In the second in our series of work experience diaries, we follow Lyndon, who spent a week at Southampton General Hospital two years ago
Lyndon is now studying medicine at Manchester University and works at the hospital as a care support worker in his free time. He says his experience at Southampton influenced his decision to go into medicine. Here is his diary.
On arrival, I was nervous but excited about the week ahead. I was due to shadow a consultant on the elderly care ward, but he was busy so I spent the time with a registrar and a senior house officer. As we did the ward rounds, they explained each patient's condition and treatment as well as the x-rays. I hadn't realised that many elderly patients suffer from similar conditions.
Today I learned how different healthcare professionals interact to deliver patient care - not just the doctors and nurses.
On arrival, I was taken to a meeting where the healthcare team discusses each patient's care. As well as deciding whether a patient could go home, they also talked about those patients whose health had worsened and possible reasons for it. I was surprised by how many decisions are made behind the scenes and not on the wards.
For the rest of the day, I was on the orthopaedic and elderly care wards. As well as seeing patients needing hip replacements, I observed blood being taken for analysis.
A new doctor started on the ward today and I was allowed to help him take bloods. Because I had seen some of the patients on previous days, I was also able to tell him a bit about their background. It was very rewarding being able to feel part of the team.
Later, I met up with a doctor on the acute medical unit. I was amazed how he managed to keep track of all his patients as well as remembering the details of their conditions and treatment. Without this, he wouldn't have been able to read just the updates and have time to see more patients.
I spent this morning back on the acute medical unit, but in the afternoon I visited endoscopy. I was fascinated to learn about a wide range of endoscopic procedures. It was intriguing to learn why these procedures are done. Sometimes, it is just a simple check-up, while at other times it is used as a diagnostic tool. It was also a welcome change from the ward rounds.
Today was my last day. And it started with being introduced to a clerical worker. Before today, I never knew how important clerical workers are to the running of the ward. Without them, patient notes and letters would never get written, which would have a huge impact on patient care.
I spent the rest of the day on the wards with the healthcare team. The doctors explained some CT scans of the spine and MRI scans of the brain. A student nurse also let me have a look at a patient's gangrenous foot. Although it was unpleasant for the patient, it was fascinating to see the team discussing whether the patient would need surgery.
Overall, I had an interesting week and gained valuable insight into the workings of a hospital. I saw how the healthcare team works together to facilitate a patient's recovery. I know it will play an important part in mapping my future career.
As part of its Step into the NHS programme, NHS Employers is helping trusts set up work experience programmes. Further information and a toolkit are available at www.nhsemployers.org