First Day Nerves…

So I start work as a Doctor in less than 48 hours! That is a terrifying thought…. I think I’ve  been coping with the nerves rather well for the past few weeks but last night it finally hit me and sleep was almost impossible!


I have been trying to occupy myself with other tasks to try and take my mind off the imminent start of work (yesterday I had a lovely afternoon tea with my Mum) but it doesn’t seem to be working as once it’s night time I can’t turn off my brain!

I know once I actually start I will be alright, I wouldn’t have made it through medical school if I couldn’t manage on my first day of work, but the not knowing what to expect is really scary.

As distraction doesn’t seem to work I guess I should take advantage of my willingness to work and get some pre-reading done so at least I can pretend I am prepared for work.

Any thoughts on what are the key things for an FY1? Anything specific to a Resp job that would be useful to revise before starting?



Surviving Medical School

As a recent graduate I can now officially say “I survived Medical School!”.

Looking back I feel a mixture of relief and sadness that that part of my life is over, it doesn’t feel like I have been away at University for the past 5 years but that’s what’s written on my Degree so it must be true…

So over the past few days I have been trying to think of a few helpful hints about how to get through Medical School (mostly) unscathed. This is more focused on the clinical years as pre-clinical is such a long time ago I can’t really remember anything about it.

1- Medical School Guilt

This is a real and terrible thing! What I am talking about is that feeling of guilt you get when you haven’t completed a perceived amount of work. This would range anywhere from I hadn’t actually done any work in a day to having worked a full day on the ward, gone home and done an hour+ of work but hadn’t completed everything on my days ‘to do’ list and feeling like a terrible person who didn’t deserve to be there. Writing it out like this makes it sound insane and thats what it is…. I have spent many hours trying to figure out how to stop this happening and to be honest I have no idea how to stop this feeling! All I can say is it will happen and you are not alone in feeling this way. I think acknowledgment is the first step- I found once I was aware of the guilt it did become slightly easier to ignore.

2- Preparing for new blocks

At my medical school we had 7 week blocks on the main subjects: General medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics etc. This usually involved an “introduction week” then 6 weeks on the wards/clinics/community work.

Initially I tried to read ahead before the lectures- I learnt very quickly this did not work for me… I found I didn’t understand most of the language (especially if it was a completely new topic) and actually I was just wasting time. I found writing rough notes during the lectures to be a useful way of retaining the information being given, especially as it was an active process which forced me to keep paying attention throughout the whole lecture.

The most useful thing I found was to write a list of everything I had to get done during the block. I would start by looking through the workbook (our medical school gave us subject specific work books) and writing a list of all the topics I needed to cover. I would then write out a timetable for the block that included all the timetabled teaching, booked clinics and ward rounds. The spare time around this I would allocate to the different topics to learn, general ward work and rest time.

I did all of these things at the start of every block and I found it gave me a clear view of what I had to get done and when. It meant by the end of the block things were starting to make sense and I went into all my end of block exams with confidence- this showed as I did pass every exam whilst at medical school.

3- Exam stress

Stress is a common thing- especially in Medical School. The way I found to help cope with this (not completely remove stress as that’s not going to happen) was to plan ahead. To begin with I would write a list of everything I had to cover during my revision. I would then split the number of days I had to revise into a morning, afternoon and evening session. I would fill in each session with one of the topics to cover, making sure to give myself lots of breaks- my mum loved to take me out onto lots of walks. This would at least help me to visualise how much work I had to get done and in what time frame which helped to remove some of the stress around exams.

4- Life outside Medicine

This is sooo important! I don’t know how I would have coped through Medical School without having some friends outside of Medicine and something to do to take my mind of work once in a while. I found Ultimate Frisbee to be a great way to unwind. It allowed me to get some exercise in, I made some amazing friends and I had lots of weekends away at tournaments that I found helped me work harder and more efficiently throughout the week knowing I would then have the whole weekend free.

Whatever you do at University there has to be more than just Medical School. If not you will burn out… it may not happen until you start actually working but at some point it will happen!

I managed to make it through Medical School and you can too! It may feel like hell at the time but trust me it will get better and suddenly you will be about to start your first job as a real Doctor!!!!


Preparing to start work… 

IMG_0341I will start my first job in just over two weeks so I thought I would run though the things I am doing to prepare myself.

1- Getting organised! I am a list person, I cannot actually function without always having a to-do list by my side. So the first thing I have done is written everything I need to get done down. There will be so much, from pre-employment checks to completing online e-leaning courses. If you start a few weeks early then you can get these things done steadily rather than rushing (that’s what I tried to convince myself anyway). Along with a list I have also recently upgraded my diary to a more official ‘filofax’ system so have been trying to get myself sorted with that before work starts.

IMG_03402- Revision. Not sure about anyone else but it has been 4 months since my finals and I feel like most of the information has already fallen out of my head! I decided that a bit of revision over the next few weeks will help me to remember the bits I may have forgotten and give me a bit more confidence when I actually start work. I have decided to split my revision into two sections: 1-specifically Respiratory pathology as this is my first job, 2- general information important for FY1s (things like fluid prescribing, death certificates, dealing with acutely unwell patients etc.)

3- Physical preparation. My first day will start at 7.30am!! As I have spent the last 4 months sleeping in until 10am I figured the first thing I need to do is get back to waking up early! I have decided to set my alarm slightly earlier each morning (by 15 minutes or so) and hopefully in two weeks time waking up at crazy early times will not be too much of a shock.

I have also recently joined a gym… I figured start as you mean to go on…

Lets hope these small changes might make my first few weeks of being a doctor slightly easier to manage.