Thursday, 2 February 2017

A Difficult Colleague

ANNOUNCEMENT: this blog is coming to an end, but the good news is you can find me here instead @ Mind the Medic (I was really creative with the title).

I’m having trouble with one of my colleagues, one of my registrars to be exact.

In the beginning, we were fine. Everything went downhill pretty quickly when I questioned her about something. I didn’t do it in a rude way and I think I was justified to ask.

Now, she’s always so overly critical. Critiques every little thing I do. It gets to the point where it’s stopping me from doing things in her presence because I’m fed up with the constant nagging. That’s what it feels like, nagging. And it’s over things so inconsequential that I can’t really say anything to anyone. It just sounds silly. It’s enough of an issue to make me annoyed but not such a major issue for me to complain to someone about.

Fair enough, you’re making a point. But if you’re still making the same point after 2 minutes it becomes excessive. I get it. I shouldn’t have prescribed that medication, there’s others that are more suitable. I’ve gotten the take home message.

And it may come across like I don’t like being told off because I wrote this post recently, but I don’t feel that’s true. The other registrars tell me all the time about things I should change and mistakes I’ve made, they give constructive feedback. Yesterday, one of the other registrars told me I should have informed the nurse about a patient I brought over and explained why. I took it in. I wasn’t offended by it; it was intended to teach and I learnt the lesson. Job done.

I feel her intention seems to make me feel small in some way. She can be quite in-your-face, so I’m prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt and put this all down to her personality and wait it out. But it’s tiring. I’m always looking for small ways to not be near her.

If this had been an SJT question, I guess the first answer would be to speak to the person directly. But honestly I think I’m just going to ride it out to the end and hope I can keep my mouth shut and swallow the situation like a bitter pill. There’s only around 10 weeks to the end of the placement. I think I can make it.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Ward Clerks

*Blog will be moving soon*

If there’s one area of the ward that has a chair (probably the only one on the ward) and a desk, it’ll be fiercely protected by the ward clerk. If you happen to come across it and it’s vacant, sit at your own peril. There have been many a times I would literally jump from the seat with as little as a sideward glance from the ward clerk.

The ward clerk is the person who knows the hospital like the back of her hand.  They know where everything is and how everything works because they’ve been there as long as the hospital itself. They’ve seen countless fresh eyed doctors come and go.

The ward clerk on my first ward was a scary woman. I bet if she rugby tackled anyone, they’d deflate like a balloon. She hardly smiled and would bark demands at me. But she kept the ward in check, without her, it would have all fallen apart.

The ward clerk on my current placement is different, much more approachable but also very good. When she told me she was taking some annual leave after New Year’s, the first thing I thought was ‘how are we going to cope’.

I have a lot of respect for the ward clerks. But when they’re gone. All hell breaks loose. We all sort of chip in and cover their role, which is nothing short of horrendous. We don’t know where everything is kept. The phone keeps ringing incessantly. It’s hard to track patients moving out and into the beds. Everyone sort of spreads themselves to help cover a bit of the gigantic hole that is missing.

But what strikes me as odd and I can’t stop thinking about it. If you have someone who fills such a significant role on the ward. They help streamline everything and make things work smoother. They’re an important member of the team. Why is there no cover arranged when they're away? 

Thankfully, she came back to work and normalcy resumed. Having every part of a working team makes things so much more efficient. So, when I think of hospitals, the next thing that springs to my mind are doctors, but really, all the people that are working in all their different teams are really, really crucial.

Has anyone else got someone at work who makes their lives a lot easier? 

Thursday, 26 January 2017


My current placement is really laid back. It feels weird adjusting to a slower pace but now I see it as a rest period between my last placement and the next one. I do feel guilty though, watching the other F1s running about trying to tend to several things at once. I try help out whenever I can.

I have a couple of friends who are on medical placements right now and they're finding it difficult. It can be difficult to adjust to a new placement especially if the current one is busier than the first. 

A lot of what they feel I could relate to because I felt the same exact way. They often text me randomly in the evenings and have a good rant. Sometimes, I’ll just be scrolling through their messages trying to keep up with the pace. And it’s all the things I used to complain about: the relentless jobs that just keep piling up, the incompetence of the staffing co-ordinator, the demanding patients and seniors. Constantly leaving work late, feeling undervalued and routinely being put into situations you feel uncomfortable in. The underlying expectation to do a lot with a little. I remember it so well.

And I remember wondering why was I struggling so much when everyone else seemed fine. Why was it just me that was sinking and everyone else was paddling through it all? I felt like every time I talked about it, I came across as a whiner. I know I mentioned my whining a few weeks back but in reality, writing it all out helped me. It became one of the ways I coped with everything that was going on.

I’m glad I can be a listening ear to my friends when they’re struggling because I get it. I’ve been there and I hope they know how much I understand their frustration and I’m here for them to vent to. I know how it feels when you try to explain it to someone who is a non-medic. Often, I would tell my mum what kind of day I had, but I would have to stop and explain about how this worked and what a registrar was so she could understand. I couldn’t just tell her what happened, I would have to put everything into context which in itself was also tiring and by the end I don’t think she could ever fully understand, and I couldn’t expect her to. What she could do was listen, which she always did.

I sort of felt the same way when I was telling my friends as well, who were then on non-medical placements. They understood much better than my mum of course. I know they sympathised. But now when they tell me what kind of day they had, I understand it so well. I can feel that pain because I remember it so clearly.

It’s tough to try and explain: but imagine if a friend came to your door and told you yesterday they were buried in snow and they describe how painfully cold the experience was, you could imagine how that felt and sympathise. Imagine if, a few years back, you had a similar experience having fallen through some broken ice, you would feel your friend’s pain much more clearly because you had experienced something similar.

I guess that’s the difference between sympathising and empathising. Another thing that kept me sane was knowing that the placement wasn't going to last forever. Our placements are 4 months long and though it might sound like a long time, it goes past relatively quickly.