nerves about clinical teaching, I am concerned about the amount of self directed teaching I have to do.  I think it’s really hard to motivate myself into productivity after not having much of a break due to the exam being moved due to Covid. I experience what probably was the most intense burnout I have ever experienced, realised that I was severely unhappy with my life and have had to work incredibly hard to get myself back into a mindset where I was able to be successful in these exams. Now, whilst I enjoy the new content, it’s a strange experience having to learn everything completely alone with no one to ask a question to immediately. These lectures aren’t live but prerecorded and asynchronous meaning they have to be completed in the next ten weeks. It means I have to ask questions via email and don’t always get a response when I really need one, and I find it really disconcerting to ask google and be unsure if this is both the right answer and at the level required of me. 

Getting away from phase one and exams has also meant I can pick up a lot more projects. Not only am I working and being a resident tutor, but I have some interesting projects lined up that I am working on it the background. These went on hold when COVID hit and exams just kept moving back and back; the projects went on the back burner. Now, I’ve got more brain space, to write blog posts, and move forward with some currently secret projects. I am excited to share more soon. It’s nice to be able to say that… excited… I haven’t felt this way in a while. 

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