Monday, July 18, 2011

Congratulations, Interns of 2012!

The job offers have starting trickling in for next year's interns.
I can't believe it was only one year ago that this was me. So much has changed since then. My career aspirations are still the same, but a lot of other things have shifted slightly sideways.

So, to next year's interns, I can share with you some things that happened to me, and you may also experience in the first half year of your working life as a doctor:

You will find your feet as a junior doctor. Granted, like me, you may spend the first couple of weeks absolutely scared out of your skull. But you'll get used to it and after a few months, you will manage to have some nights where you don't dream of clinical scenarios and ward rounds all night long . . .

You will face challenges, both personal and professional, that you will overcome with varying degrees of success.

People will find their way into your lives, if you let them, and these people will change the way you see the world.

Some people will loosen themselves from your lives and move on and you may miss them for what they used to be to you, but that is okay because we all change.

You will grow up, some of you will become more cynical, but some of you will become more zen and learn how to enjoy the small things in life, and many of you will do both.

You may go from being terrified at choosing to write and dispense that first script for a drug (probably an antibiotic) to writing them in 30 seconds flat and knowing the number in a box off the top of your head.

You will hopefully come to see that being a doctor is a job, not some mystical calling sent out to you from the universe. I think this is good. If you see it as a job rather than an entitlement or a state of being, you are more likely to realise that you need to work hard at it to be good, and more likely to leave it at work when you can. You may also realise that other doctors are people just doing their jobs, too.

You will encounter death, grief and loss. If you can meet this with compassion, dignity and humility, it will be better for everybody involved.

The first death you need to certify will probably be in a room full of grief-stricken family. Know what you are doing and have a plan before you walk in, and although this is your first time, hide your uncertainty and terror. Be kind.

Document, document, document. This will be reinforced whenever you look back at your notes after something has happened, and you find that you clearly documented what you needed to. Document!

Good luck! And don't forget to take care of yourselves, both physically and mentally.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Sometimes things shift in life, and you feel like you have grown a new pair of eyes. Or new lenses.

Things don't look the same, it is as if you have just bought a new pair of glasses and you look at a scene that you thought you understood before and find that there are so many details that you just didn't notice, and you are just now starting to see them.

Life still does that to me - it still surprises with little details that change the whole picture. People aren't always right and they aren't always wrong, they are just people, and life is the same.

Nothing really prompted this post, it is just random. But sometimes it is good to know that you never stop maturing, and you never stop learning. Because if I never stop learning, than I am never really fully grown up yet so perhaps part of me has an excuse to always be immature. ;)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Going wild

When I am at home, particularly when I'm doing medical-related things (like study), I like to do things that are verboten at work. These aren't things that a non-medical person would realise are particularly exciting, but when you aren't allowed to do them all day, sometimes it is fun to go a bit wild at home.

These days I like writing in coloured ink. Yes, I like blues normally, but since starting work as a junior doctor, I like to branch out and go wild at home, occasionally taking leave of all common sense and writing in pinks and green.
(It is compulsory to write in black ball-point pen in medical documentation where I work.)

I like to use white-out. I always avoided the stuff in the past. Now that I am not allowed to use it, it is liberating.

It is nice not having to sign and date every single time I write something down.

One day I will be senior and hopefully in private practice. I will either use a computer all day (and the notes won't go missing after they are printed out because somebody does not realise that all information about a patient's admission is slightly important) and/or I will go wild and write in dark green fountain pen. I can dream.

When I start writing in red crayon at work, it will be time to retire. Unless I'm in a paediatric therapy session. Actually, this is another reason to work in paediatric psych - the promise of using coloured pencils or crayons for work-related activities. ;)