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What to do on placements?

This is something I never understood until I started more full time placements. It’s hard as a med student to balance learning, down time, and ward time but also it’s very difficult when you feel like you’re in the way on the wards and don’t know what to do with yourself. So here is my advice on what to do:

-Befriend the team. If they’re looking out for you they will get you involved.

-Go to a few ward rounds. Write in the notes as if you are an F1. Take a history from a patient and present them on the ward round. Scary, but if you mess up you will never make that mistake again.

-Follow a junior. The consultants do lots of busy consultant things. But the juniors do all the work you’re going to do. Help them out. Do their jobs for them. Take their bloods etc. They might teach you in return, but even if they don’t it is good practice.

-Just talk to the patients. Pick one from each bay. They’re bored. Most of them love a good chat. Take a history, examine them, and then find someone to present to if you’re really brave.

-Ask someone where you’ll find the most classic patients. Clinics or wards? And spend time there.

-When you hear of a new patient coming in through AMU etc, find them, take a history and follow them through the day. Even better, follow them up throughout the week. You’ll learn their case and remember it if you remember them personally.

-Get in on a surgery list and ask to scrub in. The worst they can say is no. But nothing cements in your mind the layers of the abdomen by watching someone slice through them while you help.

-Spend time in the library, but not too much time. Learn through doing.

Making Strawberry and Blueberry Jam

I was feeling creative and decided to make jam. Couldn’t find a recipe i liked the look of so made one up… Worked quite well so thought I would share!


1kg Sugar with added pectin ( got this from Sainsbury’s)
1kg strawberries
Handful of blueberries


Chopping board
Large heavy bottomed saucepan
Jam jars –  sterilised as per my other blog post!
Plastic circle things that go with the waxy discs
Waxy discs
Sugar thermometer ( optional )

Step 1, gather the stuff



Step 2 chop and hull the strawberries. You want to get rid of all the leaves. One good technique is to cut under the leaves at each each side to create a v. This wastes less fruit than cutting off the whole top. You want to cut them into chunks.


Step 3, smush the fruit with the sugar in a saucepan. I used a potato masher. Then when it’s all mixed, begin heating slowly. This helps with the smushing. Don’t smush all lumps out unless you want a smooth jam but the seeds and blueberries wills hinder this.


After 5 mins of mixing and smushing it should look like this:


Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until it reaches 120 degrees C, or until the bubbles will not stir down but the liquid below is not cloudy. It shouldnt be grainy with sugar.


Quickly spoon the jam into warm sterilised jars, at the wax disc and plastic disc and pop the lids on!


You can see the plastic disc sticking out from under the lids.


Keeps for 6 weeks in fridge open,1 year in jars in cool dark place.