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Got the job? Great! Are you ready to deal with new technology?

This post is going to highlight some key technology that you are likely to come across. You may or may not receive some of this information during your induction, but you want to be aware of these things.

Your level of experience with electronic medical records depends on where you have come from and the experience you have had. In most UK hospitals there is some degree of use of electronic medical records. The extent tends to vary. Most hospitals have electronic laboratory services. This a very important thing to learn to use and its learning should be prioritised. You will need to ensure you have access to it, you are able to review bloods taken from your ward or your patients, so you do not miss out on requests. The phlebotomy service is a cool thing and you will find forward planning using this service time saving.

Another piece of technology you may need in your work, is the blood gas machine. The first and most important thing is finding out where they are in the hospital. This means you know where the nearest one is to you and you know where to go next if there are problems with the closest one. The next thing to work out is access to the machines. There is usually a login process. You either need to have access yourself or know who can provide access for you. The key thing is knowledge ahead of need. You do not want to be stressed about these little things when you have a critically unwell patient.

There is a patient handover system that exists in every unit. It is varied within hospitals and across trusts. Most trusts use some form of electronic data transmission. The variation comes in the form. Some trusts have databases, others use word documents that are edited on drives that are accessible to users. Regardless of the format, get familiar with it quickly. Find out passwords to access it, how to use it and quite importantly how to correct the errors you make.

The radiology service usually requires training in order to access images and request imaging. Prioritise setting up access, as not being able to view or request images can be problematic especially during on calls. If your on-call commitment involves providing cross cover services (that is covering multiple specialties at the same time for example general surgery and urology), it might be worth understanding what scans people are happy for you to request. For example, senior review may be required before requesting a CT KUB in a young female patient. With radiology reports, always go back to see what images the person has had. This can either be before making a request or before discussing the patient with a senior. This provides more clinical information to you but invariably you will get asked if the patient had previous imaging. It saves you from being ill prepared

No matter which department you choose to work in you will you will see technology used that you have either never heard of or have only ever read about. If you are being asked to use it, feel free to say that you are not sure how it works. My funniest experience I like to share, is the first time I saw a hover mattress being used. The anaesthetist had asked for as many hands to move the patient as possible. Once there were enough people, I was ready to heave. When the hover mattress was inflated, I stood in confusion soaking in how it worked. The next time I was in theatre with someone who also had never seen it being used, we were able to share a laugh about it.

I will probably do a post about my funniest experiences in the NHS but for now, get familiar with the technology you need to do your job properly.

I hope this helps. Please share your experiences and comments

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