Kindly written by Anthony Charalambous, 2nd year medic (2018)
A warm welcome back and what better welcome than going on placement! No worries though these placements last for 3 weeks each. You start the academic year with Foundations of Health, Disease and Therapeutics and dependent on which group you are you either begin your Effective Consulting Clerkship which builds upon your previous EC learning or your Student Choice placement which you get to decide beforehand. After the introductory day you will have days off to attend Freshers Fair (woop woop), a very official symposium, and you get to return to the first progress test of the year (not so exciting news).
Once the 6 week block is over you are back in lectures. Your learning builds upon Year 1 topics and continues to combine clinical practice with biomedical science. Learning is still centred around Case based learning with labs, facilitation sessions and seminars adding to your wealth of knowledge. Teaching Block 1 introduces you to skin and integument, body defense, pharmacology & therapeutics, and you will get to learn your ABCs as in anaemia, blood and clotting. This teaching block takes you up to Christmas vacation. Upon your return you have a symposia, 3D days, student choice poster presentation from your Student Choice placement and a very enticing Progress test. After you overcome the hurdles you start symptom-based learning and get to grips with DDX (differential diagnoses) that you encountered in EC. Here you get to learn the algorithms that help you determine a patient’s condition, an example would be the ABCDE approach in an unstable patient (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure). This topic that runs throughout teaching will make you into a medical detective and at the end of it you will hopefully feel more of a doctor.
For Teaching block 2 you are dealing closely with symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, low mood, joint pain, (and upon return from Easter break) urinary and headache. Once these units finish you will be facing Assessment Week after which you will learn about collapse which is quite ironic at this stage!
● An uncommon presentation of a common disease is more likely than a common presentation of a rare disease
● Use an aide memoire such as a surgical sieve to list the possible causes of a particular symptom or sign, the most comprehensive one is VITAMIN CDEF. Give it a guess!
● Clerk plenty of patients during your placement and present your findings to qualified doctors. Always include your conclusion and a summary of how you arrived at it.