UQ Medicine's useful hints for junior doctors
Are you thinking of studying medicine at the University of Queensland?
The UQ School of Medicine is a leading provider of medical education and research in Australia, and with the country’s largest medical degree program, they are the major single contributor to Queensland’s junior medical workforce.
Not just available to train students to become doctors, UQ also supports their graduates. Below is an excerpt from UQMedicine magazine, Summer edition.
Useful hints for junior doctors
Do not delay the conversation due to fear.
The further the discussion is postponed, the more harm is done to the patient by not getting the best management for them sooner.
If possible, attempt to have the conversation with family or friends present so that the patient doesn’t feel like there is a group of doctors surrounding them while they are alone.
Be cautious however, as sometimes relatives or friends have a positive or negative influence and try to arrange it so that they are present or absent accordingly.
Expect that the discussion will be uncomfortable.
It would not be a courageous conversation if it did not. Once you acknowledge that the conversations will become uncomfortable and plan for the worst, you can sometimes be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Get straight to the point and be honest.
Establish the agenda early in the discussion. If you are not precise on what you are trying to get across, the patient will not understand what you are trying to say. There can be no ambiguity with words, no medical jargon or any misunderstanding of what is being discussed. Acknowledge the seriousness of the discussions and have an honest talk about what is your medical opinion and what you believe is best for the patient. Constantly reinforce ‘what is best for the patient’ during the dialog.
Go in with a plan with a mental list of what you need to cover and don’t leave until it is done.
If things become uncomfortable, it is an easy way out to not talk about what is needed to be discussed and to come back the next day while the patient has another day of suboptimal management. Sometimes patients need time to think about large decisions but often patients will not want to make a decision and keep going on as they currently are. In these cases you need to stay there and not leave until a decision is made or you need to give a deadline.
If you are not the treating doctor and the patient does not know you well, try to have present somebody from the medical team known to the patient.
If somebody has good rapport with the patient in particular (often the resident or a nurse), attempt to have them present. Ensure you are as well informed about the patient as possible before you begin the discussion, as an error in the current diagnosis, prognosis or other issues can have negative consequences.
Avoid the final decision coming across as being made by the doctor rather than the patient.
Gently guide them towards that decision and let them have a final say so they do not feel like they do not have any input regarding their treatment.
UQ Medical School Doctor of Medicine
Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: January
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: UQ Medical School applications are assessed on a rolling admissions (first come, first served) basis. It is recommended that applicants apply early to increase their chances of timely assessment.
- Completed degree (Bachelor, Master, PhD)
- GPA equivalent to 5.0 on UQ’s 7.0 scale
- MCAT score (minimum of 8/8/8 or 8/8/M/8) or GAMSAT score (minimum of 50 in each section)
- Compulsory consultative meeting with the UQ School of Medicine