As 2018 draws to a close in just a couple of days, it seems prudent to reflect on the year past. I turned 25 this year. Quarter century. Started my final year of medical school. Recognised I was overworked, stressed and not coping. Found some healthy (and some not so healthy) ways to overcome the problems. I finally went on a friends only holiday. I visited Russia. I saw a 12 year old die. I helped saved the life of a 96 year old. I put a catheter into a man’s urethra after he had come in from a road traffic collision. I watched a new born baby being born, a man become a father. Many moments made 2018 an emotionally charged year and some moments will always stay with me. Continue reading
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Fear of missing out aka FOMO
In the age of twitter, facebook, InstaGram, snapchat and a general need to update everyone on our lives constantly, it is hardly surprising how over connected we all are.
It’s great that we are. I’ve met and chatted to people in and out of the healthcare industry and engaged in lots of fascinating conversations on various topics about medicine, health policies and the future for us.
But alongside it also comes a major issue. I see it everywhere. It’s the FOMO culture. It’s the thought that I must do everything humanly possible and experience all that I can and remain busy every minute of every day. because everyone else is too. It’s hectic, time-consuming and frankly totally pointless.
In today’s world our careers are bench marked by how successful we are in comparison to our followers on LinkedIn. Our popularity is judged by the no. of lives, RTs and comments we get. Our self-worth is dependent on what others think of us.
But on top of that every time we do get attention it only feed the self-perpetuated cycle of instant gratification. Unfortunately what this has led to (IMO) is a lot of superficial ideas and connections with very little genuine interest or basis behind it.
When this sort of culture seeps into our lives as professionals that’s where I start thinking that perhaps being over connected is as much a hindrance as it is a help.
FOMO needs to stop. we’re all part of one community and at least as far as healthcare is concerned you need every single person to be doing their own job not replicating that of someone else.
As someone famous once said: “be yourself. everyone else is already taken.”
Mum said to me today, “you should write a book.”
“On what?” I asked, bemused but trying hard not to laugh.
“On how to pass OSCE as a medical student.”
I dismissed the thought almost as soon as my mum had it. Doctors don’t write books. Doctors only treat patients. That was the traditional role of a doctor anyway. Certainly, the main reason I wanted to be a doctor was primarily because I wanted to work with patients and manage illness. Continue reading
Whilst I have nothing of particular interest to talk about, I wanted to pen down (? type down) my thoughts on the last month or so. My friend and I talk every day. Not by calling each other but by recording voice notes and listening/ replying when we have a few free minutes in the day. I find that by sending her voice notes what I’m effectively doing is gathering my thoughts and putting it into a neat package and letting someone else interpret it. It’s oddly cathartic.
That’s the thing about thoughts. They’re often multi-directional, random, obtrusive and sometimes chaotic. Yet we need thoughts to process the different stimuli of the day. We need time to gather-wool as it were. I once asked my granddad what he does all day. He was 80 years old at the time and had made a retirement career of sitting in a chair the whole day, doing nothing. Or so I thought. He replied by saying :
“80 years of thoughts!”
I’ve made an active effort to have ‘me’ moments in the day. Just to stop for a minute and allow my brain’s fast speed train of thoughts to pull into a station. Organising my mind and my thoughts helps me to organise my whole day, week and efficiently use my time. And I’m finding, as I approach nearer to the end of my education, these moments can transform an otherwise stressful day into a fairly manageable one.
I’m still trying. Sometimes I fail massively and give into all my FOMO (Fear of missing out) thoughts. Recently I started watching this guy on youtube. He’s funny, has an alternative lifestyle to most and is really charming. I had major FOMO just realising his skills and attributes far outweigh my own. FOMO is real people. But I also, in hindsight, should have realised that maybe I am contributing to my own FOMO by allowing such thoughts to fester.
I recently started Vlogging. About medicine. Getting into medicine to be exact. That’s been an interesting experience. The first thing I realised is that I need a new table lamp. The lighting is awful! Second thing I realised is that nothing is easy if you want to do it well and be successful. Think I’m better off trying to be a doctor than a YouTuber. But still I had to give it a go…for my own peace of mind.
I’m starting a new placement tomorrow. Can’t believe in 5 months I’d be done. 7 years man. It’s no joke.
Disclaimer: No patient identifiable data has been used and some specifics related to cases have been changed to protect the identity of individuals. These are solely my observations, opinions and thoughts and are not intended to portray a full picture of how hospitals in the UK or abroad function.
Around a year and a half ago I had the absolute privilege to spend sometime in a government hospital of another country. As is custom there, I donned a white coat, put my stethoscope round my neck and mentally prepared myself to do and speak medicine but in a completely different language to the one I was trained it.
My first thought was how do I ask a drugs, alcohol and smoking history in another language? My friend told me that ‘we don’t ask that stuff really’. I also had to get used to calling my seniors sir and ma’am. Where I’m trained its just Dr. whatever. Still. different country, different rules. Continue reading
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
“Don’t burn-out, pace yourself”
“It’s an intense year, make sure you have breaks”
“It’s the toughest year of med school”