30 tips to help you survive CP1 (as told by 4th years) 1. Make sure you own a stethoscope and consider having your name engraved on it. Junior doctors will often wander off with them after borrowing them for “a few” patients. 2. Be aware that you don’t know everyone. So you’ll almost definitely mistake someone from your year as a GEM. Awkward. 3. Don’t expect lectures to get any better. It’ll still be too warm, dark and comfy to stay awake in Friday afternoon teaching. 4. Kumar and Clark will still be a functional doorstop/draught excluder. Instead, buy the lighter and more useful Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (the “Cheese and Onion”). 5. Take opportunities! It may seem a little scary at first but you’ll gain a lot. Ask questions and volunteer yourself to do things. You’ll learn much more by getting involved and most doctors are more than happy to talk to you if you seem interested! 6. Buy a cheap black biro and when it gets lost or “stolen”, buy a whole bunch more. There is always a shortage of pens on a ward and everyone from doctors to nurses to the pharmacist need more. What better way to make friends than to be their dealer? 7. Never, ever write on a patient’s notes in blue ink. Just don’t. 8. Get (and actually use) an iron. Those that don’t iron their shirts will be silently judged by those around them. As will those wearing bow ties. 9. Turn up, and turn up on time. Just because it’s optional doesn’t mean it’s useless. (At the same time, just because it’s mandatory doesn’t mean it’s useful.) 10. The answer to pretty much every question is either “I would do a full history and examination” or “ABCDE” (Airway/Breathing/Circulation/Disability/Exposure and… Everything Else”. On a similar note, gallstones tend to come up quite a lot for no apparent reason, so if you’re stuck for an answer, suggest them. 11. You can’t learn everything from a textbook. Most people find that they learn the most important skills by going onto the wards and speaking to patients and doctors. Clerk patients, take bloods, distract patients, and make yourself useful. History taking is a particularly important focus of CP1 so think carefully about your questions and get as much practise as possible! Lots of interesting stuff happens out of hours too, so be keen and seen and you’ll get a lot out of it. 12. Once you have taken a history, try and present it! You will have to do this in the practical exam at the end of the attachment, so find someone to listen to you and ask for feedback. 13. Remember CFU? Yeah, it’s time to start checking what your patient has been up to in the year since you last spoke to them. 14. Invest in a loud alarm clock and some strong coffee. 15. To get the disappointment out of the way… Grey’s Anatomy lied. There are no (or at least very few) attractive consultants or registrars. Or F1s, for that matter. This shouldn’t stop you befriending them though. They can be very helpful with signatures. 16. Choose your Bible. The Heron’s and Red’s guides were written by past students and provide a decent guide to what information you need to know to pass the knowledge exams. Heron’s has a jazzier font but Red’s is less waffly. Both are available from the Lenton Print Shop. Even better… Heron’s is available on the NLE! (Go to NLE>CP1>2007/08>Student Area). They are slightly out of date and don’t include enough diagrams and are partly copied
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from leading textbooks… BUT… they act as total lifesavers in the lead up to the exam. Also, get Marmite and Sardines. It might be aimed at CP3 students… but it’s still darned useful. Perfect your “I can’t help it, I’m just a little third year” face and you can get away with most things. Consultants will be mean and make you feel like you’re 2 inches tall. It’s nothing personal. Invest in a tendon hammer. Essential for neurological assessment practise and handy to lend to that medic child you’ve been taking such good care of (hint hint) for their OSCE practise. People will constantly ask you to work out a differential diagnosis using the “surgical sieve”. This is really confusing until you learn what the sieve actually is. Essentially, it gives you a structured approach to finding a diagnosis/answering questions/taking a history by sorting the causes of a presenting complain into various categories: Congenital, Infection, Inflammatory, Degenerative, Trauma and Mechanical, Neoplastic, Metabolic/Endocrine, Neurological, Iatrogenic and Idiopathic. Know your limits. Make sure that you talk to someone if you find yourself in a situation you aren’t comfortable with or find upsetting. Similarly, getting to watch surgery may be really interesting, but if you feel funny at any point, say so and take 5 minutes out. Surgeons would much rather you do that than deal with a medical student who’s passed out on the floor. It’s quite common and nothing to be ashamed of. Although eating a big breakfast beforehand can help, especially on a Thursday morning after Crisis. Stay on top of your learning. CP1 is a huge learning curve with many new things being thrown at you throughout. There’s also no 4 week holiday to cram everything. Use the objectives at the back of the log book to help guide you through. Read up ahead of your seminars/teaching. If you don’t know the basics, you won’t learn anything. And the doctors will think you’re thick and won’t even bother trying to teach you. At the same time, don’t be put off by the uber-keen GEMs. We can catch up! (Maybe). Invest in a fob watch/time keeping device that’s not worn on your wrist. It’ll make it much easier to take respiratory and heart rates every time you do a clinical examination. Prepare an answer to “What speciality do you want to go into?” as saying “I don’t know” will become tedious. Consider telling the consultant that actually, you’re quite interested in <insert their speciality here> as it might just make them like you more. Get yourself a phone with internet access. Teaching can change last minute and they have a habit of only telling you via email. Placed in Lincoln or Boston? Take your own duvet. They do provide them, but they aren’t great. Placed at Derby? Costa does 25% off for staff on a Friday. Come exams, this will make you very happy. Also, choose your car share for Derby carefully. You’ll be commuting with them for 16 weeks. One more thing… make friends with the F1s so they give you some of their weekly Domino’s. Plan something fun for your summer. 2014 is going to be a long one. Most importantly… ENJOY IT! This is what you have been waiting for since starting medical school, so go out there, get stuck in and have a fantastic time.
Compiled by MedSoc Welfare