Saturday, March 29, 2014

Medical Internship: Survival Tools - How to access the NHLS & patient's results from your phone/ipad

App of the day:

The Mercury Web Browser*

  • If you're an intern, you'll know one of your most important daily tasks is to make sure your patients blood results are in their folders before the morning round. Failing to do so puts you at risk of a serious deep frying during the ward round. Fortunately the National Health Laboratory Service is available online for doctors registered in provincial service and you can access your patients results with your smart phone or tablet! So I just run from bed to bed with my iPad, punch in the patient's number and in a second I'm jotting down their results. Sorry to those who aren't South African doctors, I guess this post is very specific.
  • To access NHLS I use Mercury. It's easy to use, has a nice looking interface and the NHLS can only be accessed through Internet Explorer or Fire Fox which are browsers available on the app.
  • Access all your patients results for the past 5 years from any hospital they've visited in the province.
  • After you've downloaded Mercury in the App Store, click the logo in the top right-hand corner:
  • Select 'User Agent', then change to IE (Internet Explorer) or Fire Fox.
  • This link will take you to this page where you can select your province and get to the right NHLS database for you i.e. select WWDISA for the Western Cape.
  • You'll then come to this page where your persal number is your username and the password you should have set up when you first got your contract, otherwise I think it's your ID no.

And voila, access to all your patients results in your hand. No more running around searching for a working PC in the hospital or wasting time on the phone calling the lab!

*The free version works great, don't bother buying the paid for one.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Medical Internship in South Africa: Survival Tools

So much has happened since I last posted. I'm not going to write a whole long story explaining why I got over blogging and why I'm posting today. I've just been thinking of my blog quite a bit lately and had so many ideas of things I wanted to post and share.

So before I do here's a quick update since we last met:

1. I'm no longer a Medstudent Barbie, I'm now all grown up and a qualified doctor. Although, you don't really stop learning in Medicine and my shoe collection has grown substantially since the salary hike so I guess I'll always be a MB at heart.

2. I moved to Cape Town into a beautiful apartment that overlooks the mountain and city bowl (there's some sea in there too) with my sister.

3. I have a boyfriend, he's a surgeon. We'll call him Mr S for privacy sake.

4. Next to decide: do I make a new blog with a new name or keep going here?

So how's internship going? Well it has its ups and downs (sometimes more downs) so I decided to start with a series of posts on things that have helped me survive so far. Let's start with what might be the number one survival tool, pretty much the flint and steel of a junior doctor:

An iPad Air.

Ok any tablet will do but I love the Air, it's really light which as an intern is important. You don't sit, you never sit, so you've got to have something light enough to keep in you bag or underarm that won't weigh you down. I don't know how I survived the beginning of internship without one!

App of the day:


  • Stored with all my favorite Movies, Rentals, TV Programs and Music Videos from iTunes. That's why anything smaller than the Air won't do as you need a nice enough sized screen to watch videos. This was the deciding factor when choosing between the Air and Mini.
  • Use: When on call and bored with nothing to do but wait for patients or having a dinner break & wanting a bit of an escape.

Currently I'm watching:

Similar winning apps I keep in my Entertainment bubble:
  • DStv
  • Netflix*
  • Disney Movies*
  • You Tube

*Click here to learn how to watch netflix in South Africa

Friday, September 14, 2012

Favourite Looks: Oscar de la Renta, Resort 2013

How one should dress everyday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sternum Cleavage / Winter Denial

<3 = balcony bikini tops + a flash of midriff* 

*not sure what you call it - that bit of skin between your waist and sternum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Angelina Jolie

Love the simple bun, makeup (if she's wearing any at all) and nails with the embellished dresses - which have enough ornamentation in themselves.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Born To Die

Favourite song* at the mo, Lana Del Ray - Born To Die, think most girls have felt this way about someone sometime...

* + the music video is a piece of art

Monday, October 31, 2011

Prof's Study Tips For Students

Got some great study tips from one of our Paediatric professors yesterday for all those studying medicine (well you can apply them to any course really):
  • After seeing a patient or having a tutorial go home that evening and study extensively around that topic from your text book, focusing on signs you picked up. The next day, 10 min before you start your other work, go back to that patient and look for the extra signs and symptoms you read about*.
  • Use more than one text book. Different textbooks teach different sections differently so you may get great notes about pneumonia from one but better notes about gastro in another.
  • When you're struggling to study: rather than reading for study sake, read as an examiner**. That is: look through the chapter for questions an examiner might ask about that topic i.e. definitions, classifications, important things on history, clinical signs you may illicit on examination, differential diagnosis, investigations and management. Write these out as quick point-form notes*** (makes later revision much easier).
If you're studying and have any valuable tips you've picked up along the way, PLEASE SHARE!

