20 August 2021
This week has been my final week in placement and the final year of being a first-year student, I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone. It seems like only a few months ago that I was researching university courses and putting my UCAS application in for ARU – just scary!
Anyway, there’s been some good and bad news this week. The good news is that firstly, the university have given the ODP students an extension to complete the PADs due to the Covid situation, which has taken the pressure off somewhat. Secondly however, I had a good chat with my practice assessor and she managed to find opportunities for me to demonstrate my skills which means I have completed my PAD and it’s been signed off – Hooray. It’s good to know that there’s a safety net policy when you encounter difficulties in placement which are completely outside of your control.
The bad news is that the Covid situation and the lack of beds has not changed. Over the past few months I have worked bank shifts as a vaccinator, so I’m curious to know if the people contracting Covid had actually been vaccinated. This week I was chatting to one of the anaesthetists who was doing a shift on ICU and asked the question. It appears that the majority have not been vaccinated and the others have only had one jab. Their reasons are very different, some have not been well enough to be vaccinated which is understandable but others are adamant anti-vaxers who are in denial and refusing treatment, which is very sad and quite frustrating for the staff who are trying to help.
Wednesday afternoon I was asked to go and support a team in another theatre performing an ECMO. I had no idea what this was, only that it involved a Covid positive patient and a team from Papworth Hospital and I would need to wear full PPE and a lead gown. I can honestly say that despite feeling very hot and uncomfortable, it was an extremely interesting experience and I was fortunate to get to see it. I’ve learned that ECMO is a procedure used on very sick Covid patients and is a way of using a machine to take blood out of the body via huge cannulas, remove the carbon dioxide and re-oxygenate it before returning it back to the body and is only performed when ventilation is unable to sustain sufficient oxygen levels. Sadly the patient was one of the anti-vaxers who had deteriorated very quickly and it was a clear reminder of how awful this virus is.
Wednesday afternoon also saw the arrival of the new junior doctors, confirmed by our very flushed and agitated theatre manager who was attempting to sort them out. The first Wednesday in August each year is the day junior doctors change hospitals, so lots of new faces and lots of people getting lost. I found myself providing directions and advising on procedures (lol) – So it seems I’m no longer the new kid on the block!
Roll on year 2………..