The one where Romeo was done: the Junior Doctor Years

 

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When I started my first few days as doctor the BMA asked to write about it in a blog for them.

Now on the very last day as my time as junior doctor it only feel natural to reflect on how I was feeling then and how I’m feeling now.

I went to a brilliant medical school but I didn’t feel ready to be a doctor. As a wise friend reassured me, there was no one at that point who was more qualified at that point in their career than me and my other colleagues fresh out of medical school. Even with all the reassurance it felt like a big plunge. 

First day on the job, F1 Aslam in General Surgery. A speedy ward round and then we were on our own. Yes we had seniors around and luckily they were lovely so we could ask them if we needed help but I do remember looking at the other F1’s and thinking “right, so it’s us guys”. 

 

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We made it through our first job. Where we stumbled we helped each other up. A sympathetic ear in the corridor. A text, “I’ve left you a coffee on ward 31”. A reminder to handover and just go home. The struggle was too real but we were in it together. We understood each other.

Then at that magical period when we had all learnt all of the important codes, where the good coffee was and who to go to  if you needed help, we were split up and it and it was a start from the bottom again.

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New job. New people. Unknown Salma.

F1 Aslam Acute Medicine. The weight loss ensued. I literally dropped a dress size and looked dreadful. 

“Don’t eat by the computer, have a proper break” I’m told by one of the consultants.

This job is a lesson in how to look after yourself because I was failing at that on an astronomical level.

Teary on the way home from work. It’s just never enough. I learn by the end that it is is never enough. All you can do if your best and that is good enough. There will always more patients to see and more jobs to do. Self preservation is paramount.

Final job of F1. Reunited with one of my friend and we become team gastro. 

Gastro makes me hangry at time and we stay late a lot. On those really bad days, we get give sympathy chips from the ward hostess and inhale them.

The weight loss is rectified much to my families relief. Punjabi family- no one liked slim Salma. 

We panic less. We’re almost at the end. I’m with my friend. If we have tough days we have each other and cake. Cake is our friend.

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End of the year. Breather for a hot minute and then we’re a back to it.

Something different for me. F2 Aslam Hospice.

This job is an honour to do. The best nursing I have ever seen, the most dedicated staff and I learn some important life lessons.

I start horse riding lessons, there is nothing to wait for and no ones guaranteed anything. I try to be as brave in my own life as the patients around me and go after what I want. I try to appreciate more the everyday. One of my patients sits out in a chair with the help of the physio before I go on leave. It makes my week.

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The first job I have been sad to leave but onto Radiology.

The supernumerary life is sweet and I get to learn. Ironically work usually get in the way of learning. Here I am a sponge. I am jealous of the Radiologists eyes and brain. Apparently we can see the same thing but really they’re the only ones seeing the images. I play envious spectator, go the MDT meetings and get to help with interventions. I go to ITU and see ultrasound at the bedside. I get time to use the ultrasound probe. People know my name. They encourage me. I’m in a happy radiology bubble and decide to apply so that one day I can sit in the lower GI MDT and feel really smart too.

I get into Radiology and it’s a win for hard work and being brave.

Last job F2 Aslam the GP.

I left my heart in Radiology. It’s a different world and I realise early on that it’s not for me. Long days with no other juniors around me.

Never ending tea and tasks.

Done.

One months funployment until Radiology starts.

Do I feel ready for that? Well just like Salma at the end of medical school, no, but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

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Until the next post xxx

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