Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Work is hard at the moment, I'm working 11 hour days most days at the moment excluding on calls (EWTD my arse) and it's going to get worse over the next month as 1 of us will be doing the job of 2 people as we use up our annual leave! I'm working the weekend ( if I've not contracted norovirus) and frankly things are starting to do my head in - mostly incomptence an uselessness on the part of other people.

Anyway when is one supposed to do the things that everyone else always seems to have time to do?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Half Way

This year's cohort of 'new' doctors have just passed the half-way point, this includes me. Six months down, six paydays celebrated, and a wealth of experience gained. They say time flies when you're having fun and time  has certainly flown by, does this mean it has been fun? Well.... yes on the whole it has. I very pleased to say that I really enjoy what I do most of the time, in fact the only thing I hate  about the job  is pre-op assessment (where the surgical F1s see elective surgical cases a week or so before they are admitted to pick up any potential problems which might be encountered). I'm not sure why I hate pre-op so much, I just find the whole process horrendously boring.

Things I have learnt in the past 6 months include:
1.  I don't enjoy being fast-bleeped - it generally means something catastrophic has happened
2. There are some awfully sad things that happen to people
3. Nobody else likes the crust ends of bread loaves - which suits me!
4. Bourbon biscuits are the most popular among doctors
5. Looking into someone's eyes as they die unexpectedly is something you don't forget in a hurry
6. Most surgical stereotypes are true
7. The way to a nurse's heart is chocolate cake
8. Medicine is infinitely more imprecise than textbooks would have you believe
9. I am stoical - apparently
10. I don't have the faintest clue what I want to do...

I wrote last just before I started my surgical post and frankly I was dreading it because of the reputation it has. The past two months haven't been anywhere near as bad as I was expecting. It is rather busy and I tend to finish later than I did when doing medicine but it could be much worse. Surgery is a lot different to medicine; medicine was busy but steady all day long but surgery, at least as a house officer, is chaos from 8 till 9am then ridiculously quiet for much of the day until about 4pm when things generally start to go tits up, blood results come back and patients for the next day come in. 

Before I even went to medical school I wanted to be a surgeon, this ambition continued throughout medical school but I'm not a stereotypical surgeon and I'm now having somewhat of a career life crisis as I try and figure out what the hell I want to do. I really enjoy the practical aspects which points me towards surgery but there is this whole surgical ethos which I just can't find it in myself to agree with. A big consideration has to be the sort of colleagues you're going to have in future and I'm just not sure I'm a surgeon. After 2 months of surgery, I can see myself being absorbed by the attitude and I don't like it at all. I enjoyed my medicine job far more than I thought I might but the idea of being a medical registrar scare the bajesus out of me! The only thing I think I'm certain on is that I like hospital medicine rather than general practice - but I'm not even 100% sure of this. Some might say its a little early to be worrying abut this but in less than 12 months I'll have to apply for a specialty. 

In the meantime I hope to continue having fun and gaining more experience.