The Safe Working Hours Wristband Campaign is Missing the Point – Here’s Why

If you’ve been paying attention, working hours of doctors (especially junior doctors) have been getting some good airtime over the past few months. The Province of the Western Cape has committed to actively reducing maximum continuous working hours for doctors to twenty-four, the HPCSA has promised to “look into it” (not that we have too much confidence there), and our biggest representative, SAMA (South African Medical Association) has come out in our support.

One of the things to come from all this is the launching of an armband campaign. This has its origins, I believe, from a similar campaign in the UK – although I have not been able to find any source to this link.

608772084 Continue reading “The Safe Working Hours Wristband Campaign is Missing the Point – Here’s Why”

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Ten Books Set Outside the USA (and Canada and the UK)

I love this week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesdays! As a South African, I’m acutely aware of the importance of reading local and international books, but our market is mostly saturated by books from the USA and the UK (I love you guys, but representation matters!)

I have two prior lists with more or less the same topic (links provided at the end), so I will mention different books here. And also, I’m not selecting any South African books because I have a whole list of them here!

1. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (YA, sci-fi)

Setting: Egypt (mostly)

A book set in an alternate reality where the Great Library was never destroyed. I felt the book had some problems with character development, but I did enjoy it – especially the setting, and the fact that it was ABOUT BOOKS!!!

library collage Continue reading “Ten Books Set Outside the USA (and Canada and the UK)”

A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard | Book Review

25111005Medical memoirs are a dime a dozen, but I’ve never read a medic’s memoir and the title, “A Thousand Naked Strangers” is just too good to pass up.

A Thousand Naked Strangers is an Atlantan’s chronicle of the decade he worked as a paramedic in the city. I’ve never really known much about Atlanta, except for the stories my dad told of the month he worked there in 2000 – before Hazzard began his journey.

Hazzard’s narrative is genuine and unpretentious. There is no, “I always knew I’d be a great medic” kind of spiel. It is a story of a career that found him, and ran its course. Continue reading “A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard | Book Review”

Which Med School Should You Choose?

I’ve been getting many questions from South African students about which medical school they should choose and which is the best, so instead of trying to remember what I said every time, I figured I’d write a general post about my thoughts.

Here’s a disclaimer though: I applied to only one medical school (long story) so I didn’t have the problem of needing to choose. So feel free to take my opinion with a pinch of salt (as you should with this whole entire blog, actually :P).

Continue reading “Which Med School Should You Choose?”

Late Presentations: A New Perspective

When medical students and doctors get bored, they start sharing “late presentation” stories. My first such experience was in third year, when a homeless man presented to us with horribly advanced rectal cancer. I was so disturbed that he had allowed it to progress so far, and I shared the story in a post.

I have lost count of the “late presentation” I have seen since then – one of the joys of working in a tertiary hospital. Women with breast cancers that have basically consumed entire chest walls. A man with testicular cancer the size of a soccer ball (I kid you not). Children with painful impetigo superimposed on severe scabies infestations.

newperspective

And always, my response in my head has been the one that comes most naturally: WHY ON EARTH DID THEY WAIT SO LONG? Although I always tried to figure out in a respectful manner what the hold-up was, I never considered that my internal frustration could be wrong. Continue reading “Late Presentations: A New Perspective”

Elective Extravaganza: Internal and ED in Malaysia

Here is a little something different for Elective Extravaganza: what happens when you realise you chose the “wrong” thing for your elective? Aziza Aini (a fellow blogger, click on over) is a third year medical student in Malaysia who, during her second year, did an elective in Internal Medicine. Although she enjoyed it, she realised that she much preferred Emergency Medicine. So she innovatively did both.

Aziza’s story is also interesting because she attends a twinning program – essentially, her first two years of medical school is at one institution, and the last years are completed at a different institution. They do an elective in second year to assist with clinical skills development. I enjoyed her views because they remind me of the experiences our second years have when they get their first introduction to clinical medicine – the things they notice, and the things that make an impact on them. It is part of the reason I will always value introducing a student to hospital as early as possible.

Now, I’ll leave Aziza to tell her story:

elective second yr malaysia Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza: Internal and ED in Malaysia”

Vascular Surgery, Exam Anxiety and Stuff

I think I may, for the first time in my life, have some genuine academic anxiety. I’ll be writing my first set of FINAL med school finals in ten weeks. Six domains in four days: Urology, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Anaesthesiology, Family Medicine, Surgery and Orthopaedics. And let’s not forget that Surgery = general + head&neck + vascular + trauma + paed surgery.

I don’t actually know how I am going to do it, given that we do not have any study leave. I will go straight from completing Ortho rotation into exams. Ten weeks is not enough to prepare for HALF OF EVERYTHING I have done in almost six years. Continue reading “Vascular Surgery, Exam Anxiety and Stuff”

Happy New Year: A 25-Before-25 Update

Happy New Year, everybody. I’m not really posting resolutions, but I am updating about my 25 Before 25 project. I also have a few goals coming up in a Top Ten Tuesday post next week. Anyways, here are some updates on these “goals”. I’m only addressing some points that have something worth saying. You can see all my goals at the original post.

25 before 25 Continue reading “Happy New Year: A 25-Before-25 Update”