Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Quarter Life Crisis

I should probably elaborate on my last post a little. According to wikipedia I'm having a quarter life crisis, a time usually in the mid twenties where one is no longer a young and care free individual but at the same time not quite ready to cross the line into being a true 'grown up'. It is perhaps a little cliche and even melodramatic to describe this as a crisis but there doesn't seem like a better way!

I'm currently working as an F2 in A+E, a job which I enjoy and dislike equally. It is tremendously interesting, varied and requires much improvisation but the shifts are a pain in the arse, some of the staff rather useless and I don't feel I'm particularly good at it. The reason for the last point is I lack the depth of medical knowledge (partly through being a lazy medical student and partly through being at a shit medical school) I also have a crisis of self-confidence in A+E, something I'm not really used to. Another thing that doesn't help is I'm staying in hospital accommodation during the week and only seeing missbliss when I'm not working (which is rare in A+E). I hate my prison cell room with a passion but it's the cheapest, most convenient option. One thing I do know is that I will really miss A+E as a job but will be glad to be rid of the shifts!

Careerwise, I'm pleased to say that medicine is for me, I just have no idea what specialty. I know I almost certainly don't want to do general medicine although I would love to have the level of knowledge that goes with being a medical registrar! I've always had a passion for orthopaedics but have next to zero anatomy knowledge and am not quite the right personality type. I've also always liked and been quite good at radiology but I suspect that would bore me and I miss the acute side of things. A+E is great fun but the politics and shifts are hurrendous! GP land would suit my personality and lifestyle but again I would find it rather dull. The option of being a GP with an interest in A+E might be a possibility to combine the best of both worlds, I have spoken to GPs who do this so I know it is possible but am not sure how easy it would be.

So where does this leave me? Well specialty training applications open in a month and I haven't a clue. The other option is New Zealand for a year but whether that would help I don't know, I suspect it would just be a postponement of the same issues but at least it would be an interesting adventure!

Crisis might be a strong word but it is all I can think about at the moment and it's driving me a little bit crazy and making me feel useless! Although I'm not quite at the stage of buying a bright red sports car (as much as I'd love to, I don't have the money). And the loose women? well that just doesn't appeal in the slightest, I'm quite happy with missbliss thanks!

Any advice would be grately appreciated.


J said...

I know the feeling, I and many of my friends are in exactly the same position as you and just don't know what to apply for. Personally I'm swaying towards a year in NZ - once in the UK system it seems pretty hard to leave so after F2 is the obvious time to go. This way I get to delay things for a year, get more experience and have some fun as well. Remember whatever you go into you will probably be doing it for the next 30-35 years so there is no great rush to get started!

Catherine said...

New Zealand is a fantastic country - so much culture and history, stunning landscapes and an inordinate amount to see and do. Although I was only there for a month, I'd love to go back one day. If this is your only chance to do something like move to another country and see something completely different - do it! I know a doctor and her husband who are thinking of doing the same but for 6 months, as this will probably be the last chance for them to do something like that.

I'm sure you won't be the first, or last person to ever feel like you haven't a clue what you want to specialise in!


brokenangel said...

What about GP with BASICS on the side. Should give you the best of both worlds and seeem to be becoming increasing common.

Sam said...

First, I wouldn't exclude Otho if I were you. Applications to specialty training requires you to demonstrate your dedication to the specialty but does not require you to have spent a rotation in it.

I would list all the specialties I know of according to how I 'think' I like them or likely to do well in them ... or both. Then use the process of elimination to exclude those you 'really' can not se yourself doing - some docs don't like Opthalmology no matter what, for example. Keep on eliminating until you can not make up your mind anymore ... and apply to whatever is left. Afterall, you never know what you will get at the end! So, it will be the Royal Colleges who will make your mind up for you at the end of the day!

Good luck :-)

Anonymous said...

I think that the politics and shifts are going to follow wherever you go, unless you go into private practice and have less red tape, etc.

How about one of the emergency walk-in centres? A lot of them are 9 - 5, but more interesting than a GP practice.

Going abroad could be good- my friend worked as a radiographer for 2 years after graduation, then went to Honduras for a while. Had an amazing time, but came back and is now remembering exactly why she left. The politics, the shifts, etc.

I don't think you should let something stand in your way of ortho- if your heart is in it, it's amazing how much the rest of things fall into place.