*Principle: Revision, revision, revision and the age old study technique of "see, hear, write and DO" (in order on increasing memory reinforcement)! For something to really stick you've got to revise the topic within 24 hours, then 7 days, then again during exam revision.

**This method really helps when you're bored, lacking motivation and need to get your studies focused i.e. those times you find yourself reading this first line: "this is a common disease" over and over again!

***Other than this I never make study notes anymore, in fact I haven't made any in years! In my opinion they're just a waste of time: you're wasting valuable time making pretty notes instead of actually studying and getting the info into your head; if they're messy you'll never read them again; you've tricked yourself into thinking you've studied but actually you've just had a arts and crafts session; you may accidently write something down wrong and then spend ages revising a mistake and lastly a text book is the best study note anyway - nothing you make will look or be as good!

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

My sister used this famous quote in a speech recently. I found it so inspiring, I thought I must post it up on my blog to encourage those out there (if there is anyone who still reads this blog) to keep standing out from the crowd:

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? 
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God. 
Your playing small does not serve the world. 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. 
It is not just in some; it is in everyone. 
And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our fearour presence automatically liberates others."

It's often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela but this is not the case. Rather, it originated with author Marianne Williamson.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ENT: What I Heard On Rounds, Update*

This cauterizing stick is $#&%! 
Serena/Slave wont you go to my car and get me my one?

 (apprehensively - this guy is giving me my marks after all)
Sure, which car? Where is it parked

(hands keys over..)
Its the black Maserati on the bridge, doctor's parking

(awkwardly trying not to look suprised and impressed aka super casual)
Ya sure, cool

....later that day

Listen I've got to leave early, I'm doing this advanced driving course at Kyalami, ya it came with my car

Wow that's awesome!

Ya, I'm doing a drifting course with Ferrari


I'm taking everyone for lunch, lets go!

...Next day

Check this Samsung pad thing I bought

Ow that's not as cool as an iPad

Oh I've got an iPad, 1 and 2 already, sitting in my draw at home

Well then why did you buy that?

(Not really listening to a word I say anyway)
... Got the kinect for Xbox 360, now that is one piece of equipment...

(drooling with admiration)

... It's in my home cinema, problem is it records everything you do, so got to watch where you put your hands, know what I mean...


.... You'll see when you get into private Serena, you'll have so much cash you'll end up buying every gadget just because you don't know what to do with all that extra money

(No I'll buy stilettos - starting with the Christian Louboutin Pigalle 120 patent-leather pumps)
*I thought I should add this in. In theatre whilst removing an invasive fungus from a young girl's skull the same surgeon commented that while in private he would charge about R60,000 to do this procedure (it was a 4 hour dangerous procedure and there was brain & nerve to dodge) this girl was "getting it for mahala" (zulu slang for 'free of charge').

This ENT, although very successful in his career and can drive around in any car he likes (was test driving a Ferrari Italia the other day), has the most beautiful bed side manner and is gracious to every person he comes into contact with, from lousy medstudent to high-profile prof. Not all doctors are as accomplished or rather, as wealthy and might not have Ministers of Parliament as patients but yesterday I saw him treat a street cleaner with the same kindness he would a celebrity. That kind of character in a man is rare and I admire it - he deserves every cent.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with a Medstudent Barbie: Harriet

This is something new that I'll be doing, interviewing other Medstudent & Doctor Barbies who's style and brains I'd want to pick. First up is Harriet, my BFF/sister-from-another-mister!

Harriet and her Labrador,  Jelly.
Harriet, what were your matric subjects and how many A’s did you get? 
Maths, English, Afrikaans, Biology, Science and Art - 5A's and 1 B

Wow you're a genius! ;) How did you get into medicine?
I was provisionally accepted in Standard 9.

I did a lot of community service and involved myself in as many activities as I could at school. I was a prefect, head of house, I did hockey and lots of art activities.  
I think my real advantage was that I won an art scholarship to The Design School. I stipulated this in my application and argued that I already had a future in art secured and paid for, but I would still choose medicine over it any day. 
Try doing debating, art, sports and lots of community service to get into medicine. Route for youself in your application and point out why you are different from the other applicants.

Ok, enough of the admin lets get into the important stuff!;)What are your favourite beauty & makeup products?

In terms of beauty products I love Dermalogica's Dermal Clay Cleanser, you can use it as a mask or a cleanser and it makes your skin so smooth and spot free + their Multivitamin Power Firm for eyes it great! When it comes to makeup I love almost anything from MAC. Especially their 'Peaches' blush, it looks great on sallow skin tones. I also love their Dazzleglass lipglosses, which make you look pretty and fresh even with minimal makeup. 'Naked Lunch' is the perfect eyeshadow shade for a natural look.

