A Much Needed Update: Placements and Snow Days

It’s been way too long since I last posted- placement and OSCE prep took up most of my time, then I came home for the Easter break and catching up on sleep became my main priority.

Anyway, how did the rest of placement go?

My week with oncology was more emotionally draining than I thought it would be- lowest point was actually getting teary in a very long breast cancer clinic, because a lot of the women had just been recently diagnosed. So their worry for not only themselves, but how it would impact their spouses and children really got to me. It was such a mum reaction that reminded me so much of my own mother, that I called her straight after the clinic to tell her to please check her breasts regularly for changes. Breast cancer really ain’t no joke.

As part of oncology, I also got to spend time with palliative care teams, which again was pretty sad, but I learnt a lot from the team about the importance of sensitivity when it comes to DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) conversations, as well as how the goal of care is make sure patients are as comfortable as possible when it comes to end of life.

The remaining three weeks of placement were spent back in psychiatry with the mental health liaison team, and going back to suicide risk assessments was very tough. The most difficult patients I spoke to were the teenagers with eating disorders, who had been brought in to hospital for feeding because they had refused to eat. It really broke my heart to hear the stories of how their issues with food began; kids can be so so mean to each other, and what the patients had gone through with their peers was just awful.

I was also really surprised by how easily the patients had accessed pro-anorexia websites and Instagram pages, as some of them mentioned how they had been encouraged by strangers online to skip meals and stop eating. So scary! The patients I spoke to were eventually referred to specialist centres for their eating disorders, as they had continued to refuse food in the hospital, so there was nothing further that could be done for them. So sad 😦

The only slightly positive thing I took from my brief time in child and adolescent psychiatry was that I definitely want to work with children and young people in the future – to be able to make even the slightest difference in the lives of such patients would be quite something.

The rest of my time in psych pretty much blurred into one, to be honest. I saw schizophrenic patients, patients admitted after overdoses, and a lot of patients with depression. I know now that psychiatry definitely isn’t for me, because I really struggled with how draining it is, and I have so much respect for health care professionals involved with mental health, as their strength and resilience is inspiring.

On a lighter note, we had not one, not two, but THREE snow days due to the ‘Beast From The East,’ so placement was cancelled for those days, yay! Unfortunately, due to still recovering from my achilles rupture, I had to stay indoors to avoid slipping on the ice, but my housemates were super cute and built a snowman with me so that I wouldn’t feel too left out:

(Yes, they’re quite pathetic looking snowmen but I’d never made one before so humour me please).


Module 11 Placement: Week 1 (Psychiatry)

“Suicide is not about wanting to die, it’s about not wanting to live.”

Psychiatry is tough. Very sad and very intense- on arrival on my first day at the hospital with Mental Health Liaison, I didn’t even get a chance to take my coat off before we were told that we had to go do a suicide risk assessment on a patient that had been referred to the team. Yikes.

We’ve only practised on actors, so to be told to do a proper assessment on an actual patient was quite the challenge. I’m  not going to say it went okay, because confirming for yourself that yes, someone does want to kill themselves is never okay, but we were direct with our questions, and documented our findings in the notes, so we did it to best of our ability.

The remainder of our first week was pretty much more of the same- get there in the morning, given new patient to go see (usually referred to psych with low mood), assess their mental state, and present findings to the team. By lunch time we would be quite drained, so we were allowed to call it a day by about 2 in the afternoon, so that was good.

This week I saw a patient with schizophrenia for the first time, and what an experience it was. As we were talking to her, she seemed quite distracted and kept looking to the side, and it was only midway through the consultation that it dawned on me that it was the voices she was hearing that were distracting her. So it was really interesting to see how auditory hallucinations actually present in real life.

On a positive note, I’m walking without crutches now! Physiotherapy is tough but it’s going well, and it’s so great to be on two feet again, especially when my lasting memory placement at this hospital last term is the exhaustion from hobbling around the paediatric department… ahh, what a journey it’s been. Thanking God for progress, determined to be able to walk without a limp with time!
(If you, or anyone you know, needs help, has been feeling very low, or just wants someone to talk to, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (UK). Please don’t suffer in silence; there are options, you are not alone.)


Challenge of the Month: Social Media Ban

The rules: 

  1. No Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter for a week.
  2. If you accidentally go on any of them, you must add a day to the week.
  3. You’re allowed to go on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, but only to reply to messages; you must not initiate conversations on them.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am very attached to my phone. It has my schedules, alarms and to do lists, so I would be pretty lost without it. I am also quite active on social media – I am constantly refreshing newsfeeds and reading articles on my phone, so I knew this was a challenge that would be quite tough for me.

So how did it go? Well I got through the week but boy was it hard!

It made me realise just how much I rely on Twitter for news and updates on what’s going on in the world, because I felt so out of it during the week. I had major FOMO from not being able to go on Snapchat, and because Facebook is a big part of uni life, as most societies and clubs post news and information on their pages, I missed some important netball notifications because I didn’t see them.

Not being able to go on my phone as much made me get back into reading though, and I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck in that week, so it was productive. Less time on my phone also meant that I talked more while sat in groups, instead of splitting my attention between the conversation and my screen.

Not being able to see social media updates from my friends meant that I had to make an effort to call and text them to find out how they were/what was going on with them, as my ban made me realise that it’s all too easy to feel like we’re interacting enough with people by liking posts or watching stories, but it’s really not the same as a direct message or actually speaking to them.

So how do I move on from this? Well I’m back on social media, but I’m trying to spend less time on it, and I’ve made some new rules for myself:

  1. No social media before midday.
  2. No more than 10 minutes spent checking things when I do go on Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram.
  3. Put phone away when sitting with people i.e. when in the kitchen with housemates.
  4. No social media after 10pm.

