23—MAR—2021 18:21 GMT
u is an F1 junior doctor who currently works at Hull Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom. He graduated from medical school in June 2020 and has been working at the trust for seven months now.
(this article is written for medical students who are about to start their foundation training posts and below are some useful tips I have picked up since I've started working as a doctor)
Image from Yu Siow's iPhone
New Beginnings, Exciting Chapter.
For a lot of us, this marks a new chapter in our life as we embark on the journey of working as a doctor. It is particularly exciting because for the first time in your life, you’ll be able to see your own patients and contribute towards their management plan. This is only possible after the many years of hard work you’ve put into medical school and you should be extremely proud of yourself for making it this far. With that excitement, it also marks your progression from a student into adulthood, which means you have to start juggling a myriad of other not-so-fun ‘adult’ things: taxes, rent and utility bills. It can be daunting at first trying to manage your own finance and it’s easy to get lost in the process. But I’d recommend to keep track of your expenses every month so you’re on top of your spending and make sure you pay your bills on time to avoid unnecessary penalty charges.
This is also a useful checkpoint for you if you want to start planning the career pathway ahead of you. The two years of your foundation training will give you ample experience to gain exposure from different hospital specialities and it gives you the opportunity to realign your goals and figure out what you want to do in the future.
A Steep Learning Curve
With great power comes great responsibilities. This statement couldn’t be more fitting in this scenario. From day one, as you step into the boots of a doctor, there are certain expectations that people anticipate from you. You’re expected to act within the boundaries of the profession’s etiquette, whether this is in or outside of your workplace. People expect you to demonstrate a high level of professionalism, which means no more lie-ins, or taking half a day off as you wish when you were a medical student. You have a duty of care for the patients you are looking after, and their health is your utmost priority.
There are certain skills on the job that even medical school doesn’t prepare you for, you just have to learn as you go along. Make sure you are not doing things that are outside your capabilities. If you’re carrying out a procedure for the first time, get a senior colleague who has done it before to supervise you. Help is always around; you just need to reach out.
Certain things I would suggest medical students reading this to take note of - shadow different doctors when they are doing a clinical procedure. There will always be little tips or tricks that you can pick up from them and apply to your own skill set when you’re next doing the same procedure. The quicker you can integrate these skills to develop your own style, the more efficient you can carry these procedures, and the more time you get to save to focus on other tasks.
Uncle Ben always knew.
Image from Marvel's 2002 Spiderman.
Get To Know The Team Really Well
Make an effort to remember the names of the people in your medical team. Address them by their first names, put on a warm smile when you see them; you want to strike a good first impression and break into the team as soon as you can. It goes a long way when you treat your colleagues as friends, people will go out of their way to help you. It also makes your job so much more enjoyable when you’re working in a friendly environment.
“Do what you’ll love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”
Whether it’s having someone run down the arterial blood gas (ABG) sample to the laboratory for you, sharing your workload or colleagues that stay behind with you just so you finish together, it takes the extra load of pressure off your shoulders and more importantly, it stops you from burning out.
Working as a doctor is one of the most gratifying professions in the world - patients coming to you when they’re at their most vulnerable and you have the power to change that reality for them. Carry a humble, learning heart and indulge yourself in the process. No one can take this away from you, it really doesn't get any better than this.