I have been putting off writing this check in because I simply did not know what to write. The first three months of internship did not prepare me adequately for the next three months. Currently, I am 8 months into internship (yes that’s how late I am) and on General Surgery. I only have 4 more months left until I have completed internship and become registered as a fully practicing physician.
The second rotation I did was Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G). I didn’t go into the rotation with any expectations but I did go in with a few objectives. Throughout the course of this experience, I had to remind myself of these objectives and work towards them.
During my time in medical school, I felt as though O&G was the one I was least experienced in, and as such least confident it. It is also a very hands on speciality that can affect two persons- a mother and her baby. That is honestly some added pressure.
Knowing this, I was clear to myself that I would leave the three months more competent than I had entered. It happened to work out that most of my time was spent on Obstetrics (where I wanted the most experience in) and because of some renovations our gynaecology service offered at our hospital had shrunk by at least 2/3s the normal size. While I didn’t get all the experience in gynaecology that I wanted- I got the basics that I needed.
I think in order to really review my time in O&G it’s important to speak about what exactly is done and expected. I did this rotation during ‘peak season’- this is when the most deliveries happen. During this period they’re more patients than there is time. Everything is moving super fast, and if you don’t work as a well oiled machine it can be disastrous. I’ll spend most of the time talking about the obstetrics aspect.
Obstetrics was divided into three parts, the antenatal ward (pregnant patients with various problems), the labour ward (the emergency department of obstetrics, where women deliver and where critical patients stay) and the postnatal ward (where every woman went after delivery).
Each ward brought with it its own challenges and as such its own lessons. Labour ward was my favourite ward because it was fast paced and had a lot of hands on experience. I scrubbed into Caesarean sections, sutured lacerations and even delivered babies. It was overwhelming at times, and I didn’t fully appreciate the experience until after I left.
These three months differed so much from medicine (read more here), so much so that I missed and appreciated medicine more. They’re several reasons why my time on medicine became nostalgic, however, to say I haven’t learnt lessons related to the rotation and about myself would be untrue.
The best lesson I learnt from O&G was resilience. Yes- I have more, it’s just that, resilience is the one I want to focus on. A lot of firsts happened on O&G… difficult duties, working full weekends, having increased responsibility and learning time management. The challenges were plenty but I made it to the other side.
Now that I know my strength, I know what I can do and I am unafraid of challenges, emergencies and hardships. It took so long to write about because those three months needed to be digested and mulled over.
And finally, I can put pen to paper.
I couldn’t end this without at least sharing a few other lessons I learnt:
- Ask for help
- Your peers can be the best teacher
- Teamwork is important- but a (good) team leader is essential
- Delivering a baby for the first time
- Rupturing amniotic fluid for the first time
- Closing skin in the operating theatre
- Perfecting my vaginal examination
and…. I met all my objectives!
Samantha C. Johnson