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Hi, my name is Argha and I’m currently a final year medical student at King’s College London. From my own personal experiences, I have found that the beauty of medicine lies in the diversity of work and the variety of patients I encounter whilst on placement. I am in a position where I am able to speak to patients and examine their physical health whilst being privy to the stories they share about their condition.
Being respected and entrusted with such sensitive information when a patient is at their most vulnerable is one of the greatest privileges I have as a medical student and is something I will always be grateful for. In this blog post, I will aim to share an insight into my daily routine to give you an idea of what life is like as a medical student in the clinical years whilst also highlighting that there is also more to life than just medicine!
6:00 AM – Alarm goes off. My placement usually starts at 9am and so most of my colleagues are still asleep. However, I love my morning workouts in the gym and aim to do this nice and early to free up time later in the day to pursue other activities.
6:10 AM – Brush my teeth and eat breakfast. This usually consists of milk and cereal with a banana. I also take the liberty of supplementing my diet with Huel, a nutritional meal replacement drink which helps increase my protein and vitamin intake.
6:30 AM – Cycle to the gym to begin my strength training routine using weights. This usually lasts around two hours and helps invigorate my mind in preparation for a busy day of learning.
8:30 AM – Arrive home again, shower and get dressed in clinical attire, stethoscope and ID badge around my neck with a small yet undeniable sense of pride for being part of such a rewarding profession.
9:00 AM – Begin ward round on the acute medical unit, seeing patients one by one with the multi-disciplinary team led by the consultant, who is perhaps the most knowledgeable person I have ever met. Presentations I see differ from day to day, but range between chest pain, falls, acute bleeding, abdominal pain, stroke, difficulty breathing, heart attack, various cancers, infection and much more. I have great admiration in seeing how the doctors formulate a diagnosis and management plan in these acutely unwell patients who, despite their fragile state, still appreciate the support, care and empathy they receive.
10:00 AM – A short break in the middle of the ward round and the consultant asks me some challenging questions to test my knowledge. Some I know, whilst others leave me completely baffled. I am asked to draw the Circle of Willis, a network of blood vessels in the brain, from memory. I make a decent effort, but needless to say that some extra reading needs to be done tonight! All in all, it’s a great learning experience.
12:00 PM – Lunch. This is followed by the weekly grand round; an opportunity for doctors and medical students to present interesting or rare cases encountered in the hospital, including the investigations and management plan of the patient involved.
2:00 PM – Bedside teaching. This is probably the most important part of the day as a medical student where we each go through a systematic examination of a patient on the ward and present our findings to the doctor. For example, this may be a cardiovascular exam where we assess the patient’s heart, or a cranial nerve exam where we check the patient’s neurological function.
There are plenty of examinations we do for each system of the body, and these are all commonly tested in our practical exams at the end of the year. For this reason, it is crucial for us to practise as much as possible and receive feedback and constructive criticism on our examination technique and ability to present back with a differential diagnosis in mind. This is also quite enjoyable as we are able to apply the knowledge we have learned in our earlier years of medical school into practice in a real life situation, thereby better preparing us as future doctors.
3:00 PM – Back to the acute medical unit to see if any jobs need to be done. I am asked to take some blood from a patient. This would’ve been a daunting task for me a couple of years ago, but practice makes perfect, and I am now able to do it with relative ease, having had several prior experiences in doing so. This involves finding a vein in the patient’s arm, cleaning the area, and then inserting a needle into the precise anatomical landmark to draw blood into a tube, which can be attached to the end of the needle. This is then sent off to the lab for analysis. There are also opportunities for me to see patients on my own and take a history to find out why they have come to the hospital. I can then relay these findings to the doctors to help facilitate the efficiency at which patients are seen and either admitted or discharged.
5:00 PM – Officially done for the day! I can now go back home and relax. I usually make myself a snack and watch some TV. I often make plans to go out with friends and we catch up on each other’s days. Having a good friends circle that I can openly talk to and have fun with has been one of the best ways to de-stress throughout medical school.
7:00 PM – If I choose to stay at home, I revise some of the conditions I encountered on the wards earlier in the day to brush up on my knowledge. Medicine is a profession that entails lifelong learning and so it is important I stay up to date. It is the understanding that this knowledge will one day improve a patient’s wellbeing or even save their life that motivates me to continuously learn.
8:00 PM – Time for dinner! This usually consists of a large portion of rice with chicken curry, or sometimes tuna pasta. Once finished, I then record the clinical activities I did today in my logbook and plan my next day. I also have a list of my own academic and personal goals that I write down and look at every night to reinforce my ambition and desire to meet the targets I set myself to achieve. This helps me live a more meaningful life, ending my day on a positive note.
10:00 PM – Time for bed. A full 8 hours of sleep to prepare myself for another exciting day!
I hope that was useful and gave some insight to prospective medical school applicants. Medicine is a worthwhile and rewarding career but requires a lot of motivation and dedication to become a doctor. Feel free to check out my own personal blogs on life mastery at The Dattabase.
Thanks for reading!
You can connect with me through my Remarxs profile by clicking here – I’d be happy to support any prospective medical school applications and personal statements too.
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Dr Deeban Ratneswaran
Great blog Argha - looking forward to the next one!