Students on the COVID-19 frontline – Uchenna’s story

stethoscope and blood sample tube
Students from the University of Birmingham Medical School have been supporting our NHS Birmingham Health Partners members on the wards, in family liaison, and in research and development. Here, medical student Uchenna Odunukwe, shares his experience on Ward 726 at University Hospitals Birmingham.  

Uchenna Odunukwe med studentOver the past few weeks, I and a number of other medical students have had the opportunity to assist in the fight against COVID by assuming some of the responsibilities of junior doctors. Having dealt with both COVID-suspected and COVID-positive patients, the unprecedented chance to work through a global pandemic has taught me to be comfortable working in restrictive equipment and instilled resilience.

As a returning intercalator, having been absent from the clinical setting for over a year, this period of hospital work offered a valuable re-introduction to clinical practice.

The chance to work through a global pandemic has instilled resilience

Being based on a liver ward allowed me to improve my understanding of liver physiology, liver surgery and the general management of patients.

Throughout this period, I have been exposed to the administrative side of a junior doctor’s role, be it through drafting discharge summaries or making requests for dietician reviews and scans.

My history taking and clinical skills have too been refined through clerking patients, inserting cannulas and taking blood and assisting with special procedures. I have even been able to actively contribute to ward rounds by scribing.

Finally, I have been able to ameliorate my communication skills through open discussion with other members of the MDT. 

I have witnessed difficult clinical decisions being made and better understood the importance of striking the balance between providing urgent treatment and minimising one’s exposure to coronavirus.

My experience of ward work has been exceptional and I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity.

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