Wednesday, 31 July 2013



Firstly, thank you very much for all of the lovely messages on my previous posts - it is nice to feel appreciated. I will keep writing while being a junior doctor, but may take a different format. This weekly format was quite clunky, as some weeks I had loads to say, and some weeks I didn't have very much - perhaps I will change to a 'regular blog' instead, meaning I can update on days when exciting things happen, with shorter posts which are easier to fit into (what is going to be) my busy working life!

I have now graduated, and am due to start work next week. A very scary thought indeed! Graduation was lovely, we had the normal ceremony in the morning, where we came up on stage one by one to be presented with a certificate as part of the main university ceremony, and then in the afternoon we had our own medical students ceremony where we said the (revised) Hippocratic oath (old one not really fit for modern medicine/surgery) and we had our own prizes, speakers and so on. The main event in the morning was a lot more interesting than the one at the university I intercalated at two years ago; it was a lot more relaxed, a lot more fun and a lot less pompous. The event in the afternoon was very informal as well, and much more personalised as it was just for my year. All in all a really enjoyable day, and having this certificate in my hand, and being Dr Internal Optimist is just crazy. When people ask me what I do, I still say that I have just graduated and try and steer the conversation away from that topic. I feel a bit uncomfortable about it, almost as though it isn't right - something that I hope will pass.

Current impression I am likely to make as I start my vascular rotation next week

And it is important that that feeling passes - 'Black Wednesday' is next Wednesday - I start work in less than a week, and have shadowing before that. I am going to have to introduce myself to all of 'my' patients! I have decided on a compromise, which makes it seem less strange. I am going to indroduce myself as "Internal Optimist, one of the doctors looking after your care" rather than "Dr Internal Optimist" as it seems less... strange to me. I don't know why it is - I suppose I have always held those who teach us in quite high regard (yeah, I am a bit of a goody-two-shoes ... or sometimes at least). Having looked up to some very inspirational doctors during my 6 years at medical school, it is very strange having crossed that student-brain-barrier and having entered a position where I could well be the 'inspirational' doctor that medical students see. Sadly it is much more likely that I am the poorly-organised-and-rushing-around-doctor who medical students will not get much help from, but I will try my best.

Anyway, I am looking forward to everything ahead, and while it feels very strange, I think that is a good thing. I will keep posting and keep you all updated. Thank you for being so lovely to me throughout my time posting as a student - writing a blog is good I think. It encourages reflection (and god knows we are told to do enough of that at medical school) and is cathartic to talk about what happened, and look back on how things made me feel. I just wish I had the time (and knowledge) to organise all my old posts in some way to make them more easily findable, and separate them from the 'Dr posts' that will come.

If anyone has any good ideas for a blog title change, please let me know!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Final week as a medical student


I would like to apologise for this post being really late, I wrote it over a week ago, then pressed save rather than publish, and went on holiday. The holiday was lovely, but I realise that I need to actually press the right button!

Despite having found out I had passed my finals almost 2 months ago, I have been working as a medical student in the hospital, getting ready for the job of 'doctor' come August. The idea still makes me feel excited and/or scared. However, the gruelling life of a medical student has come to an end for me. This was the last week I am going to spend in hospital as a medical student, and was topped off with my graduation ball. This week I introduced myself as a medical student for the very last time, I did my last referral as a medical student (where, ironically, I got a grumpy doctor who refused to talk to medical students as it was 'inappropriate') and signed myself off as "Internal Optimist, Medical Student" at the bottom of the notes for the last ever time. It is so exciting to think that, after a months holiday, I will be writing "Dr Internal Optimist, GMC *******" at the bottom of the notes instead. 6 years of hard work, not including all of the school work and preparation before university, have gone into this end point. 

But I am not really sure how to feel.

The ending has been a bit spread out; I was really happy to finish my finals, and overjoyed to have passed them, but then I have been working as a medical student for the last 1-2 months. I haven't really had any real 'you are finished forever' moment, which is arguably a good thing. I am so glad after each 'hurdle' that I manage to make it over, I am not sure I would be able to handle all of it at once. Although I will never be introducing myself as a medical student again, I still have one 'hurdle' left - graduation. After graduation, when I have that certificate in my hand, I will feel as though it is well and truly over. It will probably be quite an emotional day, not just for me, but for most of my year.

So I am slightly confused about how to feel at the moment. I am very relieved that I have made it despite friends who were just as able as me dropping out of the course throughout the last 6 years. I am really happy to have made my main 'life goal' over the last 7 years or so. Most of the last 7 years have been aimed at getting into and passing this course, then getting a good set of rotations afterwards, all of which I have managed to achieve. 

But I still feel a bit uneasy. Perhaps it is a sense of 'what now' - having such a long term goal fulfilled leaves me wondering what I should be aiming at now. Perhaps it is the fear of working as a doctor next year; a job where patients put a huge amount of trust in you, and where a simple mistake can have disastrous consequences.

Don't get me wrong though, I really am happy to finish this course and graduate, it is just there is a slight grey lining to my radiant silver cloud. After graduation, I think the only way that I am going to feel more relaxed about this is by starting work in August, and proving to myself that I can do this job. After all, I have spent 6 years preparing for it, I should be ready by now!