A&E block

So, following a duller Endocrine placement I was looking forward to being thrown right back into the thick of it at a very busy tertiary emergency department at the heart of Manchester. The way we do A&E placements is very different to how other placements are held. For a start, there aren't any outpatient clinics, there aren't any ward rounds etc. Secondly, you are assigned shift patterns for the duration of your four weeks. My four weeks will run like this:

Monday - nothing
Tuesday - 1700-0000
Wednesday - 1200-2200
Thursday - 0800-1600

Not including the teaching that we have every day from 4pm - 5pm and the Friday's usual themed case discussions etc, and clinical debrief and all of that.

We also get the pleasure of wearing big pocketed-scrubs much to my other colleagues' envy. Placement clothes are not fun, a pain in the backside to pick out and for women - have like no pockets on a skirt. You then risk wearing your stethoscope around your neck and being called a moron, or you just wave it around and hope nobody steals it. Anyway.

While these are our shift patterns, there isn't really any accountability. There is nobody to make sure you are there, nobody you sign in with and you are free to come and go as you please. Great! 4 weeks off then right? Wrong. It can be if that's what you want it to be; i'm not going to lie, at least 2 of the 8 members of the group are certainly treating it that way. Without sounding like i'm getting on my high horse too much; I am aware of what great experience A+E provides, I know how envious a lot of my peers are that they don't have a placement here and quite frankly, there are things to do. So yea, forgive me for being keen, but I will stick around.

The way I normally roll is, I check in with one of the doctors, ask if there is anything interesting going on, or if there's anything he suggest I get on with. Normally, you can go ahead and clerk patients in, present them to the doctor and shadow the doctor that then see's and treats them. In majors, there might be some interesting patients to take a full history from, bloods that need doing, or a doctor to shadow. Then in resus, you get all the trauma calls in. Very '24 hours in A+E' esque. It's interesting, you both lose and regain your faith for human kind in a single admission.

There was that guy who went home to find 15 other guys waiting for him and kicked his head in. Then theres that young woman who was just walking down the road when suddenly someone on a bike "punched the back of her head and neck" - newsflash, that kid wasn't punching, he was slicing. But then you see some of the most incredible doctors working their asses off to do everything they can to make them better.

I'm only half way into this placement and i'm sure there is plenty more to see but one thing is for sure: it takes some sort of insane human to want to spend their whole career doing emergency medicine.


  1. honestly you do come off kinda pretentious in this post and across others as well. You remind me of those super keen med students who link anyone who isn't doing as much as they are are lazy, slackers etc. Wait when you get to final year; as someone who uses public transport and had to travel to a few places requiring the train+bus+walk combo, to have a place that didn't have me chasing signatures left right and centre, where I as an adult was treated like an adult.... golden. Not everyone needs be in 24/7 shadowing the F1 24/7 to prove that they enjoy medicine loooool.

    But anyways. Interesresting read!

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I understand, reading this back, it may well come off as pretentious and keen, but at this point - I absolutely was. I was super excited about this new placement, I was loving it, and I was disappointed that some of my other peers weren't making the most of the opportunity. If it came across as me thinking they were lazy, it shouldn't have. It was me calling them out as stupid for not making more of this. We had some great teaching and my learning curve was close to a right angle uou could get. People have different ways of learning and I understand that. I just place a lilot more value on the time and effort clinicians took on this placement to teach us.

      And being present a lot, shadowing the FY1 isn't something i do to "prove" I enjoy medicine. It's something I did in a+e because it taught me a lot. I was in for so many hours because that was the shift pattern I was given by my university. Some people chose to ignore that, I chose otherwise.

      I'm not sure what you mean about final year, clarify?

  2. Sorry spelling errors galore, writing this on my phone

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