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Coping with situations for the first time

Dr Michael Peters, from the BMA wellbeing support services, gives advice on a series of 'first times' for new or trainee doctors.


How is it going to feel?

Your first cadaveric dissection can be an unsettling experience. It is important that you prepare for it in advance, as the way you think about death will go a long way to shaping what kind of a doctor you become.

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Meet the parents

It is a privilege to be at the birth of a baby, but it can also be overwhelming. Students should prepare themselves by ensuring they know what their role will be during the delivery and meeting the parents beforehand.

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Don't take it personally

Don't take it personally, be candid about what you can and cannot do, and don't lose your temper. Michael Peters has some advice for dealing with angry patients.

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Finding your feet

Advice for making maiden ward-round presentations bearable: do your homework, treat your patient as an individual and don't whatever else you do attempt to bluff it if you can't answer a question.

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Like drawing blood from a stone

Michael Peters offers advice to medical students about how to take blood for the first time. Watch experienced colleagues, build a rapport with your patient and don't panic - lots of practice will make perfect.

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Welcome to the Big Pond

When you begin your medical degree you may find that, unlike at school, you are not always top of the class, but just one of many bright, motivated people. Read our advice on dealing with the feelings this may provoke.

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Coping with the death of a patient

When a patient dies medical students may experience a range of emotions, including sadness, guilt and anger. It is important to acknowledge such feelings and often helpful to share them with others.

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