A junior doctor is any doctor between one year out of medical school and one year short of becoming a consultant.
A junior doctor starts work well before most patients wake up. Finishes work when all the urgent jobs are done. A junior doctor can’t just leave at 5pm because it says so in their contract. Not if their patient is in uncontrollable pain, or hypoxic or in dire need of a medical review.
A junior doctor eats lunch when they can. Often its a working lunch. And it might be interrupted if their bleep goes off.
A junior doctor will miss birthdays, festivals, weekends and evening plans because they are working.
A junior doctor won’t stop being a doctor when they’re in the supermarket, the train or even another country.
A junior doctor wants to be one. They’re on the patient’s side, fighting their battles with them.
A junior doctor will be the one a patient sees daily, the one who takes their blood test and runs it to pathology. A junior doctor might even do the patient’s surgery.
A junior doctor doesn’t give up on healthcare.
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.”
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”
The calm before the storm. The night before it went all wrong. The eve of…
well. I’m not 1/2 done with my exams and honestly I’m not actually that stressed. This is so new to me. I normally can’t sleep, have a poor appetite and become an incredibly temperamental person around exams time.
I don’t know why this has occurred. I’m not necessarily better prepared or feeling more productive. I think it might just be that fourth year of medical school has so far been 11 months long and my body has been in a constant stressed out/ freaked out state.
Cortisol – which is the hormone released in response to stress. Adrenaline – our fight or flight hormone. They’re like not peaking. It is as if my adrenals went ‘nope, done enough this year. I’m not releasing more stress hormones.’
It has tricked my brain because I’ve not had the same drive for exams as I normally do. And I’m kind of stressing about the fact that I haven’t been stressed.
5 days to freedom…