Wow, it has been quite a while since I have opened this page and my word a lot of things have things changed. Firstly, my apologies for my absence over the past few months, I took a tiny break that then turned into a prolonged leave and I have nothing to blame but my own laziness. I had a lovely Christmas break and New Years and took a few small getaways to replenish the soul. I do hope everyone has been well and I wish you all the best for 2021! Now, here’s my second piece of news. To everyone who followed my journey throughout last year, I am happy to report that I am officially a doctor! No more introducing myself as a medical student, no more utilising tutorials as an excuse to run away. I am finally a qualified (although the imposter syndrome game is still strong) health professional and have started working at my new hospital.
So, how has it been I hear you ask? Not bad to say the least. I have lucked out and managed to start on a very relaxed rotation for the first two weeks, which has helped me ease into the year. It’s called “Hospital in the home,” and essentially we take care of patients who remain at home and aim to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. It means I have had very little patient contact (or many jobs to do for the matter) for the past two weeks, however it has allowed me to practise using the electronic medical records system and to roam around the wards trying to commit their layouts to memory. From next week I will actually be attached to a general medicine unit and to say I am nervous is a bit of an understatement. I know I will be faced with extremely complex and unwell patients and will have to try and keep up with long and fast-paced ward rounds. Even though as an intern (aka first-year resident for my American friends) I know I am merely a glorified secretary for senior doctors to delegate jobs to, there are still many things for us to keep track of and take responsibility for. Additionally, I am always the first point of call for anything related to my team, from patients needing analgesia for pain crisis, to abnormal results that need reviewing, I will be notified of them all. I have to learn to prioritise tasks, how to funnel them in the right direction and to know when to escalate to my superiors. These are things that as I look back on my years as a medical student, no one had ever sat me down and taught me. Perhaps it seems like common sense, perhaps they are things that can only be learned through experience, but I sometimes wish my degree had spent a little more time on teaching the realistic aspects and jobs of being an intern. I’ve only been on for a few days and have been told on several occasions that I do not need any medical knowledge (in fact, it will be advantageous), but will need to know how to keep patients safe and to perform the necessary jobs efficiently. I suppose only time will tell whether I sink or swim,
In terms of the schedule of an intern, during this rotation we are rostered on for 7 days straight, between 11 to 14 hours, and then have a 7-day break. It is very different to the hospital I trained at, and I haven’t decided whether I like it or not. In terms of hours it averages out to roughly 78 a fortnight, which is what we are contractually obliged to, but I have to say working from dawn till dusk for an entire week is quite exhausting. Especially since unlike most of my colleagues who have moved to live basically next door to the hospital, I am still a 35-minute drive away. Yes, I am still living at home and leeching off my parents, but whilst I flirted with the idea of renting a place I decided I wanted to save as much as I could this year in hopes of purchasing a home in a few years. And although I am complaining about my early starts, I am appreciative of not needing to do any housework when I get home and having all of my meals lovingly made for me every day. I am very lucky to be where I am and to have the family that I do.
So, that’s the down-low of what I have been up to! Of course, little old pessimistic me is terrified of my first proper day of work on a huge ward next Tuesday, but did you expect anything else from me? And before anyone comments, I know that I will likely catch on quick and that everyone before me has been through the same ordeal, but that’s the thing with irrational fears, they cannot be quelled by logic. Thank you to all who have been there for me over the past year, I hope to have many more stories to tell for 2021!