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.


Paediatrics – It Made Me Sick

I remember having done paediatrics as a student and as an intern. Both times, I got sick. Probably for only about a week or so, but then I got better, so I could enjoy the rest of the rotation.

I’ve been doing paediatrics now for about 6 weeks. And I hate it. Well, that’s probably not entirely true. I like managing and diagnosing paediatric conditions, but I hate the germs and bugs that comes with the patient group.

Every second or third child is a febrile, coughing, runny nosed kid. With such a high exposure rate of flu viruses and bacterial infections, it was only a matter of time before I became sick. And sick I became. In fact, for a total of 3 weeks! Yes 3 miserable weeks of suffering!

Thinking back to it, the first time I got sick, I had to cancel dinner plans with a friend. I started feeling better over the next few days, but had to do a 4 day stretch of nights. And on the last night shift… I got a sore throat. So I get sick some more, with some laryngitis, hoarse voice and the like. Just as it’s improving …. I get unilateral throat soreness. I don’t think much of it, thinking it’s viral. But over the next 2 days, I become febrile, I get chills, I have extremely painful lymph nodes, and I think I can see some exudate in the back of my throat.

I only just started some antibiotics today, and it’s already helping a bit. My throat doesn’t feel so sore anymore. I just hope I don’t spike fevers again tonight.

I must be extremely unlucky with 3 successive episodes of throat infections. I think I’ll be extremely glad to leave paediatrics behind and to leave a miserable few weeks of illness behind as well.

Changes In Place

How time has flown. It has been a month since working at the big metropolitan city. Work seems to be hectic at times, sometimes even stressful. I have become more senior, but I some how still don’t feel ready. It’s that anxiety all over again. Am I good enough in the eyes of others around me?

What has been reassuring I suppose, was the revelation that I was still¬† expected to discuss every single paediatric case with either the registrar or consultant. This was revealed to me just a week ago when I had to meet my supervisor. What a relief in knowing that I wasn’t expected to be managing cases all on my own.

What still makes me extremely anxious, is in venepuncture. With 8 year olds+, I’m reasonably ok, but it’s the little babies that still worries me. If I miss, I’ll have to call a senior doctor given that it is incredibly distressing for the babies and the parents. I would like to, no in fact, I need the practice,¬† but every time the mother says something like “oh yea, he’s really difficult and it would be best if an experienced doctor could do it”, so I always end up asking the registrar.

I also find that 10 hour shifts seems a bit long, in that when I finish work, I find I have no time to relax. Well, it’s the pace that it works at, and I suppose I’ll have to adapt.

Another 2 and a bit hours and I’ll be heading to work. Not feeling entirely 100% since I have been recovering from a cold (I had to take yesterday off due to illness), but I still have to go.

I wonder what else I can do to break the routine of work and just home? Perhaps some volunteer work? Perhaps join some local clubs (where I can possibly meet the love of my life?) I think I need to find a girlfriend this year.

A Diploma in Child Health

Earlier this year, I heard about people enrolling in a diploma in child health. All it required was 6 months of clinical paediatrics contact, some online lectures, 2 case reports and 2 exams. Best thing of all: almost all of it can be done online (except of course the exams).

Of course, having heard about this information earlier this year, I was too lazy to look further into it. I’ll look it up later I kept telling myself. Of course, weeks would go by when I completely forget to look it up, and when I’m reminded about it either through work or a colleague, I put it off again.

It wasn’t only until a few days ago when I attended a paediatric emergency workshop. Following that workshop, I realized that my paediatrics knowledge wasn’t exactly the best and up to date. So after a day of looking up the actual diploma website, I decided to join. Well, actually, I looked all over the website, but could not find out how much it cost. So curious, I enrolled, and it was only after I got provisional enrolment that I got a cost back : $AUD 3000. Not too bad I guess, given the flexibility of the program, and the 111 lectures and materials I’d get access to as well.

Having gone through 3 lectures already, I already feel smarter with things like managing DKA, and meningitis in children. I think the money will be well worth it, and it would be a great investment into my professional development.

Which brings me to another fairly important point as well: professional development. In a way, it is the responsibilty, and duty of a practicing doctor to keep up to date with information. Those who fail to do so get left behind providing outdated and inefficient care to patients. Education is definitely essential to maintaining high quality of care, and even consultants shouldn’t be exempt from continuing to learn.

All fair and all, but the major gripe I have with Australia’s method of continuing education, is that costs need to be paid out of our own pockets (of course of which we can get tax deductions). And really, medical education does not come cheap. Workshops can cost thousands of dollars. In a way, I did wish that Australia was a bit like New Zealand in that the cost of education if you are in a training program is paid by the employer.

But I suppose, different countries have different systems, and you can’t have it all.