An hour into my shift on the birth suite, I got to see a beautiful baby girl come into the world. This is very different to praying that someone would come into the hospital in labour whilst I was on my obstetrics and gynaecology rotation in Lancaster; where medical students are lucky to have at least 3 women in labour.
What surprised me the most was just how much medical students are allowed to get involved in O&G in Australia. It is compulsory for final year medical students to deliver a minimum of 4 babies during their rotation. It made me wish that conditions were different back home. Where you have to turn down any opportunity you have to further your clinical experience in the fear of being told off as though you are in primary school. It is not like we have lives in our hands in a year or two when we start working…
It is slightly worrying that I have a lack of enough ‘hands-on’ experience when it comes to certain skills, especially in obstetrics and gynaecology. I am not sure whether this feeling is universal among students in the UK but I know for certain that what we do in clinical practice whilst on placement is fairly restricted when comparing it to how Aussie medical students learn.
It is not all bad I suppose because patient safety has to remain paramount. Therefore, ensuring that some restrictions are in place whilst you remain a student is essential in ensuring that vulnerable people are not taken advantage of. Plus, in my opinion the training current students receive is better than in the past.
Now back to the patient at hand. Doing my placement in a big city made me realise the importance of learning to adapt your practice to cater for the needs of a diverse population. The lady who gave birth was from Burma and her ability to speak English was very limited. This made the whole process a little bit more difficult as she struggled to understand what the midwife was telling her. Luckily, this was her fourth pregnancy so she was pretty much an expert when it came to giving birth vaginally so she took on childbirth like a pro!