Day 44 - Gas Laws (07/11/2017)

Relatively short, albeit heavy day. I slept much better last night and felt actively very rested when I woke up. Not that this counted very much, as I felt myself starting to nod by about half past eleven. Does sleep even work as a means for not feeling tired? I’ve completely forgotten at this point. I’m also starting to become acutely aware of how long the ‘boost’ from various types of stimulant last for, be it dark chocolate, fruit juice or one of my forbidden saving grace caffeine tablets. The latter case is an amazing few hours, if you’re interested.

The morning was spent looking at the laws determining the behaviour of gases and the associated equations and derivations. This was a metric ton of information and took me right back to A level physics (pV=nRT and the like). I have absolutely no idea how this sort of thing could be examined, but I’m sure we’ll find out in due course.

Then we had an introduction to the various types of Doctor-Patient relationship, and the importance therein. Essentially we’ve moved on from the traditionally paternalistic (I prescribe, you take) model to a shared model, where both parties are seen as valuable contributors, and sometimes patients may even seek to be the primary driving force (informed model). While the informed model seems to be the most ideal in terms of patient autonomy, I just can’t see it ever working in practice, at least from my enormously inexperienced position as a first year student. It places the onus on the patient to control their healthcare when sufficiently informed by their doctor of all the relevant treatment options. However, I think for that to work it would assume the patient has a much stronger grasp of core medical knowledge than most people likely do and would take far longer than the NHS could possible allocate to a single patient. Perhaps in a consumer-led approach to healthcare as in the US, but not in a socialised system.

Went to a Teddy Bear Hospital information session - sounds like fun!

Went to a Teddy Bear Hospital information session - sounds like fun!

I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing either. I feel like I have a reasonable grasp of certain areas of biology at this point in time and am perfectly capable of reading the BNF, NICE guidelines and whatever other directive a doctor might have at their disposal. What I lack however is the lived experience of healthcare professionals – in my eyes that’s what makes them valuable. Since the sum of their experiences and instinct would be extremely difficult to sum up in a short consultation, I would still want my doctor to take the lead in deciding what was best for me, and I think that’s true for a lot of people, if not most. I trust them to do so, uncharacteristically unquestioningly. Perhaps that’s why I see that doctor-patient relationship as an enormous privilege.

Ventilation and perfusion in the afternoon. Our lecturer used tubs of chocolates to demonstrate movement of oxygen and had a student participate. I had been starting to nod off due to the dry material, but the switch to this more active task made me instantly alert and engaged, despite not having any other stimulus. Very weird – I need to read up on this and definitely include things like this in future teaching exercises.