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.


Anonymous said...

i'm sorry if this is off-topic, I was wondering if you could tell me how a trainee surgeons (ST2) life is in terms of social life? do they have enough time for family? what are the typical working hours? also do they have lots of exams? as the training is for around 6-7 years


Anonymous said...

hey LM, having my first surgery placement with similar aspirations I must say it is a bit dissapointing - especially when told that prospective surgeons should "look forwards to getting a divorce" and "fit in or fuck off".

Starting to think that spending 10-15 years sucking up to egotistical superiors probably isnt worth it.

I hope future placements will prove me wrong anyways. Glad to hear how F1's going, hope you and missbliss are enjoying working life together.


Milk and Two Sugars said...

Hey, it's great to read an update from you! Also lovely to hear an intern's account that's optimistic whilst being factual. Good luck with the career search. :)

Ms-Ellisa said...

It's nice to see you're enjoying your job LM...

Question: Do you have foreign students doing F1?!

Foreign EU students, who have completed their studies at home, that is...

I am very curious of what you mean by "surgical ethos"... could you elaborate?

All in all is it worth it? Would you recommend applying for the F1 year in the UK after my degree?

madsadgirl said...

Great to have a post to let us know how things are going. Miss your regular updates but a little something now and again is better than nothing. I hope you continue enjoying yourself, and that you soon find your true niche in medicine.

ditzydoctor said...

yeyy a post! :D

glad to hear it's going swimmingly so far (and plenty of crust ends of bread!) :D

hope you get it settled soon and may you and missbliss continue in erm, bliss :)

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Good to hear that things are going well for you LM. I have to say that the F1's pre-op assessment is by far the most informative piece of paper in the notes for me when I come and see the patients before their op. I know pre-op clinics are mind-numbingly tedious (I've been there myself!) but they are actually really useful.

Coming from a totally biased perspective, if you're level-headed and caring (and, judging by your blog, I think you are) and you want to stay in hospital medicine but like doing hands-on, practical work, if you like making a real and tangible difference to your patients (who will love you for it) and you don't want to have to deal with the personality deficits of surgeons for the rest of your life - well a career in anaesthetics has a lot to offer...

Just a suggestion ;)

Alberto said...

Good questions Ms-Ellisa!

Want to say something provocatory: I've read on the news that there is a protest going in UK because "british jobs should be for british only".

Maybe even EU doctors would be not so well seen for F1 nowadays?

steph said...

Good to hear how things are going.

As I read through your post I couldn't help thinking that a career in anaesthetics might suit you well.

I was going to suggest you talk to The Junior Doc when bingo! I see he got there first!

I'm sure as the year goes on, your choice of specialty will become more obvious (or at least narrowed down) so for now, just continue to enjoy all the tasters.

PhD scientist said...

Welcome back to the virtual world.

The rumour always used to be that the plastics guys were by some way the least surgical of the surgeons.

My former anaesthetist other half would back much of what Michael Anderson says about anaesthetics, though I'm not sure she would agree about it meaning you didn't ever have to deal with what one might term "the surgical personality"...! After all, it is a surgeon on the other side of the sheet doing what they do with the non-air entry part of the patient.

PS An old anaesthetists' joke, which I am sure Michael has heard, refers to said sheet as the "blood-brain barrier".

DundeeMedStudent said...

hey there glad things are going well. Try ophthalmology- you get to do surgery without all the egos in general/ortho/plastics/colorectal etc etc etc.

rosiero said...

Have just found your blog and plan to be back to read through your previous posts - when I get an hour or two (ha ha) - my 17-year-old daughter is planning to follow your footsteps but the medical interview she had last week highlights the incredible competition. She may not even get in!!

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry if this is off-topic, I was wondering if you could tell me how a trainee surgeons (ST2) life is in terms of social life? do they have enough time for family? what are the typical working hours? also do they have lots of exams? as the training is for around 6-7 years

nas said...

Lol you need to explain this to me

"Medicine is infinitely more imprecise than textbooks would have you believe"

Im still a second year med student so i guess im going to learn what this means in the future years