Housejob Chronicles || Med Life So Far x 3 Months In O&G.

Today officially marks the end of my first posting/three months of work (whoooop!!) and I figured what better time to write about my housemanship experience so far than now. 

I promised to keep you all updated and I’ve tried to do that on my instagram and instastories – so go follow me @cassiedaves and check out the hashtag #cassiedaveshousejobchronicles.

Just a quick back story for those that might be new around here and wondering what the heck this housemanship thing is. Housemanship or Housejob is the compulsory one year internship/work that med doctors have to do after graduating.
I’ve talked a lot about it on the blog because it was really a struggle for me to get a placement after I graduated, so you can catch up on all that quickly below.

 Read about my graduation here, subsequent job hunt that seemed unending here and my feels on finally getting a job here!

So, this housemanship lasts for a year and throughout the 12 months, we rotate through the 4 main divisions (Surgery, Medicine, Paediatrics and Obstetrics/ Gynaecology) and spend three months in each. We also get to do a month of a secondary posting out of one of the three months.

My first posting was in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and I was really happy when I got my appointment letter and saw that I was starting off my rotations with O&G, because I prayed for it. It was one of my favourite posting as a medical student – easily understandable and not as stressful as the others so I wanted it to slowly ease into the whole work.

Obstetrics and gynaecology is the branch of medicine that deals with female reproductive system issues and pregnancy. 

I started out really green about everything – I couldn’t take samples (take blood from someone) or set a line (the thing they use to connect a drip to you), didn’t know the 411 on administering intravenous drugs or doing a solo ward round but looking back now, it just makes me smile because I was worried about it all but look who got better with time!

I’m honestly unsure of how deep I should go because it might take more than a few sentences to explain some of the terminologies and things we go through but I’ll try as much as I can.

Two house officers (what we are called) are placed on ward calls everyday and my unit also has unit calls approximately 7 times a month where we basically either work 24hrs or 48hrs at a stretch (back to back) to resume normal work after that period.
I’m not sure who thought up the idea of making humans work back to back like that but that person deserves a beating to be honest!

On unit call days, we either man the gynaecological emergency room at the accident and emergency or labour ward. I enjoyed labour ward postings the most despite the fact that pregnant women have this annoying habit of somehow presenting themselves at night when you’re already fagged out. And then we have to spend the rest of the time monitoring them – counting how many contractions they’re having and checking their vitals. Gash

My O&G schedule looks a bit like this – ward rounds by 8am where we stand forever , clinic or theatre sessions depending on the day, evening ward rounds depending on if I’m on ward call, the 8am -8am emergency unit call and some extras – cytology, minor operations and OGTT depending on if I’m on the roaster for any of that.

My first few weeks found me almost on call every single weekend! It was quite distressing for me because I was being cheated but I kept trying to just hold it all in and not complain much or make a fuss. At some point though, I just had to speak out and also luckily for me, my Senior registrar realized what was happening and we finally had a fair call roaster drawn up. Phew!

One thing I wasn’t looking forward to was working with people that weren’t my classmates but I found relating with and bonded with most of my colleagues quite easily. With time, we became a sort of close knit group. I actually sort of enjoyed my stay in the unit I was in because my Superiors were not entirely toxic people.

Working here in LUTH is more than a bit stressful, most things don’t work as it should and this makes the work more stressful and a bit frustrating.
Imagine having to take samples for a couple of patients and there are no investigation bottles or forms on the ward, or the nurses aren’t just being helpful. *sigh*
I don’t think I need to exercise anymore with the amount of walking I do on most days here.

Obstetrics and Gynecology is most likely the only place I’d specialize in if I ever decide to practice medicine. But seeing first hand the plenty health issues women have and the stress they go through (especially during labour) is a bit jarring.
I find that a lot of people have zero ideas about some of these things so here’s just a quick list of the common cases we see.

