Hello, Clinicals 1! I trust you are enjoying your current block lectures.
Congratulations on your crossover! It certainly is a big deal making it to the big boys’ club after two arduous years in Preclinicals. However, while you still relish the moments and the thrill of your much-anticipated liberation and the momentary respite that comes with it, here is a not-so-subtle reminder that the road ahead is not rosy. In fact, it’s far from it.
Except for the corporate wear and the respect you get from all and sundry for looking good in your ward coats or scrubs within the hospital premises or the nice pictures you will take in them, there probably isn’t much to be excited about in clinicals. So, wipe the smug looks off your faces and settle down as I take you through
fifty six shades of shege that come with the terrain. I will be throwing in a couple of much-needed reality checks and might even be shoving them down your throats on occasion.
So, brace yourselves.
The spending never stops:
In an astoundingly short time, expenses could pile up to the skies that they obscure the gleams of positivity that help you get by. Before you know it, they leave you depressed and anxious. And your mind is all over the place. E no go touch ground.
You would probably try to cover up by pouring in a good amount of your time into hustling, only to realize that you have begun to lag academically as soon as you seem to be picking yourself up from the clutches of Sapa. And the cycle continues.
Of course, all these won’t matter if you are a rich kid, a child of a rich kid, or the okùn èmí of a rich kid. But, if you’re someone like me… Bruh, that #100K you are guiding with your very lifeforce go soon commot for una eye for this clinicals wey we dey.
And in case you’re wondering what you’re spending money on, it’s books, transportation, manuals, field trips, medical instruments, more manuals, more books, and FOOD! If you have other engagements that are milking you of cash, well… Bigger problem.😂
Schedule and Workload Choke!
Part 4 is the most time-intensive and stressful class in college.
At this point, you should know that the major courses you would be treating are Pathology and Pharmacology. The former is divided into four. They are Morbid Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Hematology and Immunology, and Chemical Pathology.
Keep all those Behavioral Sciences, Biostatistics, and Community Health on one side first. Those ones no be work. Na preamble.
If we’re being honest, all these subjects are courses people go to study for years in the university. So, you realize doing any of them is troublesome on its own. And you can figure out how grave the situation can be when you have to deal with five of these courses within the space of just over a year. While running clinical postings simultaneously. And doing exams for these postings too!
If you are unlucky with timing and all, you might have about three different incourses/exams to prepare for in the space of two weeks. Like my roommate at some point. My guy wan ment.😂
Scenes where you are preparing for Chemical Pathology EOP, Pharmacology incourse, and Microbiology incourse at once.😅😂
The class takes up most/all of your time and your energy too. 7 am to 5 pm every day. Extra hours during the weekends if you are in Medicine or Surgery postings. It drains you of all your energy. The little you try to muster from justifiable atychiphobia is for your books – and your books only. Leaving you with little or nothing to work with for other things.
A few find their way around the whole arrangement though – by stabbing classes and postings – but these actions can have deleterious consequences. I would advise against this.🙃 Attendance is important in clinicals.
Everybody go collect, eventually:
You will collect!
You cannot cover everything!😂
If you did not “open your books” all through the break, you are in for quite a bumpy ride. If you read during the break, good for you. You have a decent headstart. Nonetheless, you are not out of the woods yet. In a class where all you read in one month can be done in less than 2 hours, well… Everyone collects. Eventually.
You will be dazed. Dr. A dey for you for P1&2. Some other consultants at other postings too. First, perhaps to the point of tears and serious introspection. But it eventually gets to the point that you just accept your ignorance and you will be unfazed when they try to “enter” you.
You cannot kuku know everything.😂
Sha make sure you are collecting in the class only and not your exams or EOP.
Ẹni tó bá pass ló m’ọ̀wẹ́ oh.
Dr. T in Paediatric Surgery is an exception though. You don’t develop resistance to stuff like his yabs. Think I’m kidding? There is only one way to find out.
In addition, lecturers will blitz their way through major topics in the course outline any chance they get because they want to finish quickly. So, essentially, you are being stuffed with what you cannot handle at a time. More like being force-fed. At some point, you find out you are just trying to catch up. And sometimes, more often for some, you might not even “learn” while you are at it. Just cramming, solving PQs, and pouring everything down in hopes that you will score something decent and that they serve into your hands.