I'm obsessed with 'Naked Lunch' too - actually I think you were the one who introduced me to it! Any skin care regimes?
I use a combination of Neutrogena and Dermalogica, but I want to get into Restylane products longterm to prevent my skin from ageing. 
Sudocrem is an amazeballs must have for any girl! It's a zinc based cream that heals just about anything from sunburn to spots and small scratches. I put it on every night before bed on trouble zones and they are clear by morning.

Restylane is the business and Sudocrem a MUST-HAVE for the odd breakout agreed!
Where are your favourite shops in JHB?
Rozanne and Pushkin in Rosebank the Zone - they always have adorable little dresses! I also love Jenni Button's sleek elegant looks.  I have to say that my most favourite shop ever is Zara, which is coming out sooooooooon in JHB! Bye bye savings!

Books you love: (IE WHY MEN LOVE B&*#$%)

'Why Men Love Bitches' - it's an essential on every girl's bookshelf. Get it. You'll thank me!

Favorite restaurant, bar and club? 
I love Thomas Maxwell in Parkmore, really rich yummy food! Corner Cafe in Craighall is great for lunch or a light supper as well, great cozy atmosphere.  I like going to The Office for a drink on a friday night or sometimes The Baron on Fredman to meet up with friends. Don't have a favourite club at the moment! I wish I could take the people that used to go to Manhattan, put them in Clapham and get the DJ from Tokyo Star!

So I know you love baking, tell me, what do you like to bake the most? 
I love baking cupcakes and desserts like Lemon Meringue Pie or Tiramisu. I have Martha Stewart's Cupcake book which I luuuuuurve. Baking is such a great hands-on creative outlet.

Medicine is very demanding, how do you de-stress? 

I walk my dogs in the park near my house and sometimes I go there by myself and sit on the swings. It's very peaceful being in nature and in silence after the craziness of the hospitals. Otherwise I listen to meditations on my ipod or sit and draw. Vampire Diaries is also a great destressor ;) 
I try and keep medicine out of the other areas of my life so I spend time with non-medical friends and have other interests outside of medicine. Otherwise I would go crazy! The most important thing to me is having fun and not taking myself too seriously!

You’re in a great relationship but have such a busy life, any relationship tips? 

It's hard studying medicine and being in a relationship sometimes because my time is so limited. Holidays and events are always limited by calls and studying so it can be frustrating for both my boyfriend and myself.  I often feel guilty about it, but my boyfriend is supportive and understanding. 

We try to make the time that we have together really good by constantly reminding each other why we love each other and keeping the romance alive.  We set aside date nights at least once a week where we can reconnect after a stressful week. 

It's easy to fight a lot when you get stressed out, but it's even easier to say sorry and move on swiftly, especially when you know that what you fighting about is silly. It's really important that the person you are with accepts that your time is limited and your life is stressful when you are a med student and that they support you fully.

Okay lets get back to the medical stuff. You’re a straight A girl how do you study, talk me through this step by step. 
It really depends on how much time I have. So if I have:
A month to 2 weeks before - I would summarise my lecture notes or text book notes onto A2 size paper. Usually I summarize one weeks worth of stuff onto one side of the A2 paper and the next week on the back etc. This way when I need to remember something I think about where it is on the page in my mind.

I draw pictures next to my notes and use different colours.  It really helps me to use visual stimulation to remember things. I make up weird stories about drugs and syndromes. The best way to study is by using as much of your brain as possible to process the information, that way you make lots of connections. Making up weird stories and drawing little pictures uses your right brain, the normal writing etc uses your left brain.

 I will go over my summaries maybe 3 times before the exam. 

The way to really test yourself is to teach someone else the material (even if it's your dog). Saying something out loud means you are seeing it, saying it and hearing it - using more of your brain. 

A few days - the day before - this is when it really helps to have someone you can study with. Teach each other and also make up crazy stories. Say everything out loud and repeat the important stuff. If something's really tricky make a post it and keep coming back to it.  There's no time for making notes at this point, so keep it verbal and make the assosciations and stories really imaginative.

Any advice for people wanting to study medicine? 
First of all decide if this is really what you want to do! It's very stressful, not just because of the volumes of information, but also very emotionally stressful. Be prepared to feel stupid and belittled almost all the time, doctors are hard on other doctors and especially on students. 

You will cry, A LOT. Be prepared to see death, suffering, violence and sadness and know that in many cases there is nothing you can do about it.

 Be prepared for your marks to be way lower than they were in school - everyone in your class is super bright now.  
Be prepared to give up your social life to a large extent, not all your friends will understand when you turn down their 10th invitation because you are on call again. Medicine is not just a career, it becomes your life.  Wherever you go you will be a doctor, people will need you and ask for your help and expect you to get it right. Dont do it for the money or the prestige - neither are worth it! 

