Today was my first day at "the office", I mean at the hospital. Have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about my debut duty at the Medicine ward. I had really king-sized doubts about my abilities as a budding doctor in the wards. And that still hasn't evaporated completely, I have to admit.
I was asked to arrive at the ward at 8am. Having been a med student for the past one year had taught me enough about the sense of timing or rather the absence of it in a government medical college. However, that stupid curious mind of mine coaxed me into arriving at 8am sharp. As expected I found that I was the only one from 3rd semester to have been foolish enough to have ruined a good night's sleep.
Fortunately though, the department had been kind enough to have already divided our batch under specific units, or mini-departments. It took me almost another hour (a very frustrating and tiresome one, though) to figure out which senior was to be my guru for the next three weeks, which I have to say I hope would turn out to be the most productive days of my student life.
The senior, who happened to be a house staff was almost a look alike of one of my classmates! Fortunately he turned out to be an awesome guy, always ready to help us, and always engaging us in ward duties most of which was really cool (although filling up forms and tags turned out to be really boring)!
Half an hour into my ward duties, a realisation struck me. I was dealing with "real" patients now, and I couldn't afford to mess anything up! That was a scary feeling, have to say. Hopefully, the seniors would be there to save our asses when we screwed it up, that is what I kept telling myself. In almost no time, I found myself holding a syringe in front of a patient, ready to fill the entire vacuum of it with her blood! (Oh, even the syringe and the needle was bought by the patient party, so me messing up meant wasting the already depleting financial resources of the patient, for most people who come to the hospital aren't exactly the relatives of Bill Gates.) I felt like the gladiators, baying for the enemy's blood!
It'll be quite difficult for me to say who looked more nervous, the patient or me! Both of us were sweating, and I knew almost for sure, that the patient had realised that her life was in the hands of an amateur, which hardly helped ease her anxiety! The needle pierced her skin, and apart from a slightly artificial and well-rehearsed cry of anguish, no bloody incident occurred. When I had finally collected the blood, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, gave a reassuring look to her (something which I had rehearsed, by watching some really classy doc movies!) and fled!
The rest of the day turned out to be quite uneventful, and I followed the doctors who were doing their daily rounds.
It might seem to be a small step to others, but my first day at the wards surely turned out to be a titanic leap for me, both as a medical student and as a budding doctor.