Student Selective Component 3 - Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia

6/25/2017 12:42:00 AM

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I am delighted to share the news that I did my SSC3 which happened to be in the Cardiothoracic Anaeasthesia department in the United Kingdom! In the beginning of the 4th year, all the students are required to submit their names if they have plans to do their SSC in the UK. I was at first in the stage of dilemma on whether I should do my SSCs and electives in my home country as the expenses could be quite high in the UK, let alone the MYR currency was absurdly low compared to Pound Sterling (still does). More importantly. I was not convinced at all that I could even pass the fourth year exam as it was dubbed as the most intense and toughest exam of all! After having a deep consideration as well as taking advice from people around me, I decided to go with the plan of heading to the UK.

However, I was really taken aback by the amount of paperwork and preparation that I have to make prior flying to the land of tea and scones. Nonetheless, after going through a vast amount pressure and deadlines, I finally got my visa and flew to the UK in April to start my SSC3. Having said that, I was allocated in James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough to do Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia, a specialty which never cross my mind that I would simply be doing for a career. When I was in JCUH, every single thing was brand new to me, ranging from little things such as the plan of the gigantic hospital, the culture to the staff. Worse of all, I literally had zero knowledge about anaesthesia as it is something that is not really emphasised in the medical school.

Thankfully my supervisor, Dr Mellor was really helpful as he guided me to set my learning outcomes for the SSC. Despite his busy schedules, he took the time to have an update on my progress and sort out my timetable for the entire six weeks. Throughout my placement, I managed to observe countless of surgeries (about three each day) and gain tons of knowledge from the consultants, registrars, not to mention the staff nurses! Apart from learning the technique of sedating the patients prior to their surgeries, I had the chance to observe the whole surgeries at the same time. Thus, I got to learn both fields at one go (cardiothoracic and anaesthesia)!

Aside from putting patients to sleep, anaesthetists have to ensure that the patients are always in stable condition throughout the operation. In tandem, I also get to join the ward rounds in the Intensive Care Unit. I was somewhat surprised to find out that the operation list is actually managed by the anaesthetists instead of the surgeons. After all, there are always limited amount of beds in the wards. I As the days went by, I slowly developed interest in this field and honestly speaking I would not mind to pick it as my future career at all by the end of the placement! Till then, au revoir!

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