I’ll keep this short, as there isn’t really a great deal to be said about observational visits. All the same, it’s helpful to know a few things before you go out on your first visit.
Make sure you take notes.
Even if you never look at them again, you’ll be surprised how much you remember when placement comes around. Plus, it not only keeps you engaged, it also makes you look interested, so your assigned physiologist will no doubt enjoy talking to you and you’ll enjoy listening.
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to go overboard and bombard your guide with all manner of questions just because you feel you have to. Ask pertinent questions about how the department works, how the hierarchy dictates job roles within healthcare science and then LISTEN to the answers.
Throughout your visits and your placement, you might notice that physiologists ask where you’ve been already, and then mention a staff member from that trust. Physiologists are relatively small in number. They know each other. They talk to each other. If you make a good impression at one trust, it’s extremely likely that the other trusts will know about it. This can be a good thing if you use it to your advantage.
This year is the start of a three year job interview, so whilst there’s still a lot to learn and you aren’t expected to be an expert, remember that you’re always being assessed.
You are on these visits to observe, so refrain from passing comment to patients about their ECGs, echo and whatever else you witness and observe patient confidentiality.
Watch your assigned staff member and listen to what they do. You’ll learn a great deal that way and as a bonus, not get into any trouble for being inappropriate; professional suitability interviews aren’t a good thing at ANY point in your career, least of all now.
Thanks and good luck!
The Student Physiologist