Just to keep up with the theme, the post giving an overview of my 2nd block is late too (seeing as I’ve just started my 4th). My second block was Cardiology and I have to say I really enjoyed this one, I think I could go as far to say it’s probably been my favourite block so far! The teaching was amazing and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from it.
So a bit about Cardiology now…On the wards there was a lot of heart failure, heart attacks and angina. I quite like taking a chest pain history and the way that you can try to differentiate the cause of the pain through simple questions about the nature of the pain.
Listening to heart sounds is obviously quite fundamental to Cardiology and I can remember one instance of a congenital aortic stenosis I heard in a clinic, it was the loudest and most classic “systolic murmur” sound I’ve ever heard, so that was pretty amazing! I also had the opportunity to hear a few mechanical valves which was incredible!
There were quite a wide range of clinics for us to get stuck in to. I did a handful of sessions in the Catheter Lab which was my first somewhat surgical experience. I saw angiography, a pacemaker being put in, the insertion of a loop recorder and removal of a loop recorder during my time there. Exercise stress testing, echocardiography were other things that it was really interesting to go and watch to get a better idea of.
Here’s a little look in to my 3rd week of the block…
(Green is compulsory, red is clinical experiences I’ve signed up to, yellow is personal events)
Cath lab session in the morning followed by bedside teaching in the afternoon. The teaching we had was based in the Critical Care Unit which was quite an eye-opening experience. The purpose of it was to get used to listening to different chest sounds so it was very useful to be able to learn to differentiate between different types of crackles and wheezing sounds. My personal highlight from these sessions was being able to feel subcutaneous emphysema which I did for the first time in one of those sessions – it literally felt like bubble wrap as they say it will.
In the morning I had a clinical skills ECG session where we learnt how to carry out an ECG and were able to practise on each other meaning we all left with a lovely little trace of our own hearts’ electrical rhythm which I was rather mesmerised by! Following that we had a bedside teaching session which was focussed on discussing differentials based around a case that was presented. We also practised the cardiovascular examination in this session. My final session of the day was a CPF (Clinical Placement Facilitator) meeting which is just to check you’re progressing well on the placement and help with any specific skills you may be struggling to get signed off.
I had a ward round in the Medical Assessment Unit in the morning. I thought it’d be interesting to see the variety of patients on MAU as opposed to a specific ward. In the afternoon I had my clinical debrief session, which as I explained in an earlier blog post involves discussing cases we’ve seen and building on our differentials.
This ward round on the Coronary Care Unit I did almost every week of this block because I enjoyed it so much. I’d have an hour before the ward round where I was able to take some histories (using my new history-taking template which I’ve been loving) from the new patients, during the ward round I’d then present this to the team and the doctors went through the investigations and imaging for the patients before going to see them. The ward round itself was quite quick so after that the doctor on the ward took some time out to teach us examinations which I found really beneficial.
Themed Case Discussion (TCD) in the morning which was on Congestive Cardiac Failure which happened to be perfectly relevant to the block. In the afternoon was another teaching session on critical care.
I don’t normally share my weekends as I don’t often have scheduled sessions, but on this particular weekend I headed over to Lancaster for an O&G conference which I shared more about on my instagram story. The conference was really interesting covering perinatal psychiatry, teenage pregnancy to mention a few and also talks giving an insight into the career and turning pathway.
And…that’s a wrap!