Med Diary || My Surgery Posting Experience.

And it’s another housemanship in Nigeria Post! This time though, I’m kicking it off on a happy note – Super excited because I start my last posting in this my housemanship journey tomorrow (started writing this on the 21st, so I’m already a few days into my last posting now)! Whoop whoop!

How times flies right? To think that just the other day I couldn’t seem to get a placement for my housemanship and now I’ll be rounding up in a bit! Ahh, mad ting.

I really cannot wait to be done with this phase of my life and just move on to other less depressing things but that’s not really what this post is about. As is the norm, I’ll be sharing another page from my “housemanship in Nigeria” chronicles and talking all about my surgery posting experience.

Psst: In case you’re new around here and wondering what this housemanship of a thing is, I’ve explained all that here, talked about graduating med school here, my struggle to get a housemanship placement here and also blogged about my first three months of my housemanship in Nigeria (LUTH) experience here.

Let’s dig in.
housemanship in nigeria, Nigerian blogger and medical doctor cassie daves in scrubs sitting in the modular theatre

I started Surgery really hopeful and all, because according to my roommate – surgery people live life on the fast lane and hardly spend time on ward rounds and documenting plenty plenty things lol

In surgery, we have to rotate through three units, spending one month in each of them. My First posting was a relatively lightweight unit – Urology.

Urology focuses on surgical diseases of the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs, so we get to see a lot of Prostate cancer, BPH(Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), Renal cancer, male infertility, urinary retention and the likes.

Ever Wondered What The Life Of A Medical Doctor In Nigeria Is Like? You Should Check This Out Click To Tweet

I really don’t have much to say about my time in Urology because it was pretty much uneventful and such a bore, but I can’t complain because I enjoyed it! I had lots of free time (compared to my previous postings so far) as the workload wasn’t so hectic and emergency cases that would have your phone ringing at odd hours of the night didn’t come in a lot (unlike my Endocrinology posting days).

My regs were also all cool, (except for this one reg that tried to pick a case with me but as my God would have it, I was leaving the unit few days after he joined us) and I worked with some cool house officers too (Shout out to Ayuba, Fadeelah and Lawal)

The only thing I didn’t like about Urology was having to change urethral catheters all day long in the clinic, which was like the only job for we house officers on clinic days but it definitely helped hone my catheterization skills.

My next unit was pediatric surgery and this was where shit got real! I specifically prayed not to get posted here and kept “God forbidding” It but guess who still got that dreaded text that said, “Go to PSU”? Me.

Right from my first day there, I started counting down to the end. There were just so many unnecessary rules in the unit and so much work that it left me with little time to fix other aspects of my life which was quite depressing.

Related: On Burn out, Life lately and taking a blog break

It didn’t help that my patients were going to be tiny babies and little kids – you don’t know struggle until you’ve spent hours battling to site a line or take a sample from a baby. lol. Mastering Adult lines took a while for me, so I was scared about having to deal with children and their tiny veins/impossible to see veins but who fear epp?

I’m currently in my pediatrics posting which means, even more babies and even more lines to face.

housemanship in Nigeria, hand drawn calender of the month of April

Pediatric surgery is the branch of surgery that deals with surgical cases in children (teenagers and adolescents included). Most of the cases we saw were neonates(babies below 28days old) with congenital disorders like gastroschisis, Omphalocele, Hirschsprung disease, intestinal obstruction, and hypospadias. there were a whole lot of appendicitis cases too.

I’m honestly not sure why I’m listing out cases for you guys because you probably won’t get it. But if you have some spare time it wouldn’t hurt to just check them out and be informed. Shit is real outchea!

Working in the medical field opens you up to so much!! If I wasn’t a doctor, I probably wouldn’t realize how hard it is for some people to conceive because that’s not what I see around me normally or just how many congenital deformities/malformations there are out there because again, the people around me never had such issues. Good health is honestly everything and I’m thankful for it every day.

