The start of something is always nerve-wracking

Duomo di Siena, Italy

This last week I started a new rotation. After 13 weeks working in the Emergency Department of a town 3 hours from Melbourne, working shift work, practicing resourceful and proper clinical medicine, improvising because of the limited resources, seeing the 6 day old, to the child-bearing to the psychotic to the 100-year-old, dealing with coughs, colds, sore ankles, heart attacks, intracranial bleeds, overdoses and the “we have no idea” to the “can’t cope at home,” and of course getting to know the lovely staff,  I was nervous to get back to the big smoke.

I have now returned to a bustling metropolitan hospital doing Infectious Diseases and Rheumatology. Yeah it’s a little strange that I am shared between two units, also weird getting back to “Medicine” and having to know the knitty-gritty instead of the fast world of Emergency where you stabilise and move on.

It’s always hard starting a new rotation. Every rotation I go through the same motions:
1. panic and anxiety before rotation starts
2. feeling inadequate and out of depth when rotation starts (not realising it’s only the first day or week!)
3. finding my feet at week 3
4. starting to get over it and looking forward to changing rotation week 13
5. loving the rotation and not wanting to leave week 13.

You don’t want to be nearby at step 1 or 2, not only do work insecurities come up but every uncertainty rises to the surface. It didn’t help this time round because I was newly single and had just finalised plans to take a break next year from being a doctor, so my sense of self, career and love were all in the air really. It also didn’t help that I kept bumping into colleagues with their long-term boyfriends and new husbands who were excited about the training program and job offers they were getting next year.

Sometimes it’s hard for the voice of level-headedness to come through when a catalyst like first day nerves initiates a negative cascade. I’m learning to be on my own for the first time in many years. Actually sitting back and facing the person I’ve become.  I’ve started a new rotation with new expectations, colleagues and bosses and this will happen again in 13 weeks. I have a 5 week solo trip to the United States and Mexico in 10 weeks. I have made the choice to take a year off next year to rethink what I want to do with my career and pursue dreams. I’m in the process of finding a place to live. I’ve never been the type to do things in halves huh? Here’s to the new … the scary, frustrating, exciting new.

  1. Amanda said:

    I’ve been reading all your posts directly from my email inbox, so haven’t managed to comment for a while, but I think that you are being an exceptionally strong person by going against the grains of societal expectations, and putting yourself first. I think it’s admirable that you have plucked up the courage to make plans for next year and evaluate (or re-evaluate) your future, career, etc. and whilst no doubt the process is going to be really difficult, I think this step that you’ve taken *towards* setting the process in motion, is probably one of the hardest steps to take.

    So i hope you enjoy being a doctor while it lasts, until you decide whether or not that’s what you want to continue! I love how you said it’s “the scary, frustrating, exciting new”. That is so, so spot on.

  2. Thao said:

    Oh Leanne, you’re such a smart and brave person, so I think you’ll be alright. Whatever ends up happening, I’m quite sure that you’ll come out a stronger and better person. And you’re in quite a secure place that I think you can afford to take some risks with your career and your life. You can do this Leanne!!

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