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Revision and full-time work

Discussion in 'GAMSAT' started by richadam, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    5 months to go (roughly), working full-time (shifts) as an HCA, and am pretty much starting from scratch (with some, but not too much Biology A Level knowledge), can it be done?

    I'm planning on spending my 2x30 minute breaks at work studying, whilst also spending an hour or so post/pre-work (depending on shift) doing some work. I'll also try and get in 4-5 hours on my days off.

    Just to add, I started a new job today as a HCA in a male only Orthopedic ward. Found it tough. I was thrown in very much at the deep end, and was expected to learn very quickly. The stuff I had to learn wasn't difficult, there was just a lot of it! It all got a bit daunting, but I kept my cool and tried to take it all in (despite only sleeping 1 hour the night before due to nerves!).

    I have to say, just this one day has cemented for me that I want to be a doctor. I'm not going to say I loved my first day, I really didn't; in fact, quite the opposite. I feel like I'm expected to know/do things with just 30 minutes of training, but oh well, I think I'll speak to the head nurse tomorrow and explain that I feel I need to shadow someone closer for another couple of days until I settle in. I really don't feel like I know what I am doing, or what I should be doing. However, I did thoroughly enjoyed talking to the patients and watching some of the medical procedures being done.

    Just a question. I have recently set up a business with my brother, and it's starting to pick up quite quickly. If things continue this way, it may well pay me through Medical school (or at least enough to live quite comfortably off). However, if it was to reach this stage, I'd need to commit many more hours, and with HCA'ing, revision and volunteering (in the pipe-line), I will definitely struggle to do this. I suppose my question is then, if I was to say HCA for 6 months, volunteer on the side, and then leave the HCA role to work on the business, would this be deemed acceptable? even if I kept up with the volunteering? Or would it be frowned upon that I had left the HCA position in order to pursue this venture?

    Thanks, and sorry for the essay,

    Rich
     
  2. Martigan

    Martigan Super Moderator

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    Do you need to volunteer as well as HCAing?
     
  3. Louise1987

    Louise1987 New Member

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    Hi richardam,

    Last year I had a similar situation, I was working 3 jobs whilst trying to revise and I do not have a strong science background. I ended up with 58 on my GAMSAT so I only got one interview (swansea). At the time I was doing a PhD (full-time), 2x HCA shifts at the weekends and hospital voluntary work in the afternoons and evenings twice a week. Without going into the ins and out of it, I ended up running myself into the ground, I slipped a disc (HCA), ended up with RSI and in my arms neck and wrists from working so hard in all my spare time revising and catching up on my PhD. It was really not a great time, I made myself very ill from taking so much on and I am still suffering the consequences of it all now (mainly the problem of trying to write a thesis with RSI in my arms!!). Go for it and try and do it but when I read this I wanted to tell you what happened to me when I worked every hour possible for 12 months and I wish someone had told me when I embarked on the work load I did to maybe take a step back.

    My GAMSAT wasn't great, I was in a lot of pain when I sat it, I could barely walk (slipped disc) and I was on pain modulators which were quite sedative. Was it worth it? I still have not come to a conclusion on that one but I know I would have a different attitude towards it now.

    Go for it and do what you can, but pace yourself and remember if you bust a gut now and end up burning out it will not pay off for the GAMSAT - that is what happened to me. Revise when you can but if you can't don't worry and try next year when you have more time?

    I know my post does not directly answer your questions but I was in a similar position and I probably made some wrong decisions. Don't do what I did basically!

    Good luck :)

    x
     
  4. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    I don't think you have to, but I want to. The role I've applied for would mean the world to me, so if it came to it I'd prefer to do that. Along with 6 months HCA experience, I think it would look very good on my 'CV' and strengthen my application further. By the way, I can't remember exactly, but I think my contract as an HCA comes to an end in December time anyway, so I may try and keep it up until then.

    Thanks for your lengthy response Lou! It's helped me think things through a lot! Did you manage to get a place at Swansea? The thing is regarding your comment on sitting GAMSAT the year after, I don't really think that is the issue at the moment. The business doesn't require too much work as it stands, but we're expecting (perhaps a little optimistically) for it to continue it's current state of growth into the future, and therefore I've estimated that in 3-4 months time I'll need to be committing much more time to it. In 3-4 months, I was hoping to have covered pretty much everything with my revision, and would be then focusing on practice papers a couple of times a week. So my concern is really post-GAMSAT, as I doubt I'd be able to handle all 3 (HCA, Volunteer, my business). If one had to go, I'd prefer it to be HCA'ing as it takes me a long time to get to work (I live quite a long distance away, and therefore driving there and back takes me over 2 hours every day), and the fact that my business could potentially support me through Med School is very appealing, especially as I wont have any sort of financial help from my parents or family.
     
