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What To Do When A Patient Takes Off Their Nose In Front Of You

DON’T LOOK AWAY. 

No matter how much of a shock it is, you must not flinch or avoid eye contact; the patient will have experienced a lot of this, so they will be watching closely to see how you react.

And this was the position I found myself in during our first primary care placement of Year 3. This week’s topic was Nasal Disorders and Neck Lumps, so we saw patients who had had nasal excisions or nasal polyps, and this was what led to the consultation with a patient who’d had a full excision.

I can honestly say that it was the most surreal thing I’ve ever been through/seen. When the nose came off, we could clearly see the nasal bone and the mucous in the cavity, and it was just like… whoa. I’m not even a squeamish person but it took all of my self control and professionalism to keep a straight face. 

The patient was so so lovely; they had been through a lot, as getting used to the nose took them a while, but their attitude towards it all was really inspiring. What a start to third year, right? It really made me reflect on how far we’ve come from first year, and how much we’ve learnt about talking to patients, and putting them at ease.

This week also involved a nasal fracture and epistaxis management lecture, in which the lecturer turned up late because he fell over on his way to us, and broke his nose. The irony of it still makes me laugh as I type this. I then bumped into that same lecturer and his family later at the theatre that evening, and it turns out he’s a Pride and Prejudice fan too! He’s now my favourite ENT lecturer. 

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Down With Negativity

Today was my Med exam and it sure was tough. Like, so tough that tears were shed, calls were made to our course director asking what will happen if we don’t get the 75% needed to move on to year 1, and a formal complaint is being drafted to send to the medical school. We found it hard because things we were told we didn’t need to know came up, and it was nothing like the mock exam, which had questions purely based on stuff we’d covered in lectures. It just sucked.

So as you can imagine, most of us are feeling quite low at the moment, and people are preparing themselves for the worst. I’m trying not to be negative or upset because that really accomplishes nothing. What’s the point in wallowing, feeling sorry for yourself, and wasting your energy worrying about something that’s already happened? I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’m trusting in God because I know He has a plan for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 is my favourite Bible verse, and it is very appropriate right now. Jesus, take the wheel.

Here are my top tips for what to do when an exam doesn’t go smoothly;

– Try not to discuss answers afterwards with people, that’ll just lead to panic.
– Take down and put away any revision notes you might have around, you don’t need reminders of the exam.
– Try not to go through your notes as you put them away as again, that could cause panicking.
– Avoid talking to pessimistic, negative people. They will make you feel worse.
– Surround yourself with optimistic peeps instead. (Shout out to Starbucks Gal for being great, as always. I’m blessed to have her as a friend)
– Be positive and compose a ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful List.’ That should make you realise how a bad exam isn’t the end of the world.
– Take a break from revision for a bit. You’ll need a fresh mind before continuing with work, so why not watch a film or something?
– Finally, CHEER UP. You’ve probably not done as bad as you think.

Exams end next week so I will be going HAM with revision from tomorrow. I am now off to watch Pride & Prejudice (2005) to take my mind off things. Ahh, Mr Darcy…