Thursday, 28 July 2016

Becoming a Doctor: What I'll Miss Most About Being a Student

Some time ago, I made a post about things I'd miss about being a medical student and in the interest of balance, I've come up with things I won't miss about being a medical student. I've had to hurry to write this so that I can post it before my first actual day as a doctor. So here are the list of things I won't miss:

Ward rounds. Standing around whilst the consultant mumbles to the junior doctors, whilst flicking through the observation charts is something I won't miss. I've spent a large part of my time with my eyes glazed over mindlessly following the ward round from room to room. It's hard to stay focused when they've forgotten you're there. Sometimes ward rounds can be up to 3-4 hours long. You just keep trudging along all that time no hope of rest or salvation. Why do they take so long?

Feeling like I'm taking up space. You always feel in the way, whether you're on the wards or in a clinic. I try to be as useful as possible but there's a limit to my powers and I spent a lot of the  early clinical years just awkwardly standing in the corner. I also had a special talent of standing in the wrong place like right in front of the shelves where all the equipment is held.

After 5 years of studying, I am very much broke. I think I've managed to keep it together as best as I could. There are some days where you really feel like you're actually working. You're doing jobs on the ward, running around fulfilling errands and then when you've finally paused to catch your breath, you think, 'I wish I was getting paid for this'.  Some days you get given the jobs that no one else can be bothered doing or the really boring stuff that make you want to bang your head repeatedly on the desk. That is the glamorous life of the apprentice. My car has been the biggest drain on my finances, but with some of the far off places the medical school has flung us off to, it has been my saviour.

Bringing me swiftly to my next point: travelling. My medical school absolutely loves to send us off to far away lands in the name of medical experience. Some of these places can take up to a couple of hours to get to on public transport. That's four hours of journey time a day. You start your first two years in the city that you applied to,  then end up spending last half of the course in the neighbouring towns and cities. Thank God for accommodation though.

I won't miss swapping wards every few weeks. By the time I've just about managed to remember the names of all the nurses, it's time to move onto the next one. You feel like the consultant finally recognises you  and the team sees you as one of them but nope, time to move on. It's time to start reintroducing yourself to a new set of nurses and consultants on another ward. Plus, when you swap wards so often you never properly know where everything is. If the nurse asks me to do some bloods and help send them to the lab, I'm going to have to find where the store room is, find out what the code is for the door, find out where the stuff I need is kept without all of this taking me an hour. The icing on the cake is if the piece of equipment I need happens to be one I've not come across before which happens sometimes as there can be variations between wards. In theory, we should be introduced to the ward at the beginning but with so many students rotating through the wards, who has the time.

I think that's a healthy sum of things I will and won't miss. I know that I'll probably experience some of these things again in the coming year. I won't delude myself into thinking ward rounds become infinitely better after med school. Wish me luck.

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