Week 3 and I’m almost halfway through my placement!

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So I’m already almost halfway through my placement and the past three weeks have flown by! Not too much has really changed since last week. We still don’t have our ID cards, but as everyone here says “It’s the NHS…”, which is just their way of saying don’t expect things to happen quickly as everyone is always so busy. We found out that the delay is due to the F1 doctors starting at the hosptial, so at least we know that once they’re storted hopefully we’ll be next. On Friday we had our pictures taken for our cards, so that’s a start at least! Since we can’t order anymore folders as we’ve already taken up a lot of space with the ones that we already have, we’ve instead started to fill in the spreadsheet with patient data that’s only on the computer. This means that whilst there’s lots of gaps, it’ll make our job easier later on when we have the patient folders. Early on this week, we finally finished the long task of determining out of all the patients over the past 3 years, which had had strokes of unknown time of onset, and which hadn’t. After completing that list we rearranged all of our spreadsheets to include the new SUTO patients and we reorganised and reheaded some of the columns so that it all just made a bit more sense.

One thing that I started doing last week was making myself a list of keywords, because I’ve constantly found myself googling the definitions of things, whether it’s to find out if a drug is an antihypertensive,  e.g. Amlodipine, or what exactly a stroke of cardioembolic origin is. I’ve found my keyword list to be really helpful and it’s given me physical evidence of just how much I’ve learnt! Here are just a few examples,

    •  Atrial Fibrulation (AF), where the atria, the two chambers at the top of the heart spasm and beat out of rhythm from the rest of the heart. This prevents the blood from circulating properly through the heart and can lead to blood clots. This is a major risk factor for stroke.
    • Cardioembolic Stroke,where a blood clot forms in the heart and travels to the brain, leading to a stroke. Can be caused by AF.
    • Aponea-Hyponea Index (AHI), used to measure the severity of sleep aponea (pauses in breathing whilst sleeping, may be possible stroke risk factor and is the basis of the OSA study). It is measured in the number of events lasting longer than 10 seconds per hour of sleep. Anything over 30 is considered to be severe.

Last week we also did some more work on the OSA study. As it’s a brand new project, we’re still trying to iron out some of the kinks in the spreadsheet, so me, Emily and Dr Webb have been filling in the data for the same patients separately and then comparing our work. It’s been really useful as I’ve been able to see where I’ve gone wrong, so I can correct it before the project starts properly.

I definitely feel like I know what I’m doing now, which is a really nice feeling. I’ll see you again next week with another update from the William Harvey!

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