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    Hello all,

    I'm planning to apply for Medicine as an undergraduate, and so I have work experience sorted out in a hospital for gastroenterology, and at a GP's surgery over the summer.

    I know how hard work experience is to get, so I'm intending to make the most of it. Consequently, I would like to know a few things beforehand to be prepared:

    What questions do I ask?

    What do I look out for?

    Should I ask the patients anything?

    Should I focus on the scientific side as well as the clinical side of things?

    Any other information which might be useful?


    Cheers,
    captainrat
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    (Original post by captainrat)

    What questions do I ask?
    You could ask the doctor about their general working day, what they particular enjoy about the job, what they wish could be different, what made them pick that particular specialty, etc.

    If you mean medical questions...well, no one excepts you to be a gastro expert whilst still in college, and most doctors are happy to teach enthusiastic students, so if you don't understand what's going on just ask once the patient has left the room.


    What do I look out for?
    Do you mean in terms of medical signs and symptoms? Just play it by ear...the doctor will probably point out anything interesting/rare to you whilst they're examining the patient. Or they'll discuss it with you after the patient has left the room.

    Gastro (depending on the consultant's interests) will be lots of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, IBS, coeliac disease, liver conditions, etc. I don't know whether you'll be allowed to observe endoscopy, but there's that too. Depending on whether your consultant's firm is on take (i.e. accepting emergency admissions that week), you might also get to participate in ward rounds with them. Gastro is a general medical specialty so you might end up seeing non-gastro patients too during the take.

    GP...well...could be anything really

    Should I ask the patients anything?
    Don't interrupt the doctor whilst they're speaking with or examining the patient. But if you check with the doctor beforehand, I'm sure they wouldn't mind you asking the patient a question or two once they're done.

    Should I focus on the scientific side as well as the clinical side of things?
    What do you mean?
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    By the 'scientific side', I mean the mechanisms of drug action, the anatomy of the digestive system etc etc
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    (Original post by captainrat)
    By the 'scientific side', I mean the mechanisms of drug action, the anatomy of the digestive system etc etc
    I suppose that depends on the question itself...if it's relevant to the patient you've just seen then yeah, why not. If you're in a liver clinic and a patient comes in with portal hypertension and you don't know what the portal vein does, then yeah sure, ask away once the doctor has a free minute.

    They probably won't go into great depth about the molecular mechanisms of drugs e.g. if you ask them "how does azathioprine work?" they'll most likely just tell you "it's an immunosuppressant which we use when treating some patients with IBD"...if you're a college student that's more than you need to know anyway, does it really make a difference to you if you're also told that it's a purine analogue or whatever? :p:
 
 
 
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