Week 2: Getting into the Routine

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I have now finished my second week of working at the William Harvey hospital. Although I found myself moaning about working full-time (although I guess who doesn’t?!), the week actually went really quickly. I’ve now settled into the office routine and am finding my time spent here both enjoyable and interesting – things I definitely want out of a job.

I’ve been continuing work on the SUTO project, checking patients’ scans and entering their relevant information into spreadsheets. I’ve included an example below of how the results from such CT perfusion scans can look. Although some of this work is quite repetitive, being exposed to such information so often is definitely helping me to immerse myself in stroke medicine and begin recognising patient treatment patterns. It has also showed me the reality of some people’s functioning following a stroke (something I hadn’t fully realised) and how even though the risk of haemorrhage following thrombolysis is small, it does still happen to people. I  know that there’s still a lot more that I can  learn from this placement however, with some neurology reports mentioning areas of the brain completely unknown to me!  To help with this I’ve been writing down key words or terms that I don’t fully understand each day and am gradually looking them up to gain a firmer understanding of their use.

I’ve also found that I’m now a lot more confident with finding specific patient information, having a clearer idea of what the different patient databases and files show. For example, when analysing whether someone has a stroke risk factor of high cholesterol you could check both their case file for evidence of hyperlipidemia management, as well as their general admission tests to compare their total cholesterol levels with reference norms. I have also now learnt how to calculate patients’ Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) levels using patient notes made by departments such as occupational therapy. These indicate a person’s assessed level of disability and how able they are to carry out their usual activities. Having never heard of this scale before starting here, for me it’s a good indication that I’m making progress in the right direction.

At the end of the week we were also briefly introduced to another of our projects – ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in the Rapid Neurovascular Clinic’. We began by looking at the client letters of patients that had entered the clinic to identify both the symptoms of  their TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack), how long the event had lasted and what risk factors they had.  This is the first stage of this project and luckily it shares some similarities with the one we’re already working on, making things a bit easier. It can sometimes be harder than I expected to draw this information out though. For example, when identifying whether someone has a stroke risk factor of hypertension, each of their medical prescriptions may first require checking to see whether they are taking medication to manage such. We’re due to compare our inital findings for consistency next week.

Overall I feel like I’m being really productive each day, which is a nice change from spending days at a time on the same essay paragraphs at university. Although it seems like there’s still a long way to go before finishing, when looking at the amount of work that still needs doing it definitely feels needed! I’m really happy that I decided to apply for this placement and am looking forward to the upcoming week.

MRI & CT Scan

Image retrieved from: http://www.taafonline.org/ba_detection.html

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