Being a surgical house officer
Consultant anaesthetist Leyla Sanai shares her experience of working with surgical house officers
As a house officer you will be faced with many different tasks at the same time. Learn to prioritise. Patients who have just had an operation should be reviewed before carrying out routine tasks, such as filing, and urgent investigations for sick patients should be organised before less pressing ones. Don't be hassled into just working through your list of tasks without giving them some thought--a minute or two spent organising which are urgent and which are not is time well spent.
Always assess patients after they have returned from anything other than the most minor surgery, and make sure that they are cardiovascularly stable, passing adequate amounts of urine, and are pain free, warm, and have adequate fluids prescribed as well as deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis if appropriate. When complications develop, remain calm and assess the patient logically, in terms of systems--cardiovascular (heart rate, blood pressure, peripheral perfusion, heart