Sunday, 7 April 2013

2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad...

Or so Meatloaf would have us believe.

Despite what my blog would have you believe, I have actually really enjoyed my first 8 months of working.

My first job, which was in medicine, was tough as there wasn't a lot of senior support and out of hours there was sometimes noone to call other than the consultant if I had concerns - something quite intimidating for a newly qualified junior. However, I worked with mostly lovely people, learned absolutely loads and felt like I really developed as a doctor.

My second job (the one I finished last week) was also medical, and was fantastic. There were a few issues, mostly with other juniors not pulling their weight, but that aside I loved it. I got on especially well with one of the registrars and 2 of the SHOs, but all of my seniors were fantastic. Again, I learned lots and am definitely much more confident in my abilities than I was before I started. I also had chance to get involved with some research, which is great given my academic ambitions.

And now, I have most to general surgery. Eugh. Despite not wanting to be a surgeon, I had thought I would enjoy this rotation. Numerous friends who are medics through and through had told me how much they'd loved their FY1 surgical post. I don't think I will be jumping on that bandwagon though.

A few months ago, I was chatting on Twitter about how I felt I needed to revise some surgery, as after 8 months working in medicine I was a bit rusty. A surgeon on there, who I get on with pretty well, had said I didn't need to know any surgery. I totally unintentionally upset him but saying that I wanted to be able to suggest differentials for emergency admissions so I could order appropriate investigations. I was genuinely confused when he was so angered by my comment that surely I ought to be ordering targetted investigations to confirm or refute a diagnosis and not just going on a fishing trip for information. After all, that's what we were repeatedly taught throughout medical school and it was definitely the case in my medical jobs. It appears that things are slightly different in the surgical world. At induction for this job, we were told that everyone gets the same set of tests ordered and we shouldn't try to work out which were indicated and which weren't - and then I realised that my comment on Twitter had unwittingly criticised the way huge numbers of surgeons expect their juniors to behave (and by implication, criticised them I suppose). It's a big change in the way I think.

I am struggling with the mindlessness involved in this job. A few days in, and I have already discovered that "chase the bloods" literally means "write the results down in a folder". In my previous jobs, I would have been criticised for not acting on results. Now, I'm not expected to act on anything. Yesterday I was chastised for prescribing further NaCl for a patient who had already received several bags. No-one cared that my reason for doing so was that the patient was (still) borderline hyponatraemic and I had checked the blood results before deciding which fluids to write up. It seems I shouldn't try to use my brain, I should just write everyone up for Hartmans, Hartmans, Hartmans.

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that my seniors are just being super-cautious because I have only just started working there. Maybe I will discover that, actually, I am quite happy doing this repetitive kind of work once I adjust to the change. I could settle in and find that actually I love my new job. If not, I've enjoyed 2 of my 3 FY1 jobs. And 2 out of 3 ain't bad.