Saturday, 25 October 2008

kcl Interview - in 9 days

I had a pretty quiet day on the ward on Wednesday, so whilst the patients were having their lunch i decided to have a quick browse on the internet and check my mail; and was then pleasantly surprised ( + really happy) to find an email detailing my interview date and time from KCL admissions.

I've been waiting for their email for a while, but actually receiving the email bought a giant smile to my face, quickly followed by fear, and then the task of having to find another HCA to swap shifts with!

I had previously agreed with another HCA gap year student to swap shifts with each other if interviews came up for either of us, but as she is also sheduled to work on that day, and as the interview is very very soon ( 3rd November) i've decided not to risk leaving it too late, and decided to take annual leave on that day; afterall i doubt i'd use up all my annual leave otherwise.

Whilst really looking forward to the interview, i am also pretty nervous, especially after my ghastly interview performance at BL last year ( i really messed that one up!), i am just hoping my nerves won't get the best of me this time round - lets hope!

Monday, 20 October 2008


I received my letter from King's College London today.... hoping to find a letter detailing my interview date and time.. and then was simply a bit sad to find an acknowledgement letter.

Acknowledgement letters are the worse (see *), they give a sense of false hope, unlike acknowledgement emails which sort of tell you what to expect in the subject bar of the email before you even start reading. Whilst for the letters you have to read around 1 sentence in before you hit the "don't worry if you don't hear from us, we interview until April ..blah blah blah"!

*well acknowledgement letters are better than no acknowledgement letter i suppose.. as sometimes i fear my application may not have been received by the unis

Saturday, 18 October 2008

HCA work october update

Not too sure on the exact timetable yet, but i received a call from my ward sister yesterday to ask if i prefered working on christmas day or on new years >_<

In all honesty, preferebly i would have liked to have to choose neither of them, but weighing out the pros and cons i decided i would put myself down for a long day shift on either day; hopefully they'll be able to accomodate that, and not put me on a night shift.

Though the question did make me think about my future career and what i may be potentially letting myself in for, and although i like spending my christmas holiday with my feet up, i think my decision to apply for medicine is the correct one.

On a fun note, i finally finished my induction training, and enjoyed the adult basic life support and AED training from the resus. service. I've completed a few St John's Ambulance courses in the past, and learning how to apply the same basic principles to a clinical environment was really intersting... plus the very shiny (quite literally) card to certify passing the course is a nice bonus.

Work this week hasn't been too bad, there were some really friendly patients who were all very nice, the nurses taught me a lot more this week, and i got to work alongside student nurses. Although most of it has been well, occasionally there are a few very demanding patients, which require a lot more care and attention, and those which are just cheeky!!

Friday, 10 October 2008

UCAS 2009 - sorted

Application has actually been sent since the beginning of the week, but as i havn't heard anything from UCAS since then, i finally picked up the phone and gave them a call this morning... and i'm mighty glad i did!

Seems like my failed application to medicals schools last year ended me up in clearing (i never knew), and my application from last year is still "live" even though i'm pretty sure most unis have already started their courses. Anyhoots, after answering a few buzz questions from the nice people on the UCAS helpline, i finally managed to withdraw my old application and FINALLY i can access track, but using my ID from last year and my username and password from this year... its quite confusing.. but yep, im glad thats sorted now!

I finally made my choices (see above), i know they are a bit on the risky side, but i want a shot at those unis! Well it's just going to be a long long wait now..but hopefully not too long. ^.^

Sunday, 5 October 2008

BMAT revision

Entry deadline: 30 September 2008 (late entry 15 October 2008)
Test date: 5 November 2008
Duration of test: 2 hours
Results available: 1 December 2008

BMAT revision begins today!

Heres a few sites i found useful:

1) UCL - LAPT BMAT practice test

it's too easy in comparrison to the bmat paper i took last year, but i guess its a helpful indicator to the subject areas which needs to be revised.

2) 2007 BMAT Paper with answer key
(YES! the dreaded paper i took last year, someone from TSR kindly posted it up ^^ - not me)

3) BMAT 2008 thread on TSR - discussion on the exam and generally a helpful read for information on the bmat

4) Official BMAT specimen papers (with answer keys)

(PS - my tutor has still not sent ..or even checked my ucas form yet... its been a week already.. hopefully it won't be another week before he takes a look at it and gets it sent off for me!)

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The HCA post

Being a HCA is not the most glamorous of jobs at the hospital, and indeed the stories i've heard so far have been proven to be true. It's really hands on, the smell can sometimes be unbearable, my feet ache, and my hands are extremely dry from all the hand-washing after each and every patient; BUT it has been a great learning opportunity to work in a caring environment, and to experience the long shift hours working in the NHS.

After the first day, i seriously wanted to quit, the ward was quiet and i spent almost 4 hours sitting around hardly moving a muscle. The day was spent making beds in the morning, recording blood pressure, pulse, O2 saturation and temperature from most patients, and occasionally emptying catheters from others; and with a 7.45am start and a 20.15pm finish, i was dead tired at the end of the day, and was just glad to see my shower and bed.

On the second day the ward was full at most times, and i was running around doing all the above, but having given a lot more responsibility to look after the patients, the job was actually quite satisfying. I learnt to take out cannulas, take blood glucose readings, and the most fun came when the staff nurses and other HCAs tried to teach me how to take blood pressure readings on them using a stephoscope and a mobile sphygmomanometer. Sadly i am absolutely rubbish at it, and can't get by without using the electronic sphygmomanometer.. hopefully it will be practice makes perfect as i guess it will come in handy for future OSCEs, when i eventually get into medical school.It really is a good experience, and i've already learnt so much over the last 2 days in terms of what its like to work in a hospital, and what a caring job involves, but the pay is awful.

So being rather honest, i wouldn't say the job is AMAZING..nor is it the best option for Gappers. It does have an intersting and caring side which i enjoy, but on the other hand, the job is rather mind numbing, and i feel its a shame not being able to utilise any of my skills picked up from the Biochemistry BSc.

i am still waiting for my referee to attatch my reference and to send my ucas form.............. i may have to give him a call on monday if he still hasn't done it by then!