Week 2 – Getting into the swing of it

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When I left you last it was the start of my second week and since then I’ve learnt a lot! So last week we really started getting into the proper work. Monday was spent doing the tedious task of looking through all the people that have had a stroke in the last 3 years (almost 4,000 people)  in the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) and determining if it was an unknown time of onset. We’ve been doing a little bit of this everyday since and hopefully it’ll be finished by the end of this week! Even though it’s been taking us a long time to get through, it is really interesting as we get to look at CT scan images. It is amazing how well machines can see inside the human body and how detailed the images are. Also on Monday, Emily started requesting patient files and we weren’t quite prepared when on Tuesday these files started to pour into the office. Since we still don’t have our ID cards, we can’t actually return these files after we’ve entered them into the database so they’ve just been building up in the office. We’ll have quite a stack to take back when we eventually can!

A lot of last week was spent looking through these files. There’s so much information in each one (they can range from 2cm think to about 10cm thick, and some patients have more than one!) that it’s quite tricky and time consuming to extract the exact details we need to fill in the database. Over the course of the week I learnt where to look for things in each file which made going through each one a bit faster, as at the start each entry was taking a few hours to complete. By the end of the week I managed to fill in 18 entries. The number would have been more, but by Thursday we were starting to run out of files again, and we couldn’t get anymore as we’d already filled up a whole shelf with ones waiting to be returned!

Since there are two of us in the same department, I’m lucky that I’m actually going to be able to work on two projects, my own and Emily’s, Transient Ischaemic Attack and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (TIA and OSA). So far we’ve only really been working on my project so it was really good on Friday when we were given a taste of what the other project  will be like. We were given a spreadsheet and some clinic letters and asked to enter as much data from the leters (e.g. symptoms, treatment, patient risk factors) into the spreadsheet. The problem was that whilst some of the letters were really detailed and had everything, others weren’t quite as helpful. It was a bit scary how many gaps there were in the spreadsheet, but hopefully we’ll be able to fill them in later on in the project.

This week hopefully our ID cards will be sorted and we’ll be able to pick up and return files, and I’m looking forward to doing a bit more work on the TIA and OSA study. See you next week!

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