  5. snakefisch

    snakefisch New Member

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    Best thing is possibly to keep it all up until interviews? Which are probably January, very latest March. Then you could do the business after then for 6 months til you start medschool, if you hopefully get a place!
    Either way it's good you have options, so long as you are still doing the HCA at time of applying I think it'll look good.
     
  6. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    Good point.

    I think I may be trying to make excuses to leave quickly. I really didn't enjoy my first day at all, and felt well out of my comfort zone, but I suppose the latter is a good thing. Perhaps in a couple of weeks I'll change my mind, but I just felt like I was doing everything wrong, and kept having to ask for help...
     
  7. snakefisch

    snakefisch New Member

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    Don't worry I think that pretty much sounds like accounts of other HCA's from when they first started work. I'm sure you're a quick learner and you'll be settled down in a couple of weeks. I think it also gives you more to talk about at interview and proof you can dive into something different and swim... :)
     
  8. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    That's reassuring! I spoke to a few of the other HCA's and they said it took them several months to get to grips with everything, but I absolutely hate feeling like an idiot. I don't like the way they've literally given me less than an hours 'training', and then expected me to go off and do it all on my own. I'd have hoped for at least 3-4 days shadowing a current HCA, and then go off on my own. I have absolutely no idea what is going on. 1-9pm shift tonight. Should be a bit 'nicer' than yesterdays and a little less hectic I'd imagine. I've been told I'm working with another HCA tonight, so I'm just going to explain to him that I felt lost yesterday, and would prefer to stick with him for the whole day until I become confident.

    Yesterday I was left on my own to get a patient who was one day post-op out of bed! He was in agony, and I felt like I was hurting him. Hated it!
     
  9. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    Just got back from my second shift... much more enjoyable, and felt like I was actually doing something!
     
  10. snakefisch

    snakefisch New Member

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    Awesome, that's really nice to hear!
     
  11. AA92

    AA92 New Member

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    Hi Guys, I am in the scenario that i have been made redundant but have a couple of properties rented out giving me some income. Since i have mortgages on all of them i was thinking it might be an idea to get a part time job, just in case if a tenant decides to move out, so that i dont get into arrears.
    Since my Science is really rusty and only about 5 months to go is it worth finding a job or shall i risk it and work full time on the GAMSAT PREP. I really want to apply next year and get atleast 65 to stand a chance for an interview at Nottingham.
    If push comes to the shove i have some savings to keep me going on the rainy days!
    Any advice guys, Please.
     
  12. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    Hey guys, just a quick update on the job. Despite a scary first week in which I felt that I was doing everything wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying the work now. The days go incredibly fast, and I've been able to spend some time with a couple of F1's which has been awesome.

    I've built up quite the rapport with several of the long term patients, and really like chatting to them when I get a spare minute.

    I'm on nights for the next few weeks it seems, which is actually a good thing for me! Less shifts = more time to study. Fingers crossed I'll be able to stay on nights for a good couple of months. From what I've been told, it seems that for several hours during the shift, nothing really needs to be done, so I'm going to take my books along on the off-chance that I can get some work done.

    With regards to work, I'm changing my strategy a bit. Until now I'd been fixated on Biology. Mainly because I'm quite good at it, and because I enjoy it. However, after reading The GAMSAT Review, the suggestion is that most Biology questions can be answered by using the info given to you, and with a basic understanding of the fundamentals. As such, I'm going to study just the following topics in some detail, and then spend most of my time working on Chemistry.

    Bio Topics:
    -The Cell
    - Osmosis/Water Potential etc
    - Heart Structure and Function
    - Genetics, Reproduction etc
    - Respiration


    Any other suggestions? These topics seem to come up rather frequently.... I've got a half-decent understanding of them already, so was planning on spending the next couple of weeks working over them again in a bit more detail and then moving on to Chemistry.
     
  13. richadam

    richadam New Member

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    Hey, what's your medicine applicable work experience like? Perhaps your time would be better spend improving this side of your application?
     
  14. AA92

    AA92 New Member

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    Yeh I am currently volunteering in a hospital for the last 9 months. I am currently in a palliative care unit, going round to various patients and asking them for a drink such as tea coffee. I get involved in talking to them and also offering drinks to the patient family members. I intend to carrying on with this untill I get called for interview!
    Do I need more varied experience or even HCA work?
     

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