One thing about the Urgent Care Centre is that sometimes it is extremely busy and at other times there’s nothing to do. As a volunteer, there’s only a limited number of roles which I am capable of doing. Some of the time I just play an observational role during my time there. I definitely find it worthwhile being able to experience the hospital environment and see how busy each of the members of the team are…it allows me to be able to properly appreciate the roles played by other members of the healthcare team besides doctors like nurses and practioners. During today’s shift there was a 3 month old baby who had been admitted which a lot of the doctors and nurses were concerned about so there was quite a few members of the team taking care of him. There was also a lot of out-of-hours GPs which were working in the department today, more than usual.
The Urgent Care Centre was extremely busy today. Some of the doctors were multitasking and seeing two patients simultaneously. Even after doing this, there was still a problem as all the rooms were soon used up and there wasn’t space for another patient to be seen. I helped to quickly clear some rooms after they had been used so another consultation could take place by washing the dishes and removing any dirty sheets. I also learnt about how the sharps bin is used. At first I was quite surprised by the strict rules regarding it being signed every time a new bin is brought out, or when a bin has become full and can be disposed of and the fact that its contents are incinerated. However, after reflecting on this I came to realise why procedures like this are actually necessary and the damage and illnesses it could cause if somebody was to come across used needles in the normal waste disposal bins. But, my favourite part of today’s shift was when I was able to go and see some patients with a doctor.
Today I carried out lots of little errands in the Urgent Care Centre. I was involved in various parts of the centre and was able to appreciate the variety of roles Medical staff are expected to complete with competence. For all the weeks I have been here, I have not seen the same doctor twice and every doctor I have spoken to has told me that it’s their first or second time in this hospital. From this I have learnt the importance of possessing the skill of being able to adapt to different situations easily. As a doctor you will constantly be expected to work within different teams, in different places and perhaps even in different departments. This idea of variety excites me and it something which I would love to be able to rise to the challenge for.
Medicine is a fast-pacer career. This is something that I’ve learnt with even the simplest of roles of having make a cup of tea for a patient who has asked for one. In the Urgent Care Centre I have to do it quickly, so they can receive it before they are referred to another department. This is also something I was able to observe with a 3 year old girl who came to the Urgent Care Centre. She had been involved in a minor car accident in which nobody was injured. However, following the incident she had been extremely wheezy. When the girl first came in, she was placed on a monitor to check her oxygen saturation levels. They were all normal, but doctor and the nurse practitioner quickly identified that her breathing rate was alarmingly high and she was taking many short breaths. The doctor quickly placed her on a nebuliser to calm her down before transferring her to the Paediatric centre where they would be able to carry out further assessments. I thought it was a really great insight to be able to see how this momentarily panicked situation was managed and controlled so quickly. I also learnt that despite her showing symptoms of asthma, she couldn’t be diagnosed with it yet due to her age, which I found to be quite interesting.
Today I spent my shift shadowing a doctor who had just finished her foundation training years and was planning on spending this year in the Emergency Department. It was very interesting to experience the delivery of healthcare from the perspective of a doctor who was fairly new to the profession as opposed to somebody more experienced, (like the doctor from my last shift who had been practising for 25 years). Today I only saw one patient as this patient required more attention than the patients I had previously seen and many different members of the healthcare team needed to be contacted. I also noticed the differences in the way the two doctors approached their patients as my previous doctor was more direct and to the point, however, today’s doctor was more meticulous and thorough.
Today I had my first day of volunteering in the Urgent Care Centre. It was quite different and definitely more fast paced than my volunteering at the hospice. My role was to offer drinks to patients being treated by the doctors as well as asking them to fill in some feedback forms. The department sister told me that the feedback they receive is very useful for them in order to allow continual improvement. I did manage to get a few feedback forms completed during today’s volunteering shift, however, it was difficult for two reasons: it wasn’t always appropriate to ask a distressed patient to fill in a form and I had to take into consideration the condition they were in before approaching them; and the healthcare staff were quite busy and had to quickly go through all the patients waiting, a feedback form being filled in was a rather significant delay for them. One of the key things that I feel I have already learnt from this placement is the ability to be able to judge a situation and decide on whether I should do something or whether I shouldn’t. Offering drinks and asking for feedback is a really basic example of this, but the principle of it is still the same as doctors have to do this on a daily basis whilst consulting a patient: they have to decide on the treatment, whether it’d be appropriate to ask certain questions, whether it’s appropriate to carry out certain procedures etc.