Fashionable inequality?

Modern life in developed societies is a world away from the lives our recent ancestors lived. Better sanitation, advances in farming and food supply, the cumulative effects of public health interventions over the years, and huge advances in medical knowledge and technology have also shifted the landscape of disease. As a society, our preoccupation is […]

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A disease by any other name…

  As a UK medical graduate, working in a London Hospital, it is fair to say that my CV doesn’t contain a huge diversity of workplaces, or populations served.  However, it is striking how many different levels of health literacy I encounter within the working week. I have had conversations with patients to correct the […]

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If a job’s worth doing…

Image via WM Jas on Flickr Competency based curricula have largely replaced purely knowledge-based curricula in medical education.  As assessment of competency has become a seemingly endless task, the participants in medical education have often complained that learning and development has been reduced to a series of hoops to jump through or, even worse, a […]

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I am conflicted…are you?

  I am conflicted… and it is down to a couple of papers in this May’s PMJ that look at the development of a new tool for assessing the performance of trainees in a key medical task. Most nights – or at least 2 a week – I spend a portion of my evening logging […]

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Service, safety and training – a tricky trio.

The National Health Service is more than a health service, is is perhaps one of the biggest postgraduate universities in the world.  Within the corridors, operating theatres, and wards of the hospitals in the UK, healthcare professionals are learning. They are taught by example every day, and increasingly are allocated time out of the service […]

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The beauty of the written word?

Of the essential skills for doctors, writing has to be up there as one of the most important.  Doctors writing has been the butt of many jokes ove the years – justifiably, and written prescriptions remain a significant source of error in hospitals up and down the land. The medical notes are another area where […]

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Observe, record, tabulate, communicate…

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I had a teacher that used to be incredibly irritating.  Instead of getting away with a lucky guess, or a grasp at a faded memory, we had to be able to ‘show our workings.’  This meant we had to understand where our answers came from, from first […]

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Our caring profession

  The rigours of life as a junior doctor are well described, both in popular modern classics like House of God by Samuel Shem and the television series Scrubs, but also in lesser known works, like A Country Doctor’s Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov. There are common themes – imposter syndrome, fear of killing patients, bullying […]

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Still only human

There is something different about medics.  We stand out at university – often forming into a clique that others find difficult to fathom, break into, or tolerate.  We strive to be different in many ways; we learn a huge range of facts and figures, along with new languages ( we are taught about everything from […]

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It’s good to talk…

When I think about my work on the acute medical unit, or my clinics, it is almost mind boggling, the number of interactions I have with other humans – trainees, consultant colleagues, radiographers, radiologists, professionals from other hospitals, biochemists, nurses, physios, therapists, and of course – patients.  As Atul Gawande points out in this splendid […]

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