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Diary of a Future Doctor: My Catalyst Work Experience!

This month's blog was written by aspiring doctor and Catalyst collective mentee Caitlyn. Caitlyn shares her experience on work placement in a doctor’s surgery that was arranged by her mentor Judith.

As aspiring medical students, we are constantly reminded of the importance of work experience. We are told how it will allow us to gain a personal insight into our future profession and how important it is for our personal statements. Through The Catalyst Collective, I met my lovely mentor Judith and thankfully she was able to provide me with work experience at her GP Surgery.

On the first day of placement, I established that the surgery has many different roles that work together to ensure an efficient and smooth working environment. I worked and shadowed a wide range of jobs from receptionists to doctors.

Whilst working in the reception I used computer software to log repeat prescriptions. This required me to be vigilant and alert as I had to distinguish between different medications and ensure that the correct requests were put through for the patients. From this, I learned that the surgery is a working system that relies on every person to complete their roles to the best of their abilities. It is important to acknowledge everyone’s role and work as a team to ensure that there is optimal functioning and that all the patients’ needs are met.

I was also able to work with a social prescriber; where we discussed mental health inpatients and how social activities could benefit their physical and mental wellbeing. Although many patients come in with physical symptoms there may be underlying psychological or social issues that are consequently affecting their health. From a doctor’s point of view, it is important to know your limits when it comes to treating patients. By referring a patient to a social prescriber, it allows us to gain more information about things we may not be well informed about and reach a justified conclusion with others for proceeding with treatment.

As I want to become a doctor, the most inspiring part of my work experience was shadowing one. I was able to do some home visits where I met and assessed a wide range of patients with various issues and helped administer treatment to manage symptoms from home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most appointments were via telephone and doctors had to ensure that the patients’ health was prioritised despite not being able to see them face-to-face. Judith taught me that a good level of understanding for your patients is required to spread good and clear public health advice.

Shadowing my mentor Judith was AMAZING, seeing an educated, talented black woman in the medical field inspired me further to pursue my dreams. It was nice to see a visual representation of what my future may look like as a doctor.

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