After many, many heavy hints from our Phase 2 convenor and blogger-extraordinaire, DundeeChest, I managed to muster up the courage to carry out an audit. I did in on safe prescribing on paediatrics as part of a Student Selected Component (SSC) in May 2011. The act of doing the audit was pretty unglamourous,

Step 1: Wake up, attend the morning handover on the paediatric ward to find out the new patients then, find their drug charts and count up how many errors were on the chart and what they were.

Repeat step 1 for 4 weeks, and you have an audit!

I’m playing this down a bit here, I actually quite enjoyed doing this, and for each time I told the doctors ways in which they could improve their prescribing practice, I felt like I was actually doing a bit of good, which is sometimes lacking when you’re a student on the ward. I also found the process of checking each detail of a drug kardex quite therapeutic at times. You didn’t have to think too much, you just… “tick”…”tick”…”cross”…”tick”. Of course, the error percentage was lower than 25%. I’m just musing here. Anyway, clinical governance wasn’t something I thought I’d be very interested in prior to the SSC, and I still don’t think I’m dying to do more of it, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, or that i’d heard it to be.

After doing this I also got to present my work along with other people in the department to the Scottish Patient Safety Alliance regional update. Sounds professional, right?! I felt a bit like the token-medical student, dazed in the headlights, but managed to chat away about the work I’d been doing. I even got a couple of laughs. If I can make prescribing errors funny, maybe I should just quit medicine and start a career in comedy…

Anyway, you get points on your CV when you apply for FY jobs, Specialist Reg jobs as well as consultancy jobs for carrying out audits. You also get points on the CV for getting publications with Pubmed IDs, so the hope is that I can kill two birds with one stone and get the audit published. I realised that I’d have to rejig my write up a bit to tailor it towards the journal I wanted to publish in, but, they certainly know how to lay down the law, I’ll tell you.

The abstract has to be written a certain way, the references too. I need to have written confirmation from everyone in my acknowledgements that it’s ok for me to publish it, I also, apparently, need to have a fax number they can contact me on. A FAX NUMBER?! I can honestly say I’ve never owned a fax machine in my life, and the only time I ever used one was when I worked in a care home, and I’m still not entirely sure if the message ever got sent! Jeez… And this is before I can even submit it with enough confidence to say that it won’t get bounced right back to me saying “No chance”. I can only try! We’ll see how it goes.

So anyway, I’m having lots of fun trying to do this. I seem to be doing quite a lot this summer holiday in terms of CV stuff, which is probably because I’ve been putting a lot of it off through term time. But hey, when it’s raining this bad, it’s giving me something to do, eh. (The eh’s a dundee thing).

Oh and I submitted my essay for the prize… Fingers and toes crossed!

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