Catching Winter Bugs
Winter brings many things. Like Christmas, frost, and an excuse for hot chocolate. Mostly, though, it brings norovirus. In as little as one day, the hospital changes into something resembling a besieged city; the initial vanguard of security personnel and nursing assistants greets you at the threshold of the hospital asking whether you’ve had any V or D over the weekend. At key points, little stations have been set up, complete with alcohol gel, leaflets about keeping the hospital virus-free, and yet more alcohol gel. And should the enemy dare infiltrate past these checkpoints, the closure of key wards tries to stop the invasion. A propaganda war is also being waged, with PA announcements and radio adverts beseeching people to stay away from the hospital if they’ve been ill in the last 48 hours.
The public are not the only targets of these rallying cries. Medical students have been banned from engaging in any types of clinical activities, including all theatre attendance, ward rounds, clinics, and teaching sessions, until further notice. Luckily, our year isn’t affected very much since we’re on community week anyway. But the poor first years have had 2 weeks of moping around with nothing to do. This sort of thing happens every year (hence why it’s known as "the winter vomiting virus"), but this year is the first time that students have been ordered away from the wards, and there’s a general air of disgruntledness.
You can’t really blame the hospital for trying; in fact, it’s rather commendable that they’ve realised students are one of the few sets of people who frequent a wide area of the hospital and are thus more likely to spread bugs from ward to ward. Certainly, even though we’re being allowed back on the wards, we still have to observe "clean-dirty" ward and not go into one if we’ve been in the other. But it does beg the question of how effective these measures are in the face of so many other routes of transmission… Do we try to avoid requesting consults from other teams in case they bring/ take bugs? What about stethoscopes? Most of us, even though we dutifully wash our hands between patients, don’t clean our stethoscopes. Not to mention the services workers, e.g. the lady who looks after the TV/ internet consoles on the patients’ beds -– should they be banned from frequenting different wards?
Infection control is a tricky business, and to try to keep the hospital running during the busiest season, in the face of this highly contagious bug, seems insurmountable. As always, we can only do our best… Now, where’s that Spirigel?
January 15, 2009 | Permalink
As a child my parents smoked and I was not permitted to so winter always brought me strep-throught etc. Now at 56 I smoke nothing but the best non-filter and no more colds How about that for a med switch.
Posted by: christinejansson | Jan 18, 2009 9:59:50 PM
That's a wonderful story and I think it is a great tip for interviewing. Like you said, there are going to be expected questions you can plan for and one should always try to have polished interviewing skills if they are going to be going out on them, but for other questions you just have to be yourself. Your personal story is impressive and pleasing to hear. We've had a very nice winter weekend.
Posted by: Building a house | Jan 3, 2011 10:18:10 PM
should always try to have polished interviewing skills if they are going to be going out on them, but for other questions you just have to be yourself. Your personal story is impressive and pleasing to hear. We've had a very nice winter weekend.
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