Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things I Have Learned During Internship #2

I actually enjoy teaching (or trying to teach) medical students.

It probably helps that it has been a very short amount of time since I was a student, so I remember what it is like. As a student, any time you get doing interactive learning of practical skills feels immensely valuable and helps keep you interested.

Also, there are no "gunners" in the group of students who are on my ward, although they are all generally enthusiastic, so it is fun to tell them what I know and try to get them to start learning practical skills.

Nobody has followed me into the bathroom yet, so all is well with the world. I guess that since I'm not the one marking them, they don't feel the need to impress me with their keenness at every opportunity.

This results in a level of interaction where they are with me for only short periods of time, and are doing other things most of the time, allowing for brief and enthusiastic interactions where I don't get tired of them, and they don't completely exhaust my limited pool of knowledge. Fun times.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New blog to follow

A previous commenter mentioned her blog, and I liked it so much that I had to link to it here:

I'm a huge advocate for looking after your personal health, both physical, mental and every other aspect of your life, so this is just the kind of thing I am passionate about, and it would do you some good to have a read, too.

I know that it is drummed into us all of the time - doctors and medical students don't take enough care of our own health. This is bad for us, and if we end up unhealthy as a result of lifestyle choices, our patients are less likely to believe our advice when we counsel them to change their ways.

Plus, we end up miserable and ill, and nobody really wants to end up an unhappy and sick, particularly if your entire day is spent looking after people suffering the exact same issues, right?

We don't need to be health fanatics, but a little moderation, exercise, stress relief and balance (where we can fit it in) can go a long way.

Ironically, two months into internship I'm feeling better both physically and mentally than I have in a long time, and I was genuinely happy by the end of medical school. I got into some healthy habits to cope with the extreme stress I felt when starting out, and as a result, they have helped me feel much happier now that I have gotten used to life as a junior doctor.

What have I learned works for me? Meditation (relaxation, mainly), moderate exercise with my significant other (making it social), and eating well.

My favourite tip so far? I read from various sources that it was a good idea to have some kind of ritual when you finish work at the end of the day that would help you disconnect from your "work time" and help you enter in to "home time".

For me, that is going for a nice walk or run with my husband. I get to have a good chat and get some incidental exercise. I know it isn't much, but it has gotten to the point where it doesn't feel like exercise any more. I know I'll go through rotations where this isn't possible every day, but it has been lovely being able to establish this habit.

For other people, the ritual can be five minutes of relaxation and deep breathing in the car before getting out when you arrive home. Others need to spend a certain amount of time alone in their own space when they get home from work, so they can switch off and re-energise before entering into their family space.

The point is that we need to be able to detach from work in order to live a full and well-rounded life. Medicine can be all-consuming, but this does not produce healthy or happy doctors, and being a well doctor is a vital thing that you can do for your patients, yourself and for your family.

Take care.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things I Have Learned During Internship #1

You can survive a whole busy evening shift on nothing but adrenaline, two biscuits from the ward kitchen and a bottle of water.

But you don't want to do this, and it is awful.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Yes, I'm still alive.

Internship has been challenging so far. Each day gets better. Things run smoother. I can handle more.

I like to think that in a year's time I'll look back and realise how much I have learned.