The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Friday, 17 June 2016

MEDICINE CULTURE

If I ask any of my friends how they are, I'm pretty sure the answer will be "Stressed". It's two weeks until my written exams and everyone is feeling the pressure. Most of us are having mini melt downs at this point. We have good days where we enjoy the subject revision, and other days where a mate may bring up a disease that you haven't gone over. Your heart sinks and you think: "I'm still not ready".

The trouble is we're only in our second year of medical school. We have many more exams of greater importance still to come: finals, SJTs, MRCPs etc. Plus, we will be revising for those whilst spending more and more time in the hospital rather than in the library.  Some of those exams will cost us £500 per attempt. 

Sadly I have met many medical students, junior doctors and consultants who are unhappy; who are drained, frustrated and fatigued. 

As much as I want to be a doctor, I don't want my profession to be my life. I don't want to spend a career fraught with anxiety and feeling as if I'm missing out on The Real World. 

I am trying to find a balance between revising well and enjoying life. However, I feel guilty any time I'm not in the library going over my notes. I am trying my best to find this infamous 'work-life balance'. 

I don't want medicine to be a vocation filled with negativity. Recently there have been junior doctor contract threats and the suicide of Dr Rose Polge, a junior doctor working in Devon who allegedly left a message to Jeremy Hunt in her suicide letter. A career is not worth a life. A career that is based around helping others and caring for others, seems ironic that the doctors themselves are not being cared for. 



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  1. It worries me how much people pressure themselves and how stress becomes normality for many medical students. Having a good work-life balance has always been very important to me. During revision time I try to go home so that I'm not around other medics and comparing myself. I try to remind myself that having the highest scores won't necessarily make me the best doctor in years to come and that it's ok to take time to look after myself. A little stress is normal at exam time, but it shouldn't become overwhelming.
    Good luck with your exams :)
    Jennifer x
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