Clinical Placement Experiences

Feb 2023 Update

University Hospital of Wales (SSC Project)

This year I completed a 6 week SSC (student selected component) project in the field of obstetrics in University Hospital of Wales, where I was supervised by a consultant obstetrician. The aim of this project was to create a guidance document containing a concise summary of the most common viral infections during pregnancy to act as an educational resource for general practitioners. Viruses included in the guidance document were cytomegalovirus, varicella zoster virus, rubella, herpes simplex virus, parvovirus B19, influenza, SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The guidance document contained a summary flow diagram for each virus. Each flow diagram included short summaries of information and is easy to follow, they were no larger than an A4 sheet of paper. Each pathway signposted general practitioners on when to refer to secondary care and the most appropriate management for each virus. The guidance document was then sent out to local general practitioners for feedback, which was collected in the form of an anonymous survey. Overall this project showed there is the potential for certain viruses to cause significant harm to both the fetus and mother during pregnancy and it is imperative that GPs are up to date on existing treatment plans and referral pathways for management of infected mothers. Feedback was mainly positive with most GPs suggesting the document was useful and interesting to read and would impact their future practice. This project was a great opportunity to become involved in an area of research which is interesting to myself and my supervisor. I was able to work along side her to create something which can be used by GP and O&G trainees in the future. It was also beneficial to my learning in terms of the academic knowledge I gained as well as the skill to perform a literature search and summarise information. I was able to take this project further to 2 national conferences which was an amazing experience. Whilst I was doing this project I was able to gain practical experience on labour ward with my supervisor. I assisted in Caesarean sections and vaginal births. It was so interesting to be able to experience labour ward and I saw many interesting cases and the management of various clinical presentations. This further inspired me to peruse a career in O&G and I would thoroughly recommend anyone who is interested to take part in an SSC project within this field. – Tamsin Mantel-Cooper, Cardiff university Ambassador

Jan 2023 Update

South West Acute Hospital (Belfast)

“The placement rotation I enjoyed the most during Year 4 was within Obstetrics and Gynaecology at South West Acute Hospital. Understandably, it was also the module I found the most difficult initially because the material was very new to us as students, and it was quite content heavy. However, I have always loved taking on the challenge and immersed myself completely during year 4 into this specialty. Attending placement every day and witnessing the information I studied, in a patient context sparked a keen interest that I aimed to pursue. Thus, further exposure in various clinics, delivery suite and theatres, in addition to speaking with my senior colleagues, I decided that I wanted further exposure in this field for my summer elective. This report will cover my Year 4 Summer Elective experience at Antrim Area Hospital in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I seek to reflect on all that I have gained over the last 4 weeks and look forward to applying this into my future clinical practice. I believe this experience encourages me to continually improve my interactions with fellow colleagues and patients respectively, whilst building further knowledge in this speciality, which I am looking forward to work and specialise in.

During the first two weeks of my elective, I spent time on the wards. Ward rounds enabled me to appreciate the importance of good communication between healthcare providers and their patients. Patients were able to express their concerns and questions freely towards the consultants who were able to reassure and direct them towards a suitable management plan. I also practised my history taking and examination skills as well, which was a good refresher after exam season! During the next two weeks, I was in clinics as well, antenatal and gynae. During my gynae clinics, I was able to appreciate how sexual health is very important to the mental health of women. Many women came in fearing they might have cervical cancer, dyspareunia etc, and thus it was very comforting to see how the healthcare team were able to listen to them, reassure them, and organise a structured management plan to alleviate their worries. After attending the gynae-assessment unit and researching further into conditions such as endometriosis, I was able to reflect on how these disease processes work. Thus, following up on these patients when they came in for laparoscopic/ diagnostic procedures, I understood how management plans including surgery can boost quality of life for our patients. Furthermore, labour ward and delivery suite were run very smoothly by the midwifery team and the nurse-in-charge. The opportunity to ‘assist’ in surgeries including Caesarean sections was a privilege and I felt very much part of an amazing multidisciplinary team. Teamwork is essential in Obs and Gynae in every domain. This was very evident when I attended the clinical governance meeting during my elective. It was very refreshing to see various health professionals come together to discuss about how we should continually strive to improve the healthcare we deliver to our patients. After discussing with my seniors, I appreciated the numerous audits/QI projects that are conducted and implemented within Obs and Gynae here in Antrim. I registered my interest should any more opportunities arise here, or in the Ulster Hospital, where I will be on attachment in Year 5. I believe that continuous improvement will help our health service not only provide healthcare tailored for our population within Northern Ireland but will do so in a way to appreciate social and cultural factors whilst managing the resources that we have efficiently.” – Varghese George, Queen’s University Belfast Ambassador