I’m determined to be more in the moment and less attached to my phone, so hopefully I can keep this up throughout 2018! 🙂


New Year, Better Ankle

Guess who’s back on two feet again??

I am officially done with the wedged boot and boy does it feel good to have some independence back! I went to the gym for the first time since I ruptured my achilles (which was exactly 12 weeks and 2 days ago), and even though we only did upper body stuff, it felt good to do exercise again.

So what’s next?

I’m still using one crutch for stability when outdoors, because my fear of tripping on an uneven surface and rerupturing is real, but I’ve been slowly building up the distances I can walk.

I can cook with two hands and wear trousers again! Not going to lie, I may have cried a bit when I put on trousers for the first time in over two months…

I am to start physiotherapy in 3 weeks, but until then, slowly getting there! It does frustrate me when people can’t see how far I’ve come, and assume I’m still using a crutch justforlolz; if they could only Google how long achilles recovery takes, they’d stop with their insensitive questions. Sigh.

But on a more positive note, I’M WALKING. And I will never ever take it for granted again.


Season’s Greetings


I’ve been home for a week and it’s been so lovely to be back; I didn’t realise just how much last term’s stress drained me until I got home, but I’ve caught up on sleep and it has been brill. Abs (my mother) has been very fussy over me and my leg, so it’s been nice to be back under her watchful eye, and I’ve enjoyed having home cooked food again.

Reflecting on last term, I’m grateful to God for strength in getting through everything. From lectures to placement to OSCE, none of it would have been possible without help from people that God has put in my life, so I’m really blessed.

Special mention to Samirah for being my rock, to York Girl for pretty much becoming my personal chauffeur, and to Has for just being an all round great guy. In the wise words of Clarence Odbody, “No man is a failure who has friends,” and this has been my reality over the last few months.

From my family to yours, hope you’re having a great Christmas break filled with lots of food and relaxing and laughs! All the best for the new year 🙂


Module 10 Placement: Weeks 3 & 4

Paeds OSCE is over, hallelujah!

Overall it wasn’t too bad but as always, I made silly mistakes, so it’s in God’s hands now! The OSCE was at the hospital I did my module 2 placement in, so it was good to see my PBL tutor from first year again. No matter what my results turn out to be, I’m just glad that I was allowed to do the OSCE on crutches; they even made adjustments to make things easier for me, so that was much appreciated.

So how were the final two weeks of placement?

The snow/ice definitely made getting around on crutches a bit trickier, but massive thanks to York Girl for being such a babe and driving me in, so nice!

I got to sit in and observe some great clinics – particular highlights were Gastro and Neonatal Outpatients, where one of the doctors said that I had the “makings of a great paediatrician” after I did some accurate developmental assessments; that really made my day!

Paediatric BLS was pretty fun; I got a lot of time to work out the logistics of getting down to the floor from my crutches to do compressions, and our tutor was very patient and understanding. BLS ended up being one of my smoothest stations in the OSCE, so hopefully the examiner thought so too.

I started neonatal week with a Baby Check Clinic, which involved head to toe assessments of new born babies, and it was the cutest morning of my life to date OMG. So. Many. Babies. It really was adorable and I almost couldn’t cope.

During a SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) ward round, I learned so much about the complexities of balancing family dramas with social care intervention, and ofcourse, managing the patients’ conditions. So. Much. Drama. I was just in awe of the patience of the healthcare workers in dealing with it all, because boy oh boy, if I could write up some of the stuff I’ve heard…

Being on SCBU was quite something for me because The Keen One a.k.a. Kenny and I spent the first weeks on our lives in SCBU, as we were born quite early, so seeing little twins there made me think, “I was one of you!”

The neonatal unit was soooo cute though! (Yes, I know I’m massively overusing the word ‘cute’ but IT REALLY WAS). The ward gets quite a lot of knitted things given to them, so the extra toys are put out for anyone to take, as long as they give a donation. So ofcourse I had to get some:

Cute toy

During my neonatal nursing session, I got to feed and carry some of the babies, and it was just everything. They were so small and I got so broody and it was the best. I have no pictures of myself with the babies (professionalism and all that), so here I am with a bae(by):

Me and bae(by)

Placement ended with a mock OSCE that was really helpful, and made me feel less worried about the real thing, so again, praying I’ve done okay!

Overall, Module 10 was great – I enjoyed placement so much, and I was really blown away by everyone’s kindness. I’m positive that I want to do paeds in the future, so I’m glad that after years of wanting to get to 4th year to see if it was for me, it really lived up to my expectations. YAY 🙂


That Time I Saw Hamilton on West End

In this week’s episode of The Perks of Being The Sister of a BNOC*, I got to see Hamilton in its first week at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London!Hamilton

Without a doubt, it is one of the best things I have ever seen. EVER. It was hilarious, it was heartbreaking, the choreography was slick, the harmonies were on point (I had goosebumps numerous times throughout the show), and even though I’ve listened to the original Broadway soundtrack so many times, the West End cast brought something new to the songs, and I enjoyed them even more.

A massive thank you the front of house staff at the theatre for being so nice and accommodating about me being on crutches – I was given help with getting to my seat, as well as assistance during the interval, when I got to use a private access bathroom. So great!

And ofcourse, massive props to The Keen One a.k.a. Kenny for hooking us up with the tickets in the first place. My sister is the best and I am so blessed to have her 🙂 Hamilton2

In other news, it’s my paediatrics OSCE tomorrow, so I will be posting soon about how it went and how much I enjoyed the last two weeks of placement. #prayforTai

(*BNOC = Big Name On Campus)