Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Scut Work

I know I shouldn't moan. I'm really lucky, I'm doing the course I want, I've got as far as final years, I have amazing friends etc etc. Even though I know this I'm going to have a big moan right now...

It's traditional that med students do the "scut work", basically the jobs no-one else wants to do. For me this splits into educational scut and useless scut. Educational scut includes things like taking blood from 5 different patients in a row. It's not particularly interesting, but at least I'm honing my blood taking skills. Stuff like helping nurses with enemas, setting up fluids, collecting stool samples are all also scut in my mind, but useful as I'm learning how basic clinical skills are done.

Today however I got landed with useless scut. Discharge notifications and referral letters. I think a certain amount of discharge notifications and referral letters are useful to write, as it's a big part of being an FY1, however being pimped out to another team when I'd done all jobs and writing 3 discharge notifications and 3 referral letters on top of the ones I'd done for my firm was so frustrating. To make it worse their med student was putting in cannulas and doing bloods, two bits of scut that I want to do lots of to get some practice.

It's tough as at the start of the rotation we're told not to let people take the piss with getting us to do all the paperwork. An hour or so a day is seen as the maximum for us as we really need to either be consolidating our clinical skills or we need to be studying for our finals.

It's just pissed me off that 90% of my morning was wasted.

I've also pissed myself off by wasting 2 hrs this afternoon napping.

Lily xXx


ross71521 said...

I'd rather be doing referral letters than collecting stool samples! Seriously though, getting stuck with all the paper work sucks, hope it's not a regular thing.

Anonymous said...

can you refuse to do it? i know you're final year, but over here at Imperial all the 3rd and 5th years get out of "scut" by claiming they have "teaching at [somewhere far away]". could you have swapped with the student on the firm you were pimped out to?

Lily said...

Today when they tried to dump another pile of discharges on me I said I had an occy health appt and then I needed to go and do some revision and just left.

A New Kind of GP said...

Hi Lily
Please don't think of discharge notifications as useless "scut"!

As a GP I am frequently faced with a patient who has just been discharged from hospital and is unable to describe what had been done, what had been diagnosed, and what has yet to be done.

We GPs rely on this sheet of paper - often bearing the scantiest of information, sometimes missing.

Next time you are faced with this "scut" - reframe your thinking about these notifications and imagine yourself as the GP. Think of what would be really useful for you to learn about your patient's stay in hospital.

How we communicate with each other as doctors is just as important as our communication with the patients we care for. It all needs to be joined up!

Lily said...

I don't think learning how to write a discharge notification is useless, what I think is useless is when, as students, we end up writing 4 or 5 or even more in a day and missing out on learning clinical skills and scientific knowledge.

Being able to write a decent discharge isn't rocket science (although a lot of people don't do it thoroughly). I'm more than happy to have a practice writing 1 or 2 a day, but at the moment I am doing nothing but scribbling in the notes during ward round and then spending the rest of my day sitting at a desk writing discharges. This has pretty much no educational value once you've grasped how to write a proper discharge in the first place.

I'm not getting the clinical skills I need signed up. I'm not getting practice at taking histories and examining patients. I've only done 1 cannula and 3 sets of bloods since I've got here... nothing else.

Basically I feel that certain FY1s would rather be sitting in the mess drinking tea, and by getting the students to do all of the long winded boring stuff they can do this instead of helping us improve our clinical skills.