  1. Fibroid – The commonest surgery we do is myomectomy – to remove a fibroid. Fibroids are so common, it is distressing!
  2. Infertility – It always hits me how many people are out there looking for kids.
  3. Amenorrhea – Reduction in menstrual flow.
  4. Polycystic ovarian syndrome – Another really common condition in women of reproductive age that causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods (can cause infertility), excess hair growth, acne, and obesity.
  5. Pregnancy induced hypertension and PreclampsiaPreeclampsia is a serious and potentially life threatning condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria.
  6. Gestational diabetes mellitus – when a woman without diabetes, develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy
  7. Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
  8. Incomplete miscarriage
  9. Threatened miscarriage
  10. Cervical cancer – talked about this one days ago on my twitter. Check it out and ensure you get your pap smear done.
  11. Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
  12. HIV in pregnancy : HIV is so common and you would never suspect it! At least 1 in every 3 patients we see have the virus and it is so scary, makes me paranoid. I’ve had a couple of blood spills and I just go crazy cleaning myself with bleach and savlon after confirming they aren’t HIV positive. This work di very risky, small needle prick and your status will just change overnight.

Ladies, You can also do a quick read up on all I’ve listed!

And that’s it for this post.
Please let me know if there’s any extra details you’ll like to know for my subsequent housejob chronicle posts! 
If you’re a doctor (medical) currently doing your housemanship or already done, I’ll love to read about your own experience so please leave me a comment.
And let’s connect!

How time flies though! It seemed like one year that would take forever and now I’m done with my first three months. I definitely had/still have moments where I can’t just imagine being this stressed everyday for the rest of my life but working with some crazy(in a fun way) colleagues made it all a bit bearable.
I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year zooming off this quickly and for it all to come to an end.

I start medicine posting next and I hear that its pretty gangster and a whole lot more stressful. Not looking forward to it but I know that I’ll definitely adapt and as always, I plan to still take everyday one day at a time. That’s what kept me sane during these long calls and whenever I got too tired or stressed out.

P.S – Took these pictures with my infinix hot S. Check out my review of the phone here.
P.P.S – Check out other posts in my med diary here.

Terminologies :

  1. Housemanship/Housejob : the compulsory one year internship/work that med doctors have to do after graduating.
  2. House Officer : What doctors doing their housemanship are called.
  3. Registrar (Can be senior or junior reg) a hospital doctor undergoing specialist training in a particular field of medicine. A registrar is senior to a houseman but junior to a consultant.
  4. Ward Round : Visit to all the patients that are in the section (ward) of the hospital that the team is responsible for to review the patients and see how they are doing. We usually have two ward rounds – morning and evening
  5. On Call : On call” means that you are in charge of part of hospital  – usually for a whole day, overnight, over the weekend or over a defined time period. If something happens with a patient when you’re on call at any time, the nurses call you to deal with it.
  6. Labour ward : Where the pregnant women come to deliver.

Author: Cassie Daves

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  • Yes!!! We the faithful disciples of Your Instagram have been folloing up on your House Job Chronicles, honestly it's really an Eye opener cause I honestly ya 'll got it easy, I mean after all the jamb hustle you guys still go through this? Hian!! I no fit.. Lol.. And yas Fibroid is far too common… Oh and BTW I tagged you in my TMI Post, In my latest post

  • So you know Azubike Clark….my project partner of life!!! 'One year a slave' has been pretty much slavery…..although my hospital is smaller and I have to slave less than you….lol. BTW LUTH doesn't really look pretty in pictures….hope you enjoy the rest of housejob..

  • 🎉🎉🎉🎉 Congrats cassie. Funny how it was just like yesterday I was reading your blog post on how you were getting tired of the whole housejob find. I'm so happy it started with ease for you, you didn't abandon your blog and I pray it continues smoothly for you irrespective of what past people would have said on their own tryout/hearsay. You're the real MVP 🎓

  • Hi Cassie, started following you recently after you took over was the Bella Naija IG account? Anyways, I'm a houseman, although we don't call it that in South Africa anymore since the mid 90's, it's now just known as Internship, and it's now 2 years long and we do 4months in a rotation, and besides the ones you've mentioned we also do time in Ortho, aneasthetics, family medicine & psychiatry. I'm currently on call & it's 1.31am here, I should be sleeping but my legs are restless, and besides I have 4hrly blood gases, next one due in an hour for my DKA patients, sigh.

