Experience Comes With Time

It’s always been said that experience comes with time. That’s something you can’t rush, as it takes exposure and learning from mistakes before things become ingrained into one’s repertoire of knowledge and skills.

And so, that’s what I’ve realized the beginning of this year. That I have definitely gained a year’s experience of being a doctor.

It’s strange in that going through my rotations, I always felt in a way that I wasn’t making much progress. I’d get familiar with a rotation, start to get comfortable, and then bam! It’s time to move onto the next rotation, where I am completely unfamiliar with the environment, and the jobs that I’m supposed to do. And it’s from the fact that I’m always moved to new units and wards that keeps making me feel like I have made no progress at all.

It hasn’t only been till the beginning of this year, where I am currently in Emergency rotation again that I can actually feel the progress I have made from last year. Taking a history is much smoother, as I am familiar with certain presentations and know what questions to ask, what differential diagnoses to consider and what relevant investigations to order.

What also surprises me, is how my just seems much more organized with things. Last year, I relied on a clip board and paper, scrawling almost everything the patient told me. This year, I still bring a clipboard and paper, but find that I spend more time listening to the patient, and only note things down that I will forget like a list of medications, or a list of their past medical history. I’ve always been in awe of the doctors that could take a history without a pen or paper, and recall nearly everything about the patient history. I thought they possessed some super human memory capabilities, something that I was lacking in. But I feel a step closer to that now 🙂

Another thing that happened last night, was when the consultant told me I did a “good job” at the end of my shift. I had never been told that last year, but being told that last night really made my day. It was something I never would have expected, not the least in the Emergency Department anyway.

Taking from all this, the past year has definitely given me some experience. I’ve learned from mistakes, I’ve become familiar with common presentations, I’ve gained some experience. And now I can see why most consultants have grey hair. It’s taken them a lot of time and experience to get to their position, and it isn’t something that can be had overnight.

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2 thoughts on “Experience Comes With Time

  1. Good job! So glad to hear that recalling patients’ histories gets easier 🙂 I remember being with a consultant on ward rounds and had just been promoted from being “curtain person” to writing up the notes as we saw each patient. The next day a different consultant seeing that I had been the scribe, asked me to summarise the history in front of the first patient, but because I’d been frantically concentrating on just writing correctly the previous consultant’s findings and management plan I couldn’t remember a thing! He didn’t ask me again and I might be waiting for a while for a “good job” from that particular consultant 😦 Lesson learnt.

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    1. Yea, I think with any skill, it takes time and practice to be able to grasp at the important points of the history, and to be able to summarize it succinctly. I could never imagine it as a skill that I could improve on. I thought it was either a “born with or without” type of skill, but you will learn how to recall and summarize patient histories.

      Liked by 1 person

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