Medic Thoughts (Medic Series)

A number of friends of mine have posted things recently about the whole Jeremy Hunt situation and I have to say, even though I've only been apart of the medical world for a year, I agree.

I would like to start of by saying, when I applied to medicine I didn't realise how hard it would be. I thought it would be hard but I thought I would manage. I never thought I would struggle to pass exams or even fail the end of year exams and have to resit the year. I never imagined it could be as hard as it is and I think the only way you can get through it, is to be absolutely sure you want to be a doctor.

I've met a number of people at UCL who have said that they were forced to do it by their parents or even that they only want to apply to say that got in or that they're dropping out after year 3 and just getting the first degree. To this I was shocked. Firstly, to take away the opportunity of someone else getting on the course, who is totally committed to a career in medicine I actually think is really selfish. Secondly, it's hard! Why would you put yourself though all the work and stress of 3 years to not do the actual course! Finally, I think if you don't have the passion to do it, there is absolutely no way your going to sit through 7 hours of lectures a day and then spend night after night revising.

If anyone told me they wanted to study medicine before I started, I was always thrilled for them. I would be excited to discuss it... But that was when I only thought about the end product; the helping people, achieving something every day and being happy about what I was doing. Now I realise that the course to become that is hard and with all the debating and absolute disgraceful comments about doctors recently, it's hard to see what respect doctors have anymore.

I was seriously moved by the following statement so I thought I would share:

I frequently get asked by friends of parents, and work experience students, whether it's worth becoming a doctor. And my advice has always been: yes, do it if your heart is in it.

I'm going to revise that now. Don't become a doctor.

It's not actually about the money, although with the governments pay reviews, your average F1 and F2 doctors are going to be paid less than a branch manager at Gregg's the Baker, or McDonald's. 

Nor is it about the lengthy working hours, although again, many doctor's with commuting times wind up sleeping less than 6 hours between 13-14 hour long night shifts, which isn't allowed for pilots or HGV drivers.

I signed up to medical school to help people, make sick people better. But the lines have become so blurred with the media warping people's expectations so much that it's become next to impossible. In this age when the customer is always right, patients expect antibiotics for coughs and colds, or that something must be done for incurable long term conditions. And we try, yet each time an error is made or we don't meet the patients' expectations we're castigated, often on social media where we can't even defend ourselves owing to our duty of confidentiality.

As a consultant I see suffering and pain everyday, but the young junior doctors do too. These are people in their twenties, spending the primes of their youth seeing patients dying, in pain, having to make serious decisions about their care. Yet as a society which measures how much we value people by how much they're paid, we value them less than managers of a fast food restaurant? How is this right?

The government hopes to recruit hundreds more doctors in the coming years but with these changes in contact being forced through, the message it sends is clear. We don't value junior doctors and the goodwill work they provide. 

Junior doctors stay above and beyond their hours to make sure sick people are sorted, it's just what we do. An F1 I know sat holding the hand of a dying patient with no family late into the night after her shift. Take away that goodwill, and the system will collapse.

So no, don't become a doctor. It's just not worth it anymore.