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My first day in the ward

My first day in the ward. I am really excited because after 2 years just having lectures, now is the time to apply what we learn to a real patient. We are told to clerk 30 patient within this 3 weeks. Im waiting for this momment. I'm waiting for it since a long-long time ago.

It's morning. I am going to the ward. I ride our official school bus to the hospital. I went and meet a few of my friends in the pantry and we are all ready to enter the ward. everyone equipped with weapon - a stethoscope, tendon hammer, and a pen torch. We are all ready now.

I am walking in my group walking and climbing the hospital stairs to enter the ward that already allocated to us. I feel like i'm going to bust becuse of the adrenaline rush.

The momment we enter the ward, everything change.... really unexpected.

We were standing like an idiot in the center of the ward. Around us were nurses, doctor, and janitor running around doing their work. no one seem to noticed us there. I feel really horrble at that time. feel like i'm going toward the window and jump down to make people notice.

Was there supposed to be a briefinf for us, or at least someone come to us and say " Hello there, welcome to the ward, you are medical student? Well you can clerk that patient or that patient.....".................

or just say "Hello there." it is enough. Just say something.

We cannot just stand there. make us look like really an idiot. It seems that the only person that noticed us is the nurse trainee. They were cute, too cute to be put in a ward. And they are staring at us. Staring like we are a ghost ar we are human without head. Very scary staring. We must do something.

Well, we are not teach to just stand there. We learn so much in 2 years before, we must have something to do other than just standing. So we walk slowly toward the sister in the ward. Introduce ourselves than ask on what we have to do?.

"Oo, ok, you can go and clerk patient." Only this word comes out from the sister mouth. Only this. i'm dying. What i'm supposed to do. A second time i feel like i'm walking toward the window and jump down to escape from this situation. But i cannot. So we walk again. Lot of patient there...lots of patient. Sick...really sick.

still standing, now in pair, we have no idea on what to do next. Just now, can the sister just say " You are medical student? Well, let's have a coffee."

or just say " We are busy now, you can go back home."

I'm feeling very uncomfortable. We have to do this. We have to do soemthing. Why our school just let us go to the ward without any briefing... without any instruction on what to do. Why?

We meet a housemen( a doctor that still under training). A girl housemen . We introduce ourselves then ask her on what to do. She smile, then she ask us to clerk a patient just near the doorway. Well, at least we know what to do now.

The first patient for us. Or more spesifically for my partner. He is doing the clerking and i'm just standing there feeling like a stone. I don't know what to say. I feel like i'm losing my voicebox.

I can't be like this. I must do something. Well, after clerking the patient without doing any physical examination, we move on. Now we know a little on what to do. Or actually what we can do.

As a medical student, we can clerk patient freely. No one care. THe doctor will not get mad to us for clerking. Nurse also cannot scold us for clerking the patient. So that how it is work.

So i'm going to the second patient. I'm trying to clerk it for myself. I introduce myself to the patient (male, around 30) and ask his permission to let me clerk him.

And..... silent for one minute. THe patient did not understand what i'm saying. I'm really going to jump down the window.

I repeat in a very simple word " I'm Zaki, a student, can i take your history and do some physical examination?"!!!!!!

The patiend nod his head. At that time i feel like i'm running to the town and buy a present for the patient because he nodded his head.

I'm clerking the patient for 20 minutes and along the session, the patient keep asking me to let him go out from the hospital. I repeatly said, i'm not a doctor! I;m not a doctor!

I'm saying that as gentle as i can, but inside me, i feel like i'm screaming and pull the patient hand and throw him out the window.

I did not finish myu history takingbecause the patient seems cannot understand what i'm saying. I'm using malay language as simple as i can but still he cannot understand. at last i read his case note and i found that he is actually not from malaysia. He is from philipines that work here. No wonder he cannot understand me.

day after day pass me by. Now three weeks is over. I have done clerking 30 patients. and it was really hard because as you can see, not all patient are easy to clerk. Most of them are comatose, some of them don't want to be clerk, some of them are too hard to be clerk. Just hard.

Within the three weeks, i start to develope some skills, Skills to clerk patient easily. I done it so meny times. it is like this. I enter the ward,ask permission to clerk from the sister, then i walk toward a patient and start saying hi, how are you? Already eat? rather than saying " I'm a medical student, my name is bla blabla, i want to clerk you as a part of my study"

When i say how are you? hi? Are you doing great today? patient seems to be more open to me. Then i can clerk them and do physical examination later.

I cannot forget my experienced on the first day in the ward. Feeling like a goat searching for grass in a shopping mall. Really like that.

After the three weeks, we have a meeting with out lecturer and then we raise the complain on this.

'Why we are put in the ward and no one give us any briefing on what to do?"

The lecturer reply. " We are doing that because you are medical student. You are not like a student as you were before. You are not a student that sit in the classroom waiting for the teacher to feed you. This is what we are teaching you, to search the knowledge on your own. We are not going to help you now. You have to survive on your own. We are not going to tell you to clerk taht patient, study that patient, do this, do that. today your standard of eduication will change... you will have to enter the ward, and then search for any knowledge that you can get. Trust me, i'm medical student before, i know that there is a lot of thing you can learn in the ward. You must find it or later you will realized that yoi are failing your exam."

29th June 2007.


  1. heheheh. alasan jak tu dorang biarkan korang bersepah2 di hospital tu.

    kalau di sini len cerita plak aku dgr dr senior aku, mereka disuruh membontoti resident. dan mahasiswa yg clinical itu adalah makanan bg dokter2 di atass. kira kasta terbawah la nanti. heheh

    tp ndak sabar nih, cuma masih lamaa laaa. 2 tahun lg baru aku clinical.


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