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.
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.
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.
- Fibroid – The commonest surgery we do is myomectomy – to remove a fibroid. Fibroids are so common, it is distressing!
- Infertility – It always hits me how many people are out there looking for kids.
- Amenorrhea – Reduction in menstrual flow.
- 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.
- Pregnancy induced hypertension and Preclampsia – Preeclampsia is a serious and potentially life threatning condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria.
- Gestational diabetes mellitus – when a woman without diabetes, develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy
- Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
- Incomplete miscarriage
- Threatened miscarriage
- Cervical cancer – talked about this one days ago on my twitter. Check it out and ensure you get your pap smear done.
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
- 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!
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.
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.
- Housemanship/Housejob : the compulsory one year internship/work that med doctors have to do after graduating.
- House Officer : What doctors doing their housemanship are called.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Labour ward : Where the pregnant women come to deliver.