    It's interesting to hear about your housemanship, there's definite similarities and some stark differences, but I think it helps build a sense of culture and support if we share our experiences. I'm in my third rotation now, only have 6 weeks of medicine left, and I've done O & G , and surgery already. After graduating, I had some practical skills because we had practical logbooks and our final year is known as a student internship, so we really become a part of our units throughout every rotation, each with logbooks and objectives that have to be reached, but there was no real prep for my first call. It started out calm, and it was only 2 weeks after starting work, and I was even complaining about how quite it was. Then 12pm hit, I was confronted with ectopics, aph, pph and 12 incomplete miscarriages. That onslaught brought me to my knees, and I can't even remember how many Caesars we did that night! I sucked at drips, I could obtain samples like a mosquito but bloods…FAST FORWARD nearly 11 months later, and I've run surgical casualty calls alone, inserted chest drains in 5 mins (because massive haemothorax, senior too far & BP's crashing), delivered 27 weekers via NVD & had them admitted to NICU, and successfully discharged, countless resuscitations, bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, pleural taps, done entire ward rounds alone, but you know what? I still get tingles when I get a drip in, the first time. Here's to more doctoring adventures!!!

    • OH WOW! Reading this comment was such an eye opener. Thank you so so much for reading this and sharing your experience. Thank you!
      Wow! I had no idea it's 2 years in some countries and your level of skills is definitely outstanding! I'm super impressed and I'm going to munch this and send to my colleagues.

    • The other postings you mentioned are what we call our secondary postings. Only difference is that one person doesn't do all, only one. For example, my secondary posting is in ophthalmology, while some others can be in psychiatry or hematology or clinical pathology or anaesthesia etc.

    • I know I'm reply I g you too much lol but I really hope you check back to reply my replies haha
      So how's getting an internship placement like in south Africa? Is it automatic? And do graduates have to struggle before getting one like it is here?

    • IT's no problem at all! Apologies for the late reply, I was post call, left the hospital at 12pm, and passed out til now (see the exhaustion is universal). So, we apply for jobs via the national department of health in June of our final year, by September we receive notices of our allocations. When I applied last year, I had to basically fill one form with my particulars and list 5 hospitals from a list of possible training facilities. These are spread throughout the country and range from highly advanced academic hospitals in cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, to small rural hospitals in the inland provinces. These facilities are accredited by our health professionals board and responsible for our further training. Allocation is a thing of chance, and of late there has been a lot of grads who are not allocated for months on end, mainly due to poor budgets by the department, but not because there isn't a need. I'm currently working in a secondary hospital in Joburg, I got lucky and was placed in the first round, but that's really not the case anymore. We don't have to do interviews, the first time I'll have to do that is in 2 new years at the end of my community service year. I'm sorry you had to wait so long for a placement, that must have been hard, but it's worth it. I predict that placements in SA are going to get more and more difficult to obtain. it's great that you get more time in things like opthalm, I'm hoping I get some exposure to the minor medical specilities in family medicine, my friend Steph who works on the East Coast did circumcision clinics during her time in family medicine. I'll keep following you because I have a big interest in healthcare systems in Africa. If you're curious about our experiences here, feel free to follow me on instagram, @laetimfuta, you'll find a lot of othr interesting doctor types living medicine & life on the gram, all the best with the rest of O & G!

    • This post brings back memories of the rigors of HJ. For us O&G was the craziest, most stressful department and Internal medicine was the most chill. Talk about opposites.

      20something's comment is amazing. You guys do so much. I'm itching for that kind of environment (and then when I get it I'm like "what kind of stress is this"). LOl. Medicine is something else.

    • This post brings back memories of the rigors of HJ. For us O&G was the craziest, most stressful department and Internal medicine was the most chill. Talk about opposites.

      20something's comment is amazing. You guys do so much. I'm itching for that kind of environment (and then when I get it I'm like "what kind of stress is this"). LOl. Medicine is something else.

  • Congrats on the first 3 months!! I hope things are less stressful when I'm done. I start full hospital rotations next year and I'm excited /scared lol. definitely give more updates on the other rotations!!
    so if you're not planning on practising medicine girll what you planning on doing??

  • I never wanted to be a doctor and as cute as you look in scrubs, i don't think i want to be a doctor. I do love that you are following both of your dreams and doing it with incredible poise. Hope you have and amazing 9 months in housemanship

  • Hiiiii, found out you had a post on your obgyn rotation so I decided to check it out because I’m currently doing mine! ( well still in medical school sha lol ) anyway this is what I’m leaning towards too when it’s time for my residency, let’s hope I don’t change my mind till then. You said 48hrs shift sometimes? Nawa o, #mannotmachine. Anyway, I currently started a blog tooo