Good luck!

XE said...

I'm not entirely clear on how your system works... what would be required of you training-wise to be a GP right now? How about the other positions you mentioned, how much more training would be required? If you think you may like GP (with emerg shifts thrown in there) and are able to practice it with the current level of education you're at, you can always try it for a year or two and see how things go! You're still plenty young, so then if you don't end up liking it you can feel free to go back for additional training, can you not? At least, it's an option here...

XE said...

Nice to see you back by the way. Are you and MissBliss married yet?

Stephen said...

Hello, I am currently in New Zealand, taking a year between F2 and whatever. I love it, I'm really, really glad I did it.

Firstly the country is beautiful - I often wish I'd come here just to travel and not to work. But even work is pretty good.

Much of the work is comparable to the UK, the main difference being that they are very short staffed. This has the advantage of letting you pick which job you want to do, but the disadvantage of running on skeleton crew some of the time.
But the work environment where I am at least is lovely.

It will be interesting to see how easy we all find it to get ST jobs for next year, but about half of the UK grads out here are planning to stay longer.

sandra may said...

I can't believe you are an F2 now! I was reading your blog as a student!

I am a qualified nurse now, and find the transition odd.

I have no words of wisdom for you other than to follow your heart.

Anonymous said...

Consider the routine work of the speciality that you're applying to not just the high adrenaline exciting once in a blue moon moments.

Jo said...

I am not in medicine, so can't comment on the job situation, but my husband and I have just moved (permanently, fingers crossed) out to NZ, and are loving it!

One of my friends did a year in NZ as part of her medicine training, and only came back at the end of it because her father was ill.

PhD Scientist said...

Hmm. If I were your age I think I'd be embracing the New Zealand option. Given the length of a career (which is loooong, speaking as someone who started in a paid job at 25-ish and has now been at it >20 yrs) there is no tearing rush to get started.

Re speciality, there are some sort-of-acute type radiologists, namely the interventional lot. Hard to get into, but has something in common with surgery. Very high-tech and gadget-y too. Sound vaguely your sort of thing?

Anyway, glad to see you are back blogging.

PS Though as you will remember I don't really agree with your assessment of our mutual medical school, I imagine you will have had a good Schadenfreude laugh at the National Student Survey results. If you hadn't heard, there is, er, a considerable amount of garment-rending and heaping-ashes-on-head going on at said School these days.

The Little Medic said...

[b]PhD Scientist[/b] - I had heard about the NSS results and found it rather hilarious that they had dropped 3
places to bottom. In a way I'm pleased because it shows I'm not alone in my thoughts and opinions. I also hear they had the audacity to ask graduates for feedback having
ignored everything that has been said to them for years!

PhD scientist said...

One of the odder things is that Keele, who run exactly the same PBL course and curriculum as M'cr, did much better in the NSS. There are various ways to interpret that, but one is that it is the sheer size of the M'cr set-up which is majorly part of the problem - obviously it tends to feel rather huge and impersonal. How to address that is a different question, as obviously there is little to no chance student numbers are going to shrink.

Also, the things that look like a solution to one possible source of problems don't "play" in terms of other sources - e.g. upside of going to Preston for yrs 3-5 is that you are part of a small group, so less "impersonal", therefore good - you'd think. But downside in practice, as you know - hardly anyone volunteered for Preston so a large chunk of the students there felt mutinous 'cos they didn't want to be in Preston. *sigh*

And overshadowing all is the fact that as many as 20% of M'cr medical students say they didn't want to be doing a PBL course in the first place.

This last one has been a definite shock to the teaching staff, mainly as you might wonder what such people were doing ever applying to M'cr - which is famous for running a PBL-based course Which is a discussion I vaguely remember us having at some stage in the past.

All in all, I'm relieved I'm not one of the people trying to decide what to do. So far, first new thing is that students starting this yr are being allocated "academic advisors", clinicians who will stay their advisors right through the 5 yrs of the degree. There are muttering about other changes to come later, but I'm much too lowly to be privy to the detail.

claire said...

I'm studying at manchester at the moment and your comment of attending a shit medical school scares the crap out of me. PBL leaves me feeing like there are massive gaps in my knowledge but everyone has assured me that 'it al comes together in 5th year!' Is this true or is it just bullshit from people trying to make themselves feel better as well?
ps my vote's for NZ