Wednesday, March 04, 2009


My fourth years exams are finished.

The OSCEs were a living hell - can't believe at my age that I get so stressed that I forget basic, basic stuff. I was so angry at myself after it.

There were six stations. The first was was split into six smaller stations and asked about investigations such as what you tests you would do for a patient with suspected TB, what some blood tests results meant and a microbiology sample which then asked what antibiotics should be used.

The second two stations were patient managements ones and were awful. We had 10 mins to go through a patients notes, GP referral letter and then write a management plan. There was loads of info to get through and in the panic I hardly wrote anything down. We were then herded into a fake ward where the patients that we had just been looking at were lying. We had to explain what we thought was wrong and that bit was kind of OK. I made one hell of a mess of both of the management plans and just can't see how I have passed it. I just hardly wrote anything and screwed up pretty badly.

The next two stations were with real patients. This was OK - I had to take a history from two patients (With Schizophrenia and SVT) and then examine them, reach a diagnosis and discuss possible management with the consultants. The last station was a practical skills one and I had to take some blood off a plastic arm.

The rumour is that we can fail one of the six and still pass, but I am sure I have failed both management stations and probably (I am ashamed to say) the blood station. I have been taking blood as a nurse for ten years and managed to forget to take a sharps bin to the patients side. The patient reminded me when I had put the needle in and so this is unsafe practice. Not looking good.

You might think I am being silly but I did make a big mess of things. What is really bugging me is that the stuff that I got wrong is such basic stuff. It is stuff that I could have easily done as a nurse, without ever having done a day of medicine. Part of me is saying that this is what medicine will be like in the real world, but part of me thinks that it will easier when I have another year of clinical experience under my belt and am seeing these things as a doctor, day in and day out.

We then had a written paper which was also fair and I don't think I did too badly with it.

Results are out in a few weeks and I have to pass both the OSCE and written paper to pass. The resit is in June.
I started my new block today - seven weeks of obs and gynae. Can't wait!


Anonymous said...

I am certainly not looking forward to OSCE exams. From what I hear if you cover your bases, things tend to work out in the end. It's done and now there is nothing you can do but learn from it. Despite that I still wish you the best. OB/GYN should bring back your smile though.

madsadgirl said...

I have 'fingers crossed' for you.

Lawminx said...

... Sometimes the more you analyse what you THINK you've done wrong, the worse it seems to get, until it is magnified out of all proportion. Your assessors must surely allow for a certain ammount of nerves, and you are probably doing yourself a great disservice in your analysis of your performance - its never as bad as you believe it to be!

I do sympathise, though, having been there and done that through the Legal Equivalent ( seriously BLOODY awful) so I wish you the very best of luck, and hope all goes well for you!! :)

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ennie said...

I read this entire blog last night right now it's the only thing I can find to proove to me this mental ambition I have isn't entirely nuts. I'm in my first year of a nursing degree, how and why my mind decided NOW was a good idea to tell me I'd really rather be a doctor I don't know. By the time I graduate from a Graduate entry degree I'll be 28 and it feels too old to start life esp in over £50000 of debt. I'm not even sure whether you still have access to these comments/keep track but if you do I'd love to hear how things are going. Do you ever regret the time/money/stress you spent on the med degree?

About Me

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I knew I wanted to study medicine from 5 minutes into my nurse training in 1992. This didn't go down too well with my peers but it has taken me eleven years to get my life in a place where I could apply to medical school, so I have paid my nursing dues! I was lucky enough to get two offers. I have been married for seven years to an ex footballer who is now a PE teacher. We have no plans for babies but I would love more King Charles Spaniels. I start medicine on September 20th 2006 and am absolutely petrified.