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The Daily Rhino
Sunday, May 06, 2007

The student becomes the master. THE MASTER I TELL YOU.
Originally published in the April issue of Medical Student Newspaper.

F2 JOBS are out, huzzah! With nothing more than an arbitrary survey of me asking my friends, it seems as though most of my fellow F1s are happy with what they'll be hating next year.

Contrary to the February issue's prediction of becoming a McGP in Slough, I managed to land A&E, renal medicine and ITU at St. George's. I could not be more pleased. However there is one problem - I will have no one to boss around. I don't think I'll have an F1 for any of these firms.

My one consolation is that I might be lucky enough to have some hapless medical students to do my bidding. Although they must be the right type of medical students. The right type of medical student is one that loves bleeding people, sticking in venflons, writing TTOs and getting me food. It's the kind of student I was not. In fact, now that I find myself in the bizarre position of imparting knowledge (ha) onto students, I realise I would have hated to have someone as work-shy as me for a shadow.

I have a long and distinguished history of hypocrisy and you will be pleased to know I have continued it into my working life. Despite being a lazy and ignorant medstudent, I have no qualms violently demanding nothing less than complete dedication from my assistant house officers. Other people's students, however, I send home as early as I can.

"Finished lunch? Yeah why don't you head off? Your team doesn't need you this afternoon. Just tell them Rohin said you could go home."

The teams in question always seem 'annoyed' with me; I know they're just showing their affection in a male-acceptable way. When my students ask for the same courtesy, I have to work very hard not to throttle them with their new tourniquet.

"Have you checked the bloods, done a PR on the fat guy and got me a bacon sandwich? Nooooo? Chop chop then, get to it woman!"

Nowadays I stop short of physical contact, after the nasty business that occurred when I tried to encourage Valerie with a firm slap on the arse. The less said about that, the better.

The simple fact is that house officers are far more willing to help keen students as opposed to layabouts. I have discovered this too late. I cringe when I think what my house officers must've thought of me. Except for my firm at Medway. You'd be surprised how a hot SHO can motivate a young man to put in the hours.

Willingness to get involved with the firm isn't the only criterion upon which we rank students. During my first firm I had twelve students at one time. Twelve. At St. Peter's we open our doors to third, fourth and fifth years from both Imperial and St. George's. Thus I find myself in a prime position to make sweeping generalisations and unfair comparisons between the two medical schools.

Third years are uniformly a nuisance, whether they come from Gimperial or George's. They buzz around and get under foot like insects. Bad insects. Insects that carry some sort of disease. But not mosquitoes because they don't crunch when you kill them. Maybe cockroaches. But not that big. Like some disease-carrying medium-sized hard-shelled scuttling insect. Yeah.

I do feel sorry for the ICSM little ones though - they're abandoned on the wards for up to ten weeks with almost no instruction. They wander around like lost puppies and have to rely on the good nature of the junior doctors to teach them clinical skills and create educational tasks for them to do. So if they're with me, they're screwed.

Fourth years are, without doubt, the most accomplished skivers. I feel barely qualified to comment on their characteristics as students as I have seen so little of them. I prided myself on my unparalleled bunkalicious skivism, but some of these guys make me look like an amateur.

It is the final years with whom F1s have most contact. I have now had seventeen shadows and they break down nicely into three sub-categories. George's five years, George's four-years (GEPs) and Imperial (sixth years). Each group has their own idiosyncrasies and foibles.

The conventional five year St. George's final year is thoroughly competent, relaxed around patients and ready to get stuck in. I, of course, feel more than a little kinship with them as I was one just ten months ago. They're keen to absorb knowledge, which is just as well as most of them have plenty to learn. The best Venflonners by a country mile.

Imperial final years – though it pains me to say it - seem to be more book-smart. There are few experiences more humiliating than being shown up by a smartarse student, but it happens so frequently I have grown to expect it. And there are myriad ways for me to exact a horrible catheterising revenge. In contrast to their admirable knowledge, some Imperial medics can be deficient in patient skills.

Lastly, by far the most interesting category is the GEPs. While they are exceptional players of blood bottle bowls, they are either doddery to the point of comedy or utterly set in their ways. One of my recent students, a German chap in his mid-30s and post PhD, lacked any logical thought whatsoever.

However, I will freely accept that me repeatedly shouting "I’m a cybernetic organism", “you’re a CHOIRBOY compared to me, a CHOIRBOY”!” and "who is your daddy and what does he do?" in an Arnie voice cannot have helped. Austria, Germany...same thing, right?

The transition from student to competent doctor is a gradual one and it comes as something of a shock to find yourself suddenly obligated to teach mates you've been getting pissed with for the last five years. In between emptying alcogel dispensers on each other, stealing drug rep goodies and flicking elastic bands at nurses, teaching students is one of the highlights of being a junior doctor, for as one teaches, one learns. I feel like I should dematerialise on Dagobah after that line. Lastly, a special thanks to Davina Hensman and Matt Roe, the best students I've had!

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