The musings of a junior doctor

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Remembering who you are outside of medicine

When anyone starts a new job there is the inevitable adjustment period: getting used to the role, the team, the inner workings of the company. Of course, I didn’t expect my first job as a doctor to be easy. However, the problem I’m having is remembering who I was before I started that job. In truth, it feels as if I haven’t done much else than work. 

It’s quite strange that I even became a doctor, when I was more suited to the humanities and languages. I have no special ability in science, definitely not in physics. Medical school applicants are usually students with a wide array of hobbies: sports, musical instruments, public speaking, charity work. It attracts someone who is used to spinning 10 plates at once. Now that I’ve started my job, I am really struggling to remember what I like to do in my own time. That being said, there isn’t exactly a lot of your own time anyway. 

I am short on time, I work hard and am still behind on my tasks. I feel guilty about the audit that isn’t complete, the portfolio sign offs I’ve yet to chase, the teaching session I haven’t written, the cremation forms that the cash office still hasn’t paid me for, the study leave form I haven’t given to my supervisor yet. The weekend I was due to do my first half marathon I am now going on a career taster weekend. Not that I actually committed to the necessary running training programme to begin with. 

In truth, the thought of doing some of my hobbies feels nothing more than a chore. Running isn’t really fun and effortless unless I’m training regularly, playing the piano is frustrating when I haven’t practised enough to play the pieces to the standard I want them at. 

Many people would read this and think, “you don’t find time, you make time for things you find important”. This is the realisation I am at now. We had a lecture on resilience at work and it was surprisingly good. All of this struggle is subjective. I have to remind myself that every day I choose to do this job, I can accept what comes with it or leave. No one is forcing me to turn up every day. I cannot complain when it is my choice. Sadly a boy I went to school with has died recently, he was the same age as me. Each day is a reminder that I have an opportunity that he will never have. 

I love being a doctor, but I also want to be a separate person other than my job. To have the time to be all the other facets of myself. Navigating how I will do this isn’t a chore, but a privilege to have.

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