If you are prepared for all of this and you know that this is what you really want to do and you want to dedicate your life to other people then go for it! It can be unbeliveably rewarding, academically and emotionally. The satisfaction of doing your first procedure or helping your first patient or just making someone's pain a little better is amazing. At the end of your life you will know that you made a difference, that you helped your fellow man.

Get your applications in early, really market yourself, get involved in sports, cultural events and do lots of community service!

Thanks so much for doing this interview with me dollface! xxx

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blooming Marvellous

"Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem or saying a prayer." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I love keeping flower bouquets in my room, if I could I would buy a bouquet a week!

The florist I frequent the most would have to be:

Dunkeld Fruit & Flowers 
(R30 for deliveries)

Address: Dunkeld West Centre, 279/281 Jan Smuts Avenue

Tel: 011 341 0343 or 011 341 0101

I could browse and smell around here for ages and they have a huge selection of florals. Once you've chosen the flowers you like someone will arrange them in a beautiful bouquet for you! 
Flowers at Dunkeld

Roses at Dunkeld; Stems with blossoms adorning the table at a cocktail evening I had at my place

Once Home:

Best Way To Cut Flowers: 
Flowers keep best when cut with a sharp knife (un-serrated) and plunged immediately into water. Always make a cut on a slant, as it exposes more stem surface area. 
Remove leaves that will be under water in the arrangement.
Do not remove thorns from roses as it tends to shorten their life.

When the flower stem is cut, a small air bubble forms at the end of the stem and is trapped. This acts like a barrier and prevents more water from getting up the stem - even if you replace the stem in water.
To prevent air bubble blocks, make a new stem-end cut while holding it in water. A small droplet of water will cling to the stem end as you transfer the rose to the vase. This prevents the bubble from re-forming.

Ways to keep cut flowers longer:

  • Use plain, lukewarm water for most cut flowers, but use cold water for bulb flowers, such as daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips.
  • Change the water every 2 days - don't just top it off. This is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your flowers looking fresh!
  • Keep flowers out of direct sunlight, and move them to a cool place at night.
  • Give daffodils their own vase - daffodil stems give off a compound that is toxic to other flowers.
  • Keep cut flowers away from fruit, which releases a gas that causes flowers to age faster.
How To Prolong Your Flowers Life:

All commercial floral preservatives contain the basic components of the life support system for the cut flower: a biocide (to kill the bacteria that insert pores into the stem & thus inhibit water from getting to the flower), an acidifier (helps water move up the stem more easily), and sugar (flower food).

I used this mixture every second day for the blooms I bought last week Sunday and they're still looking gorgeous!
Credit for tips to: Marion Owen, Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Señorita

Vogue Espana
Penelope Cruz, Vogue US, June 2011. Dolce & Gabbana lace-and-cotton body suit; and lace corset dress

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pool Side Glamour

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Barbie Goes Backpacking - Bright Bags for College

image: Garance Dore

I'm looking to buy a few bright bags for work. I usually use a messenger bag but I fill it with so much stuff that by the end of the day it's given my shoulder a partial subluxation. They're fine as overnight bags when on call though. 

I really love the colours of the new Kipling range and I might just get the matching fanny pack too... I've never been a huge fanny pack fan but it's growing on me! These ones are chic and practical and anyway who would say no to a Louis!

Bright Pink and Powder White Kipling Seoul Backpacks with Laptop Protection, Kipling fanny pack, Louis Vuitton fanny pack

Speed Racer: Louis Vuitton denim fanny pack with tassel, Ashish studded fanny pack

Acid Trip: Sonia by Sonia Rykiel yellow bag, Chanel quilted purse, Dsquared2 backpack, See by Chloé nylon key chain (on yellow bag);

L.A.M.B. graffiti bag, LeSportsac yellow bag.

Kipling backpack, See by Chloé tote
images: Teen Vogue
Backpack For:
Macbook Pro/iPad
The odd textbook
Pencil bag
Small makeup bag of essentials (concealer, bronzer, lipliner, liquid-liner, mascara, lipgloss)
Perfume and deodorant
Johnson's and Johnson's cleansing wipes
Alcohol hand sanitizer 
Sun lotion + Raybans (for the odd venture outdoors)
Car keys
Litmann stethoscope
Otoscope and ophthalmoscope
Protective glasses
Lunch box
Water bottle
Moleskine weekly notebook and ruled notebook

Quick Access Fanny Pack For:
iPod nano
Country Road Sharni Zip Around wallet
Neutrogena Norwegian anti-aging hand cream
Clorets Eliminator chewing gum
Pen, pencil + mini Stabilo Boss highlighter
Bobbie Brown Lip Balm SPF 15
My new Kodak easytouch digital camera!  

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