Diary of an FY1 – Turning the Wheel

[box] In the latest edition of his diary, Oscar looks to the future. [/box]


All of a sudden it has become March. Christmas and New Year now faint memories and I notice for the first time that FY1 is more than halfway over. My final rota has been released and the end is in sight.

But I also look and notice on my Facebook wall that this year’s finalists have now finished their exams and gotten their results. That was one year ago for me. The last great hurdle of medical school been and gone. I remember that happy day where it felt like the entire world had suddenly opened up and that the reality of medicine was ready to begin.

But that energy was paired equally with an anxiety and a fear, of the fact that I now had a responsibility on my shoulders that I never before had in my life. It also marked the inevitable end of my university life, something that so many people I knew had witnessed 3 years ago.

It’s difficult to believe how much has changed since then. I’ve sat through a general medicine rotation and am on the verge of finishing orthopaedics. Even the fears of responsibility seem a long distance away. Basic medical problems now have pre-prescribed routines to follow and the fear of failing to do a cannula a distant memory.

I’ve learnt to deal with the tos and fros of life on the ward as problems are constantly punted up and down from specialty to specialty, nurse to doctor. The stress that once plagued every single moment of the day has faded into dull expectation. The job list has a predictable limit to the amount of time it takes to complete, and even the endless list of small jobs that need to be completed are simply prioritised and acted on.

Yes, people do get sick, but they get sick predictably. The confidence with which SHOs marked off jobs as unimportant and patients as well has started to appear from the mist in front of my eyes and I too understand the realities of progress and regression.

Of course, I didn’t know any of these things to begin with, and it has taken almost half a year to even slightly grasp these things, but it has happened nonetheless. It is in fact possible to learn without touching a textbook.

But even as things become to feel comfortable, even predictable, new challenges await. Many of my F2 colleagues have now received the results of their job applications and things have certainly changed. Scotland, once a safe haven for most people to stay has become heinously competitive. Many people, having decided they would rather stay in their homelands rather than move away from the communities they know so well, are opting to work locum posts next year.

Receiving my own set of jobs for the next year; psychiatry, A&E and geriatrics, I also begin to think about where my career is going. I want to be a psychiatrist but there are many more options than just going straight through training, with opportunities to work abroad or even take years out studying — all things that need to be taken into consideration.

Easter is a time of contemplation, and as the end of F1 becomes palpable, decisions need to be made. No more do I wander in the mirages of a desert without sight or goal. I’ve gained enough experience of the job that I can begin to consider what I value in it. No doubt more things will reveal themselves as I progress, whether I like managing complex patients, or dealing with chronic problems or even just working in the community.

As time passes, we grow. And we must not be blinded by the sun.


Dr. Oscar To

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