Dealing with a deteriorating patient on call
What to do if the worst happens
- By: Steven Alderson, Naomi Abbt
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 side 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, know how to prioritise effectively, and be able to review patients quickly and thoroughly.
In the daytime, it is rare for you to have to manage very poorly patients on your own. Between 9 am and 5 pm, most hospitals are well staffed, and you should be able to rely on the help of your immediate team—often, a senior house officer (foundation year 2 and core trainee year 2), a registrar (specialist trainee year 3