Congratulations on becoming a doctor; I hope you are happy to be here.
Life is about being human.
Expect that you will fail.
Expect days when you will just get by.
Expect that you will succeed.
Expect that there are days when it will be difficult to be yourself. They don’t tell you in medical school that people you might never meet will forever hand you boxes. They will hand you boxes and tell you to tick them all, to fit in them. And you will do it. And some of them will be important.
They will ask you to send out electronic forms, begging judgement of your character. And some of that feedback will be important. You will move through ward and hospital and occasionally you will hardly be there long enough for anyone to really know you. So not everyone will like you, and you will not like everyone. And sometimes it feels like that is not ok.
It is ok.
Sometimes being a trainee will feel like a competition.
It is not a competition; this is your life.
I hope you like your job.
I hope you love your job at least once a day, every day.
I hope this feeling washes over you, in a corridor or on the stairs and for even just a single second you feel a warmth that tells you this is what you want to do. And I hope it is true.
And if it is not, I hope you realise that is ok too and this is just one job. It is not more important than you are.
I hope you know that there will be times when you feel like you would rather be anywhere else on the planet than at the other end of the ward-cover bleep. There will be days when you anticipate an upcoming week of nights with a dread that boils in the pit of your stomach, hardens and feels like it might never go away.
It will go away.
I hope you are strong enough to see your mistakes.
I hope that every time you walk in to a room, you see a person as well as a patient. I hope you see yourself.
I hope you know that there will be days when you look at this whole health service and all the powers that be and you will feel frustrated, you will feel suffocated and sometimes you will feel venom.
And sometimes you will be justified.
You will realise that there is much that needs to be changed; I hope that you will help change it.
I hope that you will also recognise the good when you see it; I hope that you will point it out.
I hope you will find the consultants whose doors you can knock on. Keep hold of the good ones, pick them up like daisies; the longer your chain the better.
But be part of the chain; remember your seniors are no less infallible than you are.
Find the friends you can exhale your day to.
Be a friend.
Find out that succeeding in medicine is about more than medicine.
And as my mother always told me; Illegitimi non carborundum. **
**Don’t let the bastards grind you down By the Secret Doctor
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I'm an ST8 and IMHO your words hold as much meaning for me as it would for any new F1 - thank you for writing it and good luck to all those who are starting - lets all go for a quick coffee...
Very real and honest. Important to remember: "this too shall pass", both the good times and the bad times.
A Margaret Atwood quote appropriate for its dystopian society!
Good luck everyone! Hang in there
And remember, there are lots of ways to be a doctor; I left ST2 GP and now have a part time palliative care job in my local hospice (no training programme is NOT the end of the world), I also may re-train to be a pathologist (no nights; hurrah) or work in forensic medicine (which anyone can get into with a few years of experience). The future is bright when you make the career fit to you.
In Foundation Years, just remember, it has to be done AND you may even enjoy it (I did)... If you don't, it'll still soon be over and it will definitely be Unforgettable. Best of luck!
More of this please. Validating. Inspirational. Compassionate. Authentic. Helpful. Priceless.
Thank you - I am an ST3 just finished nights and was trying to catch up of all that I experienced - your words were so real and relatable .
Be kind to yourself - even though it can be hard at times .There are no perfect doctors so try to be a good, hardworking and honest one - good luck new F1s!!
I really enjoyed reading this
I am a Long-retired NHS Consultant. Medical practice is the most valuable and privileged diamond I have had in my working life and hopefully your experience wlll vindicate my treasured memories of the noble profession you have chosen .
Oh, just one piece of advice ( which I can not resist ) :treat your patients and colleagues just as you would like to be treated. Good luck .
Abdul Jaleel County Durham
I've been a "junior doctor" ( hate that term almost as much as trainee!) for far too long. The negatives seem to far outweigh the positives.
Great read. The latin quote at the end brought a smile to my face . I read it as a first year medical student too many years ago ( in India ). I recall it as "Nihil Carborundum Illegitimi". Another quote on top of the physiology lab ( in huge letters mind you) was "Leisure is most appreciated when there is plenty of hard work before and after "