What’s Next?

And so we approach the end of the hospital-based part of Preparation for Practice. In a few days, I’ll have what I intend to be my very last last day of school. My fifth, since you asked. It will be the end of my two-and-a-half decades in full-time education, and I can’t decide whether that’s terrifying or exciting or just about damn time.

I’m not really a doctor yet — that doesn’t happen until either June 26th or July 31st, depending on if you count from graduation or from when GMC registration kicks in and someone gives me actual responsibility. I’m still very much the medical student and I’ve been clinging to that title like a child to their comfort blanket. Yesterday, our wonderful hospital pharmacist asked me to make a clinical decision regarding a complex discharge that I’d spent most of the afternoon trying to sort out, and I promptly looked like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights and deflected to my FY1. And then I realised that, sooner rather than later, now, there won’t be an FY1 there for me to deflect to, and I sat on the train home last night and quietly freaked out about that.

I’ve spent the last five weeks learning a few new skills and then relearning the ones I had, once upon a time, before I lost them under my revision notes. I’ve readjusted to having a commute and spending the whole day on my feet, squinted at consultant hieroglyphics and tried to turn them into disharge summaries, chased bloods, dusted off my tourniquet, had countless fights with three different computer systems, and reflected that I was never warned when I applied for a job in this hospital that I’d need a sat-nav not to get to work but to find my way around work. And mostly I’ve been glad that I’ve had a grace period to figure these things out without having to be the FY1 at the same time. I’ve had reason to be especially glad of that, as I work in a hospital that takes medical students from almost all of the Scottish medical schools and so I’ve been meeting fifth years who are scrambling to finish their last core rotation and have still to get through the ungodly horror of finals.

Overall, it’s been a useful few weeks. If I’ve accomplished nothing else, I’ll show up for work on July 31st and I’ll know where to find the canteen and the toilets and the handover room, what the emergency buzzer sounds like, and how to use the phones. These are the important things. They are also the things that nobody ever seems to bother to actually tell you at inductions.

I think I’m ready to be done.

Oh, I don’t feel ready to do the job, which is a different thing altogether and isn’t something that can, at this point, be fixed with more Prep for Practice. I don’t think I’m ever going to feel ready to do the job. It is a scary scary prospect. I think maybe the only way to get ready now is to jump in with both feet (and my senior’s bleep number written in permanent ink on the back of my hand, probably) and let the chips fall where they may.



  1. Thank god I have another 2 years to go before I get to this point. I had a similar rabbit in headlights experience last week when a nurse approached me waving a drug chart and saying “Doctor, can you…” I very quickly put her straight.

    • Oh, that’ll happen countless times to you before finals. I had one nurse, once, who didn’t quite get the problem. “Doctor, can you write Mr Smith up for some PRN analgesia?” “Sorry, I’m just the medical student.” “Oh. So can you write him up for some tramadol, then?”

      • Ah that’s hilarious. I once went to clerk a patient before she got sent home, only to have her ask if I was the renal consultant. I think it was more a case of her being desperate to be discharged than me looking remotely like I knew what I was doing, but secretly I was thrilled.

  2. I suppose this is why they call it “practice,” but it’s the hairpin turns in the race before the straightaway bits which are annoying, aren’t they? Maneuvering through the last few things… but then, you’ll be on your way, no looking back.

    Glad you put your time to good use this weekend! ☺

Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s