A day in the life of a GEMS student


1. UL's Graduate Entry Medical School

By Mira Pavan


We have finally reached the next glorious step in med school: clerkship. Or, to the rest of the world: where we start the never-ending road of becoming safe and competent doctors.


05:30 – First alarm goes off. Switch on water tank. Crawl back into bed for last moments of warmth and safety.


05:45 – Second alarm goes off. Shower, put on clothes, preferably with pockets. Make breakfast. Because food is important and necessary for me to be a functioning human being and not a growly bear.


06:45 – The walk to the hospital is a bit chilly, and very dark, but there is no torrential downpour. +50 points for not showing up for rounds looking like a drowned rat!


07:15 – Arrive in the dark locker room that smells vaguely of damp apples, change to nice shoes, and mumble a not-too-cheerful-to-elicit-grumbles “good morning” to anyone you might encounter. Check your ID badge, name badge, black pen and phone are all on your person.


07:30 – Find your team. Realize that’s not your team. See your team walking away and run purposefully walk to catch up. Listen and make note of the patients so you can come back later and ask for their permission to be a practice exam scenario.


08:30 – Make your way to theatre. Realize that your scrub size is gone because it’s after 07:30. Pull of XXL scrubs like Beyoncé wearing a poncho and hammer pants.


13:00 – Realize that amidst being grilled by a stern, but friendly, surgeon, you haven’t eaten lunch yet. Or had water since 07:15. Thank the team for their time and level up on that glucose. No casualties in the theatre, please.


14:00 – Clinic. Take a patient. Any patient. Try to be as useful as you can while realizing you feel like you know nothing but patients have faith in you because you are on the other side of the desk. Reality sets in.


(sometime around) 18:00 – Brave torrential rain on the walk home, and thank your past self for batch cooking meals for the week. Warm up, check personal life, open Question Bank.


21:45 – Realize that you can barely articulate, let alone retain knowledge. Push on for another 15 minutes or questions because you might be quizzed on that tomorrow.


22:30 – In bed, lights out, happy to be off your feet. No energy to watch Arrow tonight. You’ve adopted the bedtime of a 10 year old, but you know it’s necessary.


It’s hard work, and it’s long work, and this life comes before the rest of your other life for now – but without a doubt, these hospital beginnings will lead you to a “that was damn worth it” end.