Junior doctor survival kit
Reviewing patients on call
A systematic approach to assessing new patients
- By: Naomi Abbt, Steven Alderson
Most medical students are familiar with the “day job” of being a junior doctor, which includes organising ward rounds, booking tests, and writing discharge summaries. However, fewer students are aware of the other part of the job and the realities of working on call. If you have followed the advice in the series so far, you should now be well prepared for your first on-call, know how to receive and give a good handover, and know how to prioritise jobs effectively.1 Now it’s time to see some patients.
In the daytime, you might be responsible for every medical patient on a ward. You should be familiar with their diagnoses, medical histories, recent investigations and results, management plans, and any other outstanding issues. On call, however, you might be responsible for every medical patient in the hospital—and it’s impossible to know everything about everyone. A vital skill of being on call