Things you learn during link block

I’m back, my lovelies!  (On my tablet, anyway.  Computer = dead.)

After an outrageously long hiatus, I am, in fact, back.  And plan to be back for some time.  Every week, if my brain will allow it.  And considering my first few months consist entirely of family medicine and electives, my brain shouldn’t be stretched too far.  Obs/Gyn… I make no promises.

For those who weren’t aware, we 3rd years just finished up our 2-week link block, which essentially links up our bookish learning with some useful skills and procedures.  As some of our teachers pointed out, it’s rather like taking the bunny slippers off us.  I consider it rather like taking the bunny slippers off before sending us tip-toeing through a minefield.  Personal opinion.

But it is a big transition, that from pre-clerkship to actually being out there in the trenches.  Knee deep in every type of human excrement, madly scribbling your progress notes while fielding rapid-fire pimping questions from every direction.  If it sounds like the battlefield, you’re starting to get an idea of what I’m expecting the upcoming year to be like.  From what I understand, one does not enjoy 3rd year.  One survives it.

Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic.  But you have to admit that being awake and working for 26+ hours does sound rather gruelling.  Which is why I’m starting to appreciate the little joys of working in family medicine.  Little things like having a hobby.  Going out with friends.  Sleeping at home.  Having a wonderful career, not a soul-eating, fun-sucking, life-force-tapping machine of a job.

I kid, I kid.  I actually really enjoyed my elective in general surgery.  😉

So to wrap up the past 2 weeks, I thought I’d offer my list of the most important things I’ve learned from link block.  As always, add your own in the comments!

– Radiology residents are your friends.  Try to make their lives happy and yours will be also.
– Debrief with other med students, ALWAYS.  Hard days and tough tasks are what we understand.
– Hang out with non-med friends, ALWAYS.  Homemade soup and Doctor Who parties are essential to good mental health.
– Never order an arterial blood gas (ABG) test unless necessary.  They’re finicky to procure and hurt like the dickens to have in.
– Never order an IV unless necessary.  Same deal.
– NEVER order an nasogastric (NG) tube unless necessary.  It’s an easy enough procedure but you can’t possibly imagine the absolute horror involved in receiving one.  I’ll never get that mental picture out of my mind.
– Switch hands for each patient that needs CPR.  Otherwise you end up doing several hundred compressions of crunching someone’s sternum against your poor scaphoid bone in your wrist.  Owie.
– Try not to break your computer.  Or let it melt down for the 2nd time in as many years…
– Close ALL cabinets above your dishwasher while you empty it.  Lest you want a goose egg over your right temple.
– Ease off the swelling pride and vanity that comes with being a “junior physician.”  Nobody likes a pretentious med student.
– Walk.  Often and at length.  Especially when the weather is as wonderful as its been.
– On a similar note, take time to notice the beautiful things around you, whether it’s the honey-coloured sunlight peeking through the trees or a watercolour sunset brushed over with lavender clouds.  It helps give perspective to bad days.
– Write.  Even if you’ve never done it before, keep a journal of all the things you experience and witness on your journey.  Not only do you gain a greater understanding of what’s come before, but you learn more of your own patterns, desires, and skills.
– Finally, DON’T PANIC.  I repeat, DO NOT PANIC.  Everyone’s terrified of making a horrible mistake, everyone’s fearful of being unskilled and inexperienced.  Panicking shuts down your brain and prevents you from learning.  Which is really what you’re here for, not to be a superstar who knows everything.

Hope you enjoyed, and see you on the wards!

– Atalanta



Filed under Medicine

2 responses to “Things you learn during link block

  1. I completely agree with the NG philosophy. I have had to attempt to put one in 4 times during my career; only once was I successful. NOT fun for the patient, or for the nurse. (Thankfully, at this point I don’t put them in anymore – I get to teach OTHER people how to put them in!)

  2. Don’t panic: absolutely perfect advice no matter what 🙂

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