This morning, I woke at 8.45am to the sun streaming through the windows and got out of bed for long enough to make a good pot of coffee before I returned there with my coffee and my book. The morning continued with the making of some breakfast and the watching of an old episode of The West Wing while I sorted through a few bits of music. I may make cake. This evening, I’m going out to sing with the choir that, having locked myself in my academic closet, I haven’t seen in several months. I am, admittedly, not built for a life of complete leisure, but I’m thoroughly enjoying being able to indulge a bit for my week off and I’m inclined to say that I’ve earned it.
I thought that the second round of OSCEs passed with fewer outright comedy disasters than the first round. I never did get my head around who I was meant to be, and the craning-neck-and-reading-job-title went on right up to the last station, but I did at least manage to remember that when I was supposed to be an F1 or F2, I was allowed to give drugs to my simulated patients. I was informed by the examiner in one of my comm skills stations that she had been trying to work out my accent and that I speak ‘very posh Geordie’. I managed to get through the whole week without destroying any store cupboards, being barged in on by any other candidates, or killing anyone. I did get so enthusiastic when I was meant to be performing a head injury assessment that I briefly forgot that the unconscious patient was an actor and attempted a sternal rub, much to the horror of my ‘nurse’ who hastily suggested that I perhaps ought only to mime those sorts of things.
The funniest part of the second week, for me, was that the military doctor who was charged with assessing my ability to test visual acuity had turned up to the exam wearing his epaulettes and was seated in a position that meant that the epaulettes were the first thing I saw. I thought for a minute that I had walked into the wrong room.
The funniest part for everyone else was probably watching me try to perform a developmental assessment on an eighteen-month old boy. As a person who has zero interest in a paediatrics career and few small children in my immediate family (who, in any case, live nearly two hundred miles away) and who usually bypasses the cute babies at church in favour of the cute dogs, I laugh to think how awkward I must have looked when trying to convince the toddler to show me his nose.
At the end of my last station, the examiner congratulated me on surviving and said that he believed that the pubs were open, and I did a victory lap the length of the clinical skills suite.
So, that’s that. The results are out in about ten days, we think. I’m back in on Friday for a life support course, and then properly back at work next Monday for the start of our Preparation for Practice. The results are largely irrelevant to the structure of the next nine weeks. The assumption is that anyone who fails will pass at resit and will therefore still need to have completed all of the other graduation requirements by June, which means that the only real question is whether I’ll be juggling them with continued revision (we’ll call that Plan B) or doing these things in a relatively relaxed manner secure in the knowledge that I’ve passed finals (and that can be Plan A).
In the meantime, there is a whole wide world out there that I’ve been ignoring since Christmas and I’m going to take some time and enjoy it.