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    I'm on a GEP course so we've already started our clinical exposure albeit only a little at a time.

    If I wanted to observe in, say, A&E for a day would this be possible or just terrible etiquette given that I'll be a hinderance? I can do decent examinations/histories but frankly at this stage it'd be nice if I could just watch how clerking is done etc.

    So I'm torn between asking, because hey it can't hurt, and being weary of that fact it's a little rude and premature of me to ask to take up someones time.

    Does anyone have any experience of doing this? Is it simply best to follow process and wait until we do our proper A&E placements?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm on a GEP course so we've already started our clinical exposure albeit only a little at a time.

    If I wanted to observe in, say, A&E for a day would this be possible or just terrible etiquette given that I'll be a hinderance? I can do decent examinations/histories but frankly at this stage it'd be nice if I could just watch how clerking is done etc.

    So I'm torn between asking, because hey it can't hurt, and being weary of that fact it's a little rude and premature of me to ask to take up someones time.

    Does anyone have any experience of doing this? Is it simply best to follow process and wait until we do our proper A&E placements?
    I've not done it myself, but I've had friends spend time doing similar during their holidays. It can't hurt to ask IMO, the worse that can happen is if they say no. But I'll let some of the other senior med students/docs weigh in too.
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    (Original post by ForestCat)
    I've not done it myself, but I've had friends spend time doing similar during their holidays. It can't hurt to ask IMO, the worse that can happen is if they say no. But I'll let some of the other senior med students/docs weigh in too.
    Thanks Do you think it's best to approach directly with an email to the clinical lead or just go via my Trust contact? The sceptic in me says the latter approach may be less fruitful...
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks Do you think it's best to approach directly with an email to the clinical lead or just go via my Trust contact? The sceptic in me says the latter approach may be less fruitful...
    Do you mean clinical lead at uni? Is this uni staff or hospital consultant. If it's the latter I'd say go for it as they'll have connections.

    If you know someone at the trust, asking them too can't hurt. But like I said, I've never really done this myself so I'm not sure of the best course of action.

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    My view is that the doctors in your local teaching hospitals have signed up to teach you and that learning medicine isn't something that is limited to set contact hours. If you are willing to spend extra time learning, they should meet you half way and teach. Most doctors are used to medical students just "turning up" and no-one knows who is supposed to be placed in any particular department at a given time. I would have no objection to being shadowed by a first/second year student and certainly wouldn't expect them to have arranged it separately beforehand.

    I personally wouldn't make a big deal of emailing the clinical lead as they won't be used to receiving emails from local students asking to visit their A&E. It would be easier if you just went to the department and picked a friendly looking doctor to shadow. If everyone looks too busy, ask for a consultant or the sister in charge and explain who you are and what you want... Nine times out of ten they'll point out an enthusiastic junior to shadow. It will also alert them to the fact that you are there so that they can fetch you when there is a smashed up patient, septic baby, or cardiac arrest happening in the department.

    You can certainly email someone in A&E (any consultant really - the clinical lead being as good a person as any) if you want but they're probably just going to say "come by". Certainly don't be disheartened if you don't get a reply - A&E consultants don't like to sit still for very long and might not be great at replying to emails. Or just visit the department and ask the consultant (go straight through - don't stop at reception !!) when would be the best time for you to shadow.

    Your biggest "risk" is that they will ask you to see a patient, report the case to them, and then see the patient again with you. This will feel uncomfortable but is what they'll expect you to do in the clinical years and it is how you will actually learn medicine. You have to start doing this at some point and your 2nd year really is as good as any...

    PS. You will get extra brownie points + see more interesting cases + be the only medical student if you go to A&E in the evening or on a weekend.
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    Why, you'll see it all soon enough. . .
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    Well problem solved as they said they couldn't facilitate 1st years as 3rd/4th years are currently present. I may still turn up one evening and see where that gets me though, even if it's straight back out the door.
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    Maybe A&E isn't the best place to start out really- its a great place to get some experience, but its so busy and the presentations that you are likely to see so variable it may be better if you wait until you've mastered the basics somewhere a little less intense where people may have a bit more time to teach you before you plunge in. How about seeing if your local hospital has a GP admissions bay/ patient assessment area for either medicine or surgery that you could spend some time at? All the hospitals I've worked at over the past couple of years have a dedicated unitw here GPs send their admissions to- avoiding A&E, which is normally staffed with a couple of juniors (usually an FY1 plus FY2-ST2), a handful of nurse practicionners and regularly frequented by the on-take consultant. There's still a lot of patients to see, and they still need a full clerking, bloods, ECGs and discussed with a senior etc etc and theres a lot of interesting things that come through, but it tends to be a little less intense than the ED.
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    (Original post by twmffat_twp)
    Maybe A&E isn't the best place to start out really- its a great place to get some experience, but its so busy and the presentations that you are likely to see so variable it may be better if you wait until you've mastered the basics somewhere a little less intense where people may have a bit more time to teach you before you plunge in. How about seeing if your local hospital has a GP admissions bay/ patient assessment area for either medicine or surgery that you could spend some time at? All the hospitals I've worked at over the past couple of years have a dedicated unitw here GPs send their admissions to- avoiding A&E, which is normally staffed with a couple of juniors (usually an FY1 plus FY2-ST2), a handful of nurse practicionners and regularly frequented by the on-take consultant. There's still a lot of patients to see, and they still need a full clerking, bloods, ECGs and discussed with a senior etc etc and theres a lot of interesting things that come through, but it tends to be a little less intense than the ED.
    We have been allowed to do histories/exams under supervision on specialist wards, so doing abdo on GI, cardio on cardio etc. I was just hoping to see something a little different, in a more acute setting, but your suggests are equally valid to A&E. I think there is such a unit but not based at the nearby hospital -- getting to it may be a challenge, but no rest for the wicked I suppose! Thanks
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    Calm down and enjoy your free time away from medicine. That will stand you just as well if not better for your future clinical practice as a happy and well-rounded clinician.

    That's my own view anyway.
 
 
 
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