Year Long Sacrifice

Reflecting back on the events of this year, I’m amazed at how fast time has gone.

First comes the moving back to the big city from a regional centre, then comes the job applications and interviews for general practice positions, and now finally, I have finished my paediatrics diploma in child health exam! Well, to be more precise I sat the exam on Friday, and only had time to write about it now. I’m such a bad blogger :p

No more needing to rush home to study paediatrics. No more weekends spent listening to online lectures. No more stress!

I was lucky to have been able to take an entire week out to study, which was really helpful. My work colleague jokingly told me off on the bus after the exam, saying how busy it got in obstetrics and gynaecology without me. She ended up having to do my postnatal checks in addition to hers. But, I had to do that for a week before, when one of the previous residents resigned as well. So in my defence, I can at least say I’ve done the work before.

But after all this, I feel like I need to start preparing for study for general practice… A life in medicine entails exams till you’re at least 30 years old.

Now, at least I can come home without need to worry about intense study at least. I can study at a somewhat more relaxed pace for general practice.


GP Placements

Having just had about 4 weeks of annual leave, I wish I could say that I had a pleasant holiday. However, aside from going to a foreign country that has a great big firewall *Cough* *China*, I have to say that it felt incredibly busy, almost as if I was working.

For starters, on return from my trip from China, I would have to sit a Chinese written exam. I suppose being in China helped somewhat with this by being exposed to the language, but what we get tested on is entirely based off a textbook, which I had to carry around and study in my spare time while at the hotel.

The next most annoying thing, was that I had somehow organized an oral assessment task for my paediatrics diploma for the 3rd of June, also a few days after I returned back home from China. So I ended up studying for that as well, staying up late at night in the hotel to study. It was only after 2 weeks into my trip to china that my assessor advised me that she couldn’t make the 3rd of June, so I was able to push it back to the 17th of June.

Another thing (the tasks just keep piling!), was that I had to do some research into the application process for next year’s GP practice intake. This involved lots of boring reading online about the steps needed, the rules and regulations etc… And I also needed to update my CV, and write a letter of application, not to mention thinking about interview questions and how to best answer them. So this too involved long late nights of work in the hotel as well.

So my holiday kind of went like this….

  1. Arrive in Guangzhou, China all exhausted
  2. Find hotel and place to stay
  3. Study
  4. Go to Guilin and Qingdao by train and plane respectively
  5. Study on the train and on the plane while going to destinations
  6. Start stressing out as date of chinese exam, paediatrics assessment task and GP application date starts approaching
  7. Big sigh of relief once assessor postpones oral assessment task
  8. Continue to study in hotel till late night anyway despite the above

After that, I came back home, having happy memories of my time spent studying in the hotels…….

Well, I still need to work on my applications for GP, which I shall hopefully submit tomorrow.

Hitting the Books Again

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. I’ve been too busy trying to sort through work related issues to have had any meaningful time to myself to blog and to relax. It’s only this past week that I have had a taste of working in a more relaxed and less chaotic environment.

And with this more relaxed and less chaotic environment, I’m actually wanting to do more study, and wanting to hit the books. I actually feel like I can start to sit down, and learn a few things from what I encounter at the hospital. My previous rotations were way too draining for me to get into a good mood for reading.

I’m spending more time with my Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, and the small Harrison’s book. They give me great information about general medicine. Reading in itself to learn about the information feels much more different than as a student however. As a student, I was reading because I had to for exams. Now, I’m reading because I want to. It’s a way for myself to expand my mind about things related to medical.

I get up early in the morning, and I start to read. I think I might incorporate some meditation before starting the books. Meditating early in the morning is just tranquil… It will help me to get in the zone. So, I usually wake up around 5-5:30 am, do some reading, breakfast and preparing for tonight’s dinner, and then 7:40 am, head off to work. It means I can get at least an hour or so of reading every day.

With my new tablet, perhaps I can create some flash cards to reinforce the stuff that I have read up on? And perhaps I could read the PDF files I have on my new tablet as well. I’ve never felt more motivated to read about medicine than before, and I attribute this to work stress. When you feel stressed at work, you come home and don’t want to study, because you don’t want to be confronted by more work related stuff. I guess it’s kind of like chefs who come home, and don’t cook dinner, because they’ve been cooking all day.

Well, reading up on medicine will hopefully give me some much needed knowledge about things, since I feel that my previous rotation taught me nothing much, except how to handle chaos, and how to survive against ruthless consultants. More about that on another day…..

Always Studying…

As a junior doctor, you would think that after going through 4 years of medical school, I’d be pretty knowledgeable in treating people right? Wrong! The reality is, I still almost know nothing about treating people. If you turn to me for help in treating an illness, I’ll turn to a more senior doctor for help. That’s how it’s working out for me now, and I havn’t got in trouble yet for this. In fact, that’s one of the expected duties of us junior doctors; if there is something you don’t know, you go and seek for more senior help. At the end of the day, it’s doing no harm to patients, so if you’re not sure of something, look it up, or find help.

The great thing after graduation however, is that I don’t need to study for exams. I get to actually practice medicine by seeing real patients and contributing to their management in hospital. That’s something I never got to do as a medical student. It’s much more effective reinforcement of learning when you actually apply what you know as opposed to just regurgitation for an exam.

Whenever I go home (and I’m not too tired) I’ll usually look up concepts and information about patients and cases I’ve seen at hospital so I can learn from what I see at the hospital. That’s one of the things I love about medicine – you’re always learning something new everyday, so you won’t get stale.