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).