Part 1 made me a little emotional so I had to stop typing and take a break.. Here are a few more random thoughts/highlights from Internship. I hope you enjoy Part 2!
3. The dreaded pager and dealing with requests
Ironically enough, one of the exciting things starting out as a doctor is receiving your pager for the first time. Suddenly you feel, “I’m a real doctor know, looking all important with my pager.” :p Unfortunately that excitement dies pretty quickly when you become a slave to its beeps and to the people who page you. The sound becomes irritating and nerve-wracking and sometimes you just want to throw it out the window!
The pager is a form of communication between you and other health professionals. There is a particular way you should send messages to ensure clear communication and also the person calls or pages you back. Not all people receive this education and unfortunately not all people check whether you’re at work or not- so it’s vital you turn off your pager when you’re not working or you’ll be woken up in the middle of the night with “Patient is unwell. BP 80/60. Please review,” and as an individual who is primed to worry and care you can’t ignore this page and have to either 1. call back urgently telling them you’re not working and they better all someone else ASAP or 2. come in yourself- which I’ve heard some of my colleagues do!
You learn very quickly that not every page is worth running to. Some people seem to like sending threats or scare worthy pages to get you moving while others like to send those vague pages which leave the responsibility on you, ie “Just letting you know… patient is ….”, but when you’re on cover shift and are covering multiple units and more than 100 patients you don’t really have the time to see everyone (especially at 2 in the morning!). You learn very quick to prioritise: have a piece of paper and write a list of your pages/to do list- this will help you remember and it’s also satisfying to cross off :) Try to call back all pages because you’ll inevitably receive the same page in 2 minutes and also it’ll help you determine whether 1. the patient is really sick 2. the patient is really agitated or 3. the patient is really yours at all and it’s polite :)
Pages will continue to be a part of my Doctor life … until I become a consultant. Here’s to another year of “beeps!”
4. Standing your ground as a female doctor- I’m not being a bitch!
I had a good relationship with most of the hospital staff however there were moments when it was difficult. I don’t know whether it’s a “girl thing” but it was hard sometimes to get things done when you’re working with other females, especially with nurses. It was observed that male doctors had it easier and I even had a nurse tell me that “men doctors were easier to work with because they’re nicer.” To be honest, I don’t think that is true and I was pretty offended by that innocent remark.
I’m a self-conscious person so I found it difficult to be firm feeling it may sound arrogant or “bitchy,” whereas male doctors seemed to get away with that. So I found myself in situations where I just did things myself (even though I shouldn’t have) and was taken advantage of because I was an intern and I didn’t know the system well. There were moments where I was ganged up upon because staff didn’t agree with me or my Registrar’s or Consultant’s decisions so they pick on the most junior. You really have to stand your ground, as a person and as a doctor and for your patient.
5. Separating your personal life from your work life- how to stay sane!
Firstly, this is extremely difficult and it’s something I still need to work on a great deal. A lot of the time I come home still stressed and hyped up about my day and I lash out on my unexpecting family. It gets frustrating that they don’t understand what I do and I have to keep reminding myself that “they don’t know” so I shouldn’t get angry. This is when you need to have regular drinking and bitching sessions with fellow doctors to get all the stress out of your system! :oP And also finding a hobby and exercising is extremely important!!! Like my friend, who goes to the gym before she starts her 11pm to 8am ED shift, says: “There’s always never going to be time, so just do it!”
Well that concludes the informal random thoughts which come to mind about my first year as a doctor, hope you found it interesting/enlightening. If you have any questions I’m more than happy to try to answer them :o)
Want more? My First year as a Doctor – Part 1