Thursday, February 1, 2007

Why am I here?

I am a twenty something year old slightly cynical doctor working somewhere in the South of the United Kingdom. To say that I am slightly fed up of my job could possibly be "the" understatement of the century however there are some (albeit minor) perks to the job. One of these is the amazing dinner-party entertaining, jaw dropping, hilarious and sometimes disgusting stories that you come across in your daily routine. (That is if you ever have time off to attend said dinner engagement). The human aspect of the job leads you to develop a certain character and way of thinking which sometimes alienates you from others...namely non-medics.

Some things you ought to know about doctors in general

1) Most of us are not that caring, sharing fuzzywuzzy want to give you a hug type of person. We are the cream of the crop of arrogant Type A personality , ultra-competitive , back-stabbing, self centred smartasses who think that having the illustrious title of "Doctor" in front of our name gives us the moral high ground and right to sneer at anyone who isnt a "professional" when in reality we are overworked, exhausted, regretful and highly jealous of associates who managed to make better career choices than us back in high school. The moral and snobby perspective is a defence mechanism...we have to constantly reaffirm ourselves because God knows no one else will. Becoming a doctor was something one did to "prove" that you could- even now it isnt a walk in the park. But why do we do it? Gone are the days of highly esteemed and respected doctors. Most of us are lucky to get through a single day without a verbal insult or two.

2) We may smile at you when we see you and treat you all as equals - our professional codes of conduct tell us to act in this way. You know though that deep down we have an opinion about you, your level (or lack)of personal hygiene, your insight into your illness, your "whine" factor , whether you have the annoying relative who harrasses us every thirty seconds and doesn't allow us to actually treat you. Every word that comes out of your mouth will either work in your favour or against you. Although they like you to think that they aren't judging, nurses are the most judgemental. I hear the most scathing comments about patients before I have even met them from the nursing staff...and oh my word can it be harsh!
NB- Don't worry, if you're a sane person who genuinely needs medical attention and aren't a drunken time waster with an element of neuroticism about you we are generally pleasant and enjoy treating you- honest!

3) If your medical condition has come about as a result of your own stupidity you can be sure that we won't have too much sympathy even if we do keep a straight face when we come to treat you. Medical ethics prevent us from telling all our mates down the pub that Mr Joe Bloggs managed to burn his private parts while trying out his wifes steam facial down there but medics have a terrible habit of telling the story anonymously as a "teaching point" for others. I have even heard the same story told by different doctors because the case was so interesting. The truth is probably that our own lives have become so robot-like and dull that the only interesting aspects are those relating to the amusing things patients have managed to do....

4) The majority of doctors know what they are doing. After all we all had to pass all those gruelling exams and assessments year in year out despite the other trials and tribulations of university life. Rarely there will be one who slipped through the net or actually was a model student but the reality of life as a jobsworth working for the NHS has worn away any element of pride in work and care. These are usually the ones that respond to questions from patients with either an undistinguishable grunt or the ones who walk away and pretend they didnt hear what you were saying. That is usually the latter sort of doctor, the ones who think"...actually you know what? I don't care. See ya!". Most just get on with the work at hand and spend most of their life making the people who have the misfortune of being close to them almost as miserable as themselves by virtue of almost constant whingeing....

5)Most doctors have actually forgotten the answer to that all important question they oh-so dilligently prepared for pre-medical school...."So why do you want to be a doctor?". Personally I never even had an answer for that all those years ago. I lived on my ability to blag (shame it doesnt work much outside of interviews)

6) Working for the nhs is generally very very very depressing. Most of us would rather run away to some obscure country than work here but its like one of those life-sapping parasites. Once you're lumbered with it, its bloody hard getting out again. No matter what you do to try and get out, somehow you bounce back in, and feel worse for it every single time.

7) Being a (junior) doctor in the nhs is akin to being a trained monkey. You actually don't need all that training to do the sort of work you are required to do as a junior. I certainly remember spending hours on end chasing test results, requesting other examinations scans and tests and generally being at the beck and call of my masters (Consultants). I think the taxpayers money would be better spent training a bunch of school leavers to fetch and carry stuff around hospitals, that and learn to take blood....all for minimum wage. Yes Mr Blair I am suggesting ways of reducing the NHS multimillion pound deficit that seems to be burning up any chance we had of good clinical care. I mean whats the point in having highly qualified "professionals" if they aren't allowed to treat patients in a professional way because of financial restrictions?
Back to the point- getting these school leavers in on the act would be great because it would have double effect- hopefully the time they spend at work would a) keep them off the dole (hahaha- yeah right!) and b) keep them out of trouble- perhaps lower that horrendous teen pregnancy rate we have? Lets face it if you don't have a job and everything is a bit dire, what can you do that doesnt cost anything to amuse yourself?! and theres another teen-smoking-buggy pushing-cider drinking micro family sapping the economy for "jobseekers allowance" and the suchlike. Hurrah. Thats why I went to medical school- I remember now- to work myself to the brink of being ill, multiple evenign weekend and night shifts looking after people who didnt care for themselves or others around them and pay a sizeable chunk of my earning to a system which supports these sorts of things....oh yeah, and to amass huge loans that will take me the next 20 years to pay back for 6 years of is good.


MJ said...

Hi, thanks for the comment in my blog. Welcome to the blog world, your first post is great. Keep it up!

kingmagic said...

Dr. No No...welcome to the blog world. I was surprised to find so many docs blogging.

I think you will find it quite theraputic and informative...I know I have.

All the best...kingmagic of Purpleplus.