Sunday, 22 August 2010

Week nine

My university tutor visited this week, bringing with her some uniform tunics one size smaller than the ones I've been wearing. They're a snug fit, but better than being swamped by my current ones. Aside from the uniform issue, she confirmed that I'm doing fine. This is a relief, since it means that, barring any accident, I should be able to finish the placement as planned, without a need for additional days.

I'm becoming much more confident on the placement, and the whole thing is much less stressful now that I'm not completely incompetent. I've had a great deal of ward practice now, which makes me feel much more comfortable about the ward environment. The change came very suddenly - one day I was having terrible trouble dealing with all the different types of information, the next day I was writing dietetic and medical records with hardly any bother. This last eight weeks has been the steepest learning curve I think I will ever experience.

I've been seeing both inpatients and outpatients myself, albeit supervised, and occasionally the supervision has been at a distance. This is Very Good Progress Indeed. I have written letters to referring GPs and other physicians, followed up my case study patient at home after discharge, and seen every patient in a general adult outpatient afternoon clinic, where almost any type of dietetic intervention might crop up. Although eight patients were booked in, three cancelled and one didn't attend, which made it just possible for me to keep up with the record keeping as we went along. I can't imagine how I would have coped if all eight had turned up.

The only things that are obviously missing from this placement are type 2 diabetes and weight management, which is a great shame because these are pretty much the predominant complaints within our society. There are many more types of rarer disease conditions that I haven't met, but I would have liked to see more diabetes, and I need to know more about how weight management is done by the professionals.

The worst symptoms have happened this week, though - I've been waking up in the middle of dreams where I've been calculating patients' nutritional requirements. And today I've spent the whole time writing up my case study, but at least this means I might not have to spend any time on it next weekend.

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