Except you are some freak of nature or something. We have some in my class. Weird folks, them.
“Whose Patient is This?/Who clerked this patient?”
These four words are up there with “Your result is out” on the list of most stressful and traumatizing four-word sentences to the average clinical medical student. Doesn’t matter who mentions it to you – the nicest consultant or the most troublesome one? Chills will run down your spine – at least, momentarily. And if you are quick to fold under pressure, you will melt into jello.
O ò ní fọ́ kẹ̀?😂
Remember when I said the corporate wear and the respect you get from all and sundry for looking good in your ward coats or scrubs within the hospital premises are probably the only positive things to look out for and relish in Clinicals?
Well… What I didn’t mention is that there is a very peculiar type of shege that comes with your wardcoats and scrubs. On the wards or in the theatre.
First is standing for hours on end, everyday whenever you show up for posting by 10 am and leave by 2 pm. Except for a few moments of respite in-between or if you play the ‘illness’ card – maximum, once per week.
Second, is clerking patients. Now, consultants differ in how big they are on clerking but majority of them are. And if you don’t clerk, wàhálà. When they echo “who clerked this patient?” in the ward and it appears none of you and your group members did, well… God save your souls.🙃😂
Clerking and examination on its own is a different ball game entirely. It’s time-consuming. In the worst cases, patients can be uncooperative, give false info, or even present with a constellation of symptoms that do not perfectly fit into the textbook stuff you read.
And that’s even if you read. If you don’t read, you cannot know the questions to ask your patients.😂
Nonetheless, it’s enjoyable if you get the hang of it.
However, even if they do not seem to be strict on you to clerk, you should still know that you have to clerk. If not for knowledge sake, at least for your manuals. It’s one of those places you can get really good marks in clinicals without wringing out all the stuff in your head for some examiner – the manuals, I mean.
You also have to present cases to get better. To consultants and registrars or house officers. It is in settings like this that you get cooked. They put your stoof on display for you and your colleague to see and reconsider your lifestyle choices. But at least, they make you better.
Being a guy is a non-modifiable risk factor:
Well, unless you want to do a sex change operation before the resumption of work proper or something, being a guy in clinicals is a non-modifiable risk factor for a couple of things.
Life don dey lead you 1-0 already.
If you no get money? 2-0.
No stuff? 3-0.
If you no con fine? Ha. 4-0.
No god of comeback is pulling you out of any mess if you lose guard in clinicals. Both within the walls of the classroom/hospital and outside. Even down to flapping to classes/postings. I won’t say more than that. Experience is the best teacher after all.😂
Just know that you will be putting in more effort relatively, because…
Flapping is a Pain:
Please. Before you start this clinicals, if you can get a car on your own or you can coax your parents into giving you one, abeg run am. E get why oh. Especially if you want to stay in Gloryland.
That is how I almost missed my Community Health EOP yesterday because I flapped for about an hour before someone carried me disgruntledly.😅
And to be honest, that is not even my worst experience. Samantha does not call me FK for nothing.😂
One striking experience I’ve had though, is of the day some of us were flapping together, and a man legit parked, carried a lady beside us and while we (guys) approached him, told us to stay back. We thought he probably didn’t want to carry more than one or two people. Until we saw his car park beside three other ladies a couple of yards down the road to carry them too.😂
That was the height of it.
On some days though, you hit the jackpot. You get a lift in no time; your classmate comes through; or better still, they cancel the class.🙃
On some other days, you stand in the scorching sun and beg long enough to begin to loathe yourself and think about your life. Feel your self-pride getting chipped at with every passing car and the stares of their drivers as they zoom past you. That has happened to me more times than I can count.
Of course, I don’t hold it against them. When you own something, you use it however you deem fit. Besides, what choice do I have?
Bottom-line? Flapping is a pain. On some days, it’s surprisingly easy. Some days, it’s annoying and depressing. More often the latter if you are a guy. The only source of solace is that you are not in it alone.
However, note that…
Despite the shades of shege that I may have conjured up there, passing in Clinicals can be easy too. With the right support system, an unwavering spirit, consistency, and diligence, you will scale through. Most importantly, when you are called to show up somewhere, be there. No matter what. And when you are there, BE THERE.
To check out other Med School Lifestyle pieces, click here.