My housemanship period has definitely been an eye-opening one.

housemanship in nigeria, Blogger and Medical doctor cassie daves selfie in face mask and head cover for theatre

My last surgery posting was General surgery, here we deal with surgical cases in adults focusing majorly on the abdomen, and often the thyroid gland and the breast. Most of the cases we saw were gunshot/stab injuries to the abdomen, appendicitis, breast cancer, gallbladder cancer. See ehn, cancer na bastard (excuse my choice of words).

This was another super busy unit! And the funny thing is that other units used to regard us as a chilling unit. I once spent a full day at work + night and half of the next day in the theatre – I slept on an iron chair in the changing room at the theatre. Too real!

Although the workload was much, It was refreshing working with adults again and bonding with some of the patients and my colleagues. The working environment here was also pretty relaxed as none of my superiors were malignant. Thank God!

You all already know that I had a short leave after my general surgery posting, took a trip to Ghana and now back at work again. I started Paediatrics a few days ago and so far, so good. I’m just taking every day at a time and counting down till the end of it all.

That said, I’m really praying for our health care system in Nigeria.

Everything is in ruins and almost every doctor is running out of Nigeria because of the harsh working conditions. Not only do we have long working hours (Imagine being expected to work 24hrs at a stretch, sometimes extending to 48 & even 72hrs and still function properly attending to patients), there’s almost always nothing available to work with – continuation sheets to write on, sample bottles etc, the working environment is harsh and Nigerians (yes, yall!) have zero regards for the work doctors are putting in everyday to help people get better.

Hopefully one day it will get better but I don’t plan to stay around that long enough to find out. Check out lifewithtwotees for another perspective (the real behind the scenes that I haven’t got the guts to write about till I finish) of this housemanship in Nigeria struggle

Once again, please let me know if there are any extra details you’ll like to know for my subsequent house job Chronicle posts!

 If you’re a doctor (medical) currently doing your housemanship in Nigeria or already done, I’ll love to know what hospital you’re working in and also read about your own experience so please leave me a comment. If you’re a med student too, holla in the comments!

And let’s connect!


P.P.S – Check out other posts in my med diary here. And a breakdown of some of the med life terminologies like senior registrar here

Author: Cassie Daves

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    • Aww, thanks Omo. I was just wondering this morning if people actually want to ead about my med life before I decided to still post it.
      It’s not a real term per se, lol just something we call our senior doctors that have wahala – like to make life hard for others or just brings up unnecessary rules.

  • I’m still doing clerkship and I’m tired already.. Currently in family and community medicine so I’m in the ER every other night and just like you said good health is everything!!!

    My surgery posting is still next year and not looking forward to it cause I hear it’the second worst after IM with a lot of extra hours.

    Was insightful to read yours. Good luck with the rest of the days Dr

    • Hey Lade! Oh that’s dope oh! I did community health in 500level and it didn’t involve any clinical posting. So I think it is dope that you guys get exposed to the life early.
      I like to just adopt the “It is already bad” mentality, that way I mentally prepare myself for anything they throw at me. Also, what’s the worst that can happen? It will still end last last.

      Thanks for reading and dropping a comment, much appreciated!

  • Fancy discovering a helpful blog like this on the very week of your graduation from medical school. This is a great exposé on what to expect from the next phase of my life. I also intend to go thru your previous work as well, but this is a good start. Fabulous read. Thank you Dr. Daves.

  • I’m a HO at university of uyo teaching hospital, I’m barely 4weeks in and I’ve been on alternate day calls since day 1. I read your earlier posts while waiting on the job and I though I’d prepared myself mentally… The joke was on me. Lol. Still your blog has been helpful, it’s really cool, reading other people’s experiences. Oh and I’m in OnG department.

    • Mehnn! Alternate day call sucks major. That’s like next in the line after everyday call which I had to do during my medicine posting. Shit is crazy! The Lord is your strength, I don’t envy you at all.
      Is it that there is a scarcity of house officers where you work or?
      OnG here in LUTH always has the highest numbers of HO -Im talking 9 HOs in one unit.

      • Wow that’s a lot of numbers! There’s a scarcity o. We should be about 9 in the whole of OnG. I’m hoping they employ soon because more HOs are leaving next month end. Everyday calls sha, you’re a G o. Lol

  • Hi Cassie, just discovered your blog. Am currently undergoing my housemanship at FMC Umuahia. So far so good. Nice write up, I think I might have a word or two about my Surgery rotation. It was literally “back breaking”. Am currently in Paeds rotation. I wasn’t a big fan of paediatrics and children in general, but the niceness and friendliness emanating from the consultants and ​residents are really welcoming.

    • That’s the opposite here. Paediatrics here is dreaded because most of the consultants are females and we all know how female doctors can be lol. Luckily for me, my First posting is in a unit with a very good consultant.

      Thanks for reading and commenting too!

      • Indeed female consultants have their complex. It is present everywhere. Surgery postings are tough. That’s the simplest way to put it.

  • My experience in surgery was hellish. I started off with general surgery, then neurosurgery and ended with pediatric surgery. You are allowed to ask if someone in my villa is after me…lol. I practically slept in the hospital for 90 days. My flesh thinned out. The calls at odd hours with the mantra- Your attention is needed at so so and so…jeez! Ungrateful patients didn’t help matters at all. The countdown was real. By the time the last week came and I took a terminal leave, my parents almost cried at my new look. My dad had to ask if med school was better sef. Lol but I was quick to rebuke that. Forward ever, backward never. I learnt a lot though but it wasn’t easy.

  • Hi, just came across this on Twitter. I’m not in the medical field but I’m presently battling with Nasalpharyngeal tumor. Which after surgery and biopsy has been diagnosed as Angiosarcoma or Karposi Sarcoma. I visited Luth only to find our that their radiology department isn’t functional cause the machine is bad.
    Health Care in Nigeria is horrible. And I commend people like you that get into the field with all the challenges.
    Would like to have you share your views on my radio show when I’m done getting healthy.
    That’s after radio therapy and or chemotherapy.
    God Bless you and everyone else in the medical field in Nigeria.

    • God be with you Uche. You will come out stronger. Do well to access the best care. Healthcare in Nigeria is really challenging

  • Hi! I’m a Med 400level Med student! I totally get what u mean about having So little to work with and still expected to give So much. I honestly don’t think it can get better though but who knows right?! Anyway I hope you enjoy your paediatrics posting

  • Hiii Cassie, I’m a medical student too and I’ve only done general surgery rotation. Not much to say because we only had little practical since it was just 4th year but I do understand the amount of work it takes and I considered being a general surgeon for a minute but I don’t think I want to spend all those years in school and I found it monotonous anyway, compared to other specialties. One of my professors described it as a ‘radical’ speciality and I agree.
    Anyway, I’m so happy you are almost done. I remember when you just graduated and you were job hunting, seems like ages ago but look at God lol.

    • Likeeee! It was too real. Now I even look at some of my classmates that were in the same shoes as me back then and just go “you realize you’re almost done now ba?” . Life is a funny something.
      What school are you in?

  • Hey Cassie. I’m a third year med student and i really enjoy reading your blog. I know i still have a long way to go but it helps to see someone like you move so fast and share your experiences. I wish you good luck dear. Wish me luck in my MB

  • Hi Cassie,

    I enjoyed reading this, it made me quite sad though.

    The state of the health care system in Nigeria is heartbreaking. Then, I went off to read Tosin’s post and that made me even sadder.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Hi Dr. Cassie,
    Ur experience is just similar to mine.
    I did my HJ last year. Just one week into it i discovered how messed up the healthcare system in Nigeria is. There were no materials, continuation sheetss, gloves, cannulas etc especially at the A/E u’d have an emergency and a line to set n u hav to run to the wards to get gloves plaster, cannulas i eventually had to start putting them in my bag wheneva there’s a lot of them available so i would not have to go through that stress when next i need to use them

    Also we had no decent call rooma, and i started with surgery rotation(PSU) where u hav to be on call for two weeks straight cos there was only one PSU
    I used to pity the surgery residents, some of them had part1 exams to write and where on 3months straight call just before the exam

    Well am currently serving now. Am you wont believe that corper doctors are not paid where am doing NYSC (Enugu)

    So jus like u i dont intend to stay around long enough to find out when it gets bettee here in Nigeria