Have just watched Confessions of a Junior doctor documentary, which is probably not a good idea after finishing a set of night shifts. The show left me emotional and perpetuates my question of ‘why am I doing this?’.
No, really why are we doing this, guys??
I don’t want to come out of this as if this is greys anatomy and everything’s so horrible and dramatic and we all came to save the day.
The truth is …. there are ok days and horrible ‘I just want to cry’ days. The only time it’s a GOOD day is probably when I’m in clinic (nothing dramatic ever happens in clinic… or at least the clinics I go to). And since I havent been doing clinics since January, it’s either just an ok day or a horrible day.
From watching the show, one of the doctors encapsulated things well – “It’s just relentless”. And that’s how I felt with most of my shifts these days, especially when oncall.
The other day, I saw the night team enter the handover room with exhausted, beaten down faces and I know far too well how they feel, how they must have felt during the shift. There was a very sick baby that night and even if there is just one sick baby in the unit, that can take most of your time (whilst trying to keep on top of the rest of your patients).
“You ok?” I asked the registrar.
She gave a half nod, half shake of the head.
“I’m too old for this shit…”
And I know what she means. This shit of a mess that we so want to try to make better and it doesnt seem to be happening. On top of that, when we’re full in capacity (when care is just ‘good enough’ and deeply we want it to be more than that), it feels like we’re drowning and just trying to keep ourselves afloat.
It’s just draining. Physically and emotionally draining. I once wrote of how I didn’t expect working in an intensive care unit to be mentally taxing. Not because of the extremes of patients’ conditions (I have detached myself successfully in order to able to plod on) but how tiring it is mentally to try to ‘fix’ someone. Seriously, salute to all intensivists. I dont know how you guys do it … the only thing keeping me sane is the thought that I’m only doing this for six months and I’ll be off to a different rotation!
Anyway, Confessions of a Junior Doctor echoes many things that junior doctors go through.
The relentless shifts.
The sinking ship feeling.
The ‘could I have done more?’ questions you have with yourselves.
What I have realised over the years is that we need to be there for each other more. Your colleagues are your comrades. Shifts are so much better when people get along well and when there’s food (read: snacks) to keep you going!
Ok rants over.
Time to sleep xx