You will find that there will be many opportunities for procedures, some as simple as drawing blood and placing IV’s.  The physicians are responsible for collecting all blood specimens for urgent lab testing and for placing IV’s in those patients who are to be admitted.  I found this a bit daunting at first as I do not get much opportunity to perform such procedures at my home institution.    As when performing any procedure, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the equipment first.  I had to remove a perfectly placed IV simply because I did not know how to secure it once it had been placed.

There is also quite a bit of obstructive uropathy secondary to benign prostatic hypertrophy.  This has given me the opportunity to replace several urinary and suprapubic catheters while I have been here.  While they have all of the supplies you will need, they are not all assembled in an organized kit.  It can be quite difficult to get everything together without the help of a nurse, and on a busy day in the A&E the help of a nurse is not always available.

I have also had the opportunity to do some suturing.  In both cases it was man versus machete, and the machete won.  Most cannot remember the last time they got a tetanus shot, so they all get one for good measure.  Most are not familiar with the term Tetanus but rather know of the disease by “Lock Jaw.”  In both cases the patients were very cooperative and the suturing went quick and easy.  I understand that sutures can be in short supply at times, so I found myself being very conservative with my thread so as not to waste.  In any case I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to perform any of these procedures on kids, like my wife had to do!


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