I know we are already 3 weeks into the new year, but I guess it’s a good time for me to reflect on the past year now that internship has officially ended. It seems quite surreal that I’ve been a doctor for a year already. I can’t imagine having interns coming to me for advice/help. I still feel like such a noob. I can’t see my future. Perhaps it’s the ‘setback’ of not getting the ideal job that I want for this year that’s making me unsure about what I want to specialise in. Perhaps it’s because I’ve found something else that I enjoy doing. I don’t know. But at least I’ve got a few of the rotations that I asked for this year, so it’s a good time for me to figure out where my interests really lie.
Rotation 1 was an ideal rotation to begin the year as a doctor. The workload was manageable and the patients weren’t that sick. Learnt how to manage the bread & butter stuff such as CCF, pneumonia and COPD. However, the downside was the lack of exposure to emergency situations. MET calls were few, and there were usually more than enough people to deal with the situation, so most of the time I just observed. Except on one of the cover shifts where I was the first doctor to arrive at the MET call. Thankfully DRABC sufficed whilst awaiting more senior help. I still remember that I used to make a point to see every single patient I got paged about when on cover, even if it was a page about a BP of 180 or a BSL of 18. Gradually I learnt to ask a few important questions to determine whether the patient needed a review or not, and I was able to give phone orders with more confidence.
Rotation 2 was surgery, which wasn’t my cup of tea to begin with. Early starts & late finishes, intimidating bosses, and a NUM who picked on us didn’t make things any better. But someone up there was kind enough to give me the best colleagues to make up for the job that I didn’t like doing :) People used to call us “The Three Musketeers”, haha. Yes I’ve met many new people throughout the year, but the ones that I still keep in touch with and see outside of work are those that I met in this rotation. It was 1 of the 2 rotations that the team went out – interns, registrars, consultants – and got to know each other better in a social setting. You guys have been a blessing, you know who you are :) I hope we still get to catch up this year despite us going on different paths.
Rotation 3 was a different world altogether. Every patient had their own story, and I still have very vivid memories of some of them. I went on quite an emotional ride but emerged knowing myself a bit better than before. It was nice to be working directly under a consultant, who acknowledged my efforts and talked me through things, good and bad. I’ve said this before, and I will say this again: I have the utmost respect for mental health nurses. They have so much patience, and they have selflessly put themselves in potentially dangerous situations. It was a fantastic learning experience, but I don’t think I can do this for the rest of my life.
Rotation 4 was a bit difficult initially, being 7 hours away from home and having to live by myself again. Luckily everyone got along pretty well, and there were frequent dinners, be it a cook-out in someone’s apartment or going into town to try one of the many restaurants. In the last few weeks we even had weekly drinks in the courtyard and a BBQ as well. This was the other rotation where we interns hung out frequently with the registrars. After all, there were only that many of us around, haha. Only that we stopped hanging out when the rotation ended, ah well :( Anyway, making referrals was stress-free because everyone knew each other and were generally nice. The patient load was heavier than in Rotation 1, but I learnt to manage quick enough. Didn’t mind finishing work late because I got paid for OT, and accommodation was only 1 minute away, so I got home with plenty of time for the evening/night anyway. Had 3 locum registrars in 3 weeks, which was horrible because I had to orientate them and introduce patients to them at the start of the week. But it gave me some autonomy with regards to patient management, so something good still came out of it. This rotation was also where I had my first CPR experience. I still remember it like it happened yesterday, I hope Mr L is resting in peace.
Rotation 5 was a good way to consolidate what I’ve learnt throughout the year. I saw a