Module 3 Placement: Dermatology

I’ve been putting off this post because I found dermatology really slow, so writing this post brings back the tedium I felt during my time in derm. One thing I know for sure is that I am not going to be a dermatologist.

Don’t get me wrong, the consultants we shadowed were really great, so lovely, and the teaching was much better than what I had during my respiratory placement, but it just doesn’t interest me. People have said this might be because I’m too “squeamish” when it comes to skin conditions, but I’ve become quite used to them now and still find it slow, so it mustn’t be just that.

Dermatology involves a lot of pattern recognition in rashes and various skin lesions, as well as new descriptive words like, “papules and macules,” excoriations and fissures,” “vesicules and bullae,” and so much more. It took me a while to wrap my head around it all, but it’s slowly starting to make more sense. Blisters in dermatology are not blisters as we know them… mind = blown. (Well not really blown because derm is still pretty dead tbh, but that little tidbit was something I found interesting).

A highlight of the two weeks was our emollient session, where we rated different creams on smell, texture and taste. Yes, taste. The reason for this was apparently patients come in complaining that their partners don’t like the taste of their creams… yeah. So the nurse leading our session thought it might be good for us to understand issues patients have, by tasting them ourselves. How did it go? Well it took me a while to get rid of the taste of urea in my mouth, so I can confidently say it’s something I won’t be trying again.

On the up side we got free samples, so it was well worth it:

Emollients

Our time in derm involved clinics, watching minor operations (So. Many. Biopsies), and phototherapy, which was pretty cool. Another highlight was an introduction to suturing, where we practised the basics on a fake arm and some chicken. I wasn’t much of a natural, so surgery might not be for me either…

Suturing Chicken

The best thing to come out of my time in dermatology was learning that GPs with ‘special interest’ come in once or twice or week to run clinics or do surgery. You see, I’ve always been under the impression that GPs don’t leave their surgeries at all, so this has completely changed the game for me; I could be a GP with special interest in something else! This is now something I’m considering as well as Paeds; the possibilities are endless…

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