Usyd interview, Surgery observation, Anatomy museum guide

Before gearing into the second semester, I’d like to quickly reflect on these holidays. I didn’t do much. I played guitar, hung out with friends and family, took up an extra volunteering shift at RMH in wheelchair assist, and did a little bit of interview preparation. It’s been getting busier towards the back end of these holidays.

So I had my University of Sydney interview last Monday (20th July). ‘How did you go?’ I hear you ask. Well… I’m not too sure to be honest. It’s too hard to say. At times, I felt like my tongue had a mind of it’s own and I didn’t even know what I was talking about! The examiners were fairly nice/friendly. The university itself was quite nice too. The campus isn’t too far from the CBD and there were a few buildings that looked like something out of Hogwarts.

Now I’m a bit careful in disclosing interview information in terms of the interview in order not to confer an unfair advantage to other applicants, but I am writing about them solely for memory’s sake. The blackout period is now over for domestic students and I’ll keep it brief. My first station was about robotics helping the elderly, my second station was about a grandmother favouring one dentist over another, my third station was about a professor helping her daughter win a competition, my fourth station was about a homeless man asking you for spare change, and my fith and final station was about another interviewee taking a pill that would ‘make [him] think like a nobel prize winner’.

So what else did I do in Sydney? Eat, sleep, repeat:

On the following Friday, I took time off RMH volunteering to observe orthopaedic surgery at Epworth Hospital Richmond. I woke up early to get to the Hospital before 7.30am and was met with Assoc. Prof. Martin Richardson (‘best shoulder surgeon’ and one of our guest lecturers), Dr. John Cormack (‘best’ anaesthetist), Dr. Tony Sobol (assistant surgeon) and the rest of the team. I saw a few frozen shoulder cases, a few cases of the acromion impinging on rotator cuff tendon, a mid-shaft clavicular fracture, a lateral ankle ligament regraft, a knee replacement, and a hip replacement. One thing I loved about the 14-hour session was the interaction. Either they or I would ask questions that I didn’t know the answer to, and I would either end up consulting Dr. Google, drawing on the white board or hear an eloquent lecture on just about anything. I got asked to ‘help’ anchor the shoulder joint when the surgeons were increasing the range of motion of the frozen shoulder. I got asked to ‘interview’ the patients and learnt how to take patient histories. I got to record an ultrasound during a nerve block for John. I got to play with the cement they use in the knee replacements and realised Martin wasn’t kidding in the lectures when he said it would get hot! The patients came in and out like a factory line and I didn’t want to take a break until about 7.30pm! It felt like a non-stop cycle of observing John anaesthetising patients and surgery, anaesthetising patients and surgery, ad infinitum. During the last operation, something didn’t go according to plan, but everyone was so calm and collected that it seemed as though nothing went wrong until the improvised a solution.

I thought I would never have to touch the brachial plexus this year again:


Lastly I volunteered for Open House at the Harry Brookes Allen museum of anatomy and pathology the day after. I didn’t do much there but an experience is an experience.

What’s next for volunteering: Teddy bear hospital winter checkup at Chadstone shopping centre (2/8/15) and possibly The University of Melbourne’s Open Day (16/8/15).

On a side note, the subjects that i’m taking next semester are Frontiers in Biomedicine (biomed core), Viscera and Visceral Systems (anatomy), Frontiers in Physiology, and Riffs: Guitar Cultures and Practice.



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