Today was the last day of Paediatrics for my early clinical rotations – and not a moment too soon.
My first two weeks on the rotation were amazing. My group and I were in an infectious ward and the consultants there loved teaching. They learned our names, asked us a lot of questions (which often made us feel stupid but certainly taught us a lot) and allowed us to feel like doctors.
In our two weeks there, we were allowed to make patient-notes (provided we got them co-signed by a doctor) and we got to examine many patients. I learnt so much there and had an amazing time.
Perhaps we should have thought it funny that the three of us were more tired than any of our other colleagues on paediatrics…
For the second half of the rotation, we were in a casualty ward. Not really stitches and resuscitations, more an outpatient-type-vibe. Here we were told not to make patient notes and not to examine a patient without a senior student present. During ward rounds we were not acknowledged as being present and there was absolutely no teaching taking place.
It was a demotivating experience and I resent it. I pay a lot of money to learn, not to be ignored or sent to the chempath lab to deliver urgent samples. [Which, by the way, we also did in our first two weeks, but since we learnt so much we did not mind – it was a welcome break.]
Now Paediatrics is over and when the time comes to reviewing the module, I shall be brutally honest.
Fortunately, I did see some interesting cases. I saw a patient with Kawasaki’s Disease (which is rare in South Africa), a patient with Shigella Dysentery (which is a good learning opportunity); one with cystic fibrosis and one with hydrocephaly. The latter two are by no means rare, but after learning the theory last year it is good to examine such patients. I also saw patients with IRIS, but more about that later.
I am sad that our learning experiences are not always very educationally oriented. At an academic hospital complex such as ours, the teaching mindset should have been instilled many years ago.