My Sex and the City Moment, NHS style

There is this great scene in Sex and the City the movie, where the main character, Carrie Bradshaw is walking down 75th and fabulous when she sees a group of 4 girls who turn around to look at her outfit.

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Carrie smiles back. A little acknowledgement as if to say “Yes I am fabulous. And yes I was once you too”. I had a similar moment at the end of medical school.

I mean I wasn’t wear this seasons Dolce with Manolo’s (unfortunately), more like comfy shoes from Clarks and clothes from Zara, but I was on the ward when a gang of medical student approached me and the SHO I was attached too. They were having bedside teaching with one of my fave consultants Dr J. I was attached to his firm on my first ever medical placement and as fate would have it I would be on the same ward as a final year.

He spent all of third year calling me Faiza, because I sat in a chair that Faiza sat in once. I corrected him a few times, but after a while I would respond to Faiza. When he saw me as a final year, he squinted a little, and told me proudly that I was the spitting image of a girl he once knew called…wait for it…Faiza. Needless to say, I was also Faiza in 5th year and it is such a lovely name, I didn’t mind. Not like he was trying to call me Sally or anything (and if you didn’t get that have a look at my previous blog posts).

A patient had pulled their cannula out and needed another one put in and had displayed violence towards members of staff before so the SHO wanted me to go with them. As we struggled away, I would hear the medical students next door. There was the one who knew it all. The one who kept getting picked on. The quiet one. The onc who sounded like they wanted to cry. Was this once me?!

Cannula successfully put in (only to be pulled out again 10 minutes later….) I was writing in the notes by the desk when all the medical students came out. I watched them leave the ward and some of them looked back at me sheepishly as I smiled back.

God they looked tiny I thought. Did I ever look like that.

Dr J came to talk to me. “Remind you of anyone?” I smiled. Of course it did. That was me not that long ago. “How time flies” I told him. “You will be the doctor soon enough” he said. And he was right. I would be. Writing this, I am a doctor. It’s petrifying but also such a buzz just thinking about it.

Someone once said, you go to medical school, something happens and you’re a doc. Well by name anyway. The real proof will come when we are working.

But the thing is IT WILL COME.

I don’t know when the skill of being able to eyeball someone and within 2 seconds make a judgement on how sick they were came from. Or when I trusted my hunch enough to tell a very senior doctor on their first break in hours “you need to come and see this patient right now”. But these skills come with time and hard work. And we are use to that.

On those crappy days (there will be rubbish days, might as well face it) reminders like this need to be drawn on.

So before we all rush into our new jobs, let’s just take a minute to appreciate the journey we have made so far. I think we’re doing pretty well, if you ask me.

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Until the next post, Salma xxx

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Things I wish I knew at the start of medical school

You live and you learn.

When I first got to medical school I was pretty clueless about what to expect. I made a lot of silly mistakes and had to learn the hard way. I hope that these tips can help you so that you don’t have to make the mistake to learn what I now know.

#1- Make friends with someone in the year above you. They have been there before and although things change year to year, they will still be able to help you.

#2- People WILL lie to you about how much work they are doing. Don’t believe them and work as hard as you need to. If they just “looked over” their anatomy notes and know everything. Good for them. Do as much as you need to. Chances are the majority if people are just like you and work hard. The most successful medics I know have a crazy work ethic. Hard work beats natural “genius” any day of the week.

#3- Don’t get intimidated by other medical students. They may look amazing but you got in too! In my first ever anatomy sessions this girl knew where the kidneys were and I spent the whole year thinking she was a genius and much better than me. In the end she didn’t do too well. But I spent way too much time thinking I was inadequate and that she was a G-E-N-I-U-S. Believe in yourself. It was not a clerical error that you got in!

#4- Looking after yourself is just as important as studying. That means good food and exercise. In my first year of university I barely joined any sports societies even though I was on pretty much on every sports team at school; I thought that I would be wasting my time. This was such a mistake. I ended up wasting my time on television (you can’t study all the time) and missing out on something I loved. Yes you will be busy. But no you shouldn’t stop doing what you love. Keep up your interests outside of medicine!

#5- Know where to get support. There is a saying: “it takes a whole village to raise a child” and I often feel that the same can be said of a medical student. There may be times when you feel that things are overwhelming and that’s when your network of support can help. But you need to ask for help. At some point or another most of my family members have been appointed as “motivational speakers” by me during revision times sending me “you can do it texts” and the like! It’s OK to ask for help. 5 years is a long time and there is no need to go it alone.

I hope that these 5 quick tips helped you and feel free to share them with anyone who you think may benefit!

#6 As this pre-work picture I sent my my sister shows, caffeine will become your friend if it isn't already...
#6 As this pre-work picture I sent to my sister shows, caffeine will become your friend if it isn’t already…