Today’s day was organised for us to spend our day at UCL where we first were placed in a carousel with one session involving medical students teaching us how to take blood pressure, followed by BLS and then the tour of the campus.
I have previously taken part in various different activities teaching me various clinical skills, but I had not yet been shown how to take a measure of a patient’s blood pressure using the traditional method using the stethoscope. It was a really incredible experience as I was able to practice on my peers and I would agree that the whole experience was amazing in allowing me to gain an insight into how it would feel to be a medical student. As well as learning the method of listening for the pulse and knowing which numbers would represent which value, one of the other lessons I have taken away from this experience is the importance of a doctor always being aware of their patient. Whilst we were practicing with each other, it was easy to forget about the one who was having their blood pressure taken by becoming carried away with the numbers and trying to accuracy when counting, so the person was actually sitting there with a really tight band around their arm for quite a while which would not be very comfortable. It’s good that when training medical students, they practise on each other as they are able to realise little things like this which could have been overlooked otherwise – blood pressure should be taken quickly and the arm band taken off straight away to avoid any discomfort.
The next little round was the Basic Life Support, which I had actually done a few times before including the in January this year when I organised a first aid course for my year group. It was a nice recap though irregardless and I suppose skills like this should always be kept updated. At least I could feel satisfied with myself after this session as I did actually remember the all important ‘DRS ABC’ acronym.
Once again, the tour was led by medical students. It’s definitely very important to choose a medical course that’s suited to your way of learning as 5 or even 6 years is not the shortest of times and I do want to make sure that I can enjoy and get the most out of my time at university.
Venue: Queen Mary Univeristy
After that we returned to our accommodation and engaged in another session which was based on communication within healthcare. In this session we interacted with actors who spoke to us about how they think doctors should behave and the way they should behave. It was very insightful to hear these opinions and ideas from people outside the medical profession as they would be able to comment on the minute body language or eye movements which could possibly make a patient feel uncomfortable in the presence of their doctor. After that, we paired ourselves up and then played the role of a patient or a medical student in a mock consultation. It was definitely worthwhile doing this as it allowed each of us to develop an appreciation for the communication and interaction between a patient and a doctor or medical student. It was also good for us all to collectively discuss and reflect on what we though was difficult about each of our roles…practising with each other is definitely a very helpful tool for learning I believe.
The last activity we had today was a session on public speaking in which we had to present the answer to a personal question to our group. I was slightly nervous at first, but I thoroughly enjoyed it it irreaegless and I thought it was a truly invaluable experience as this is something you don’t have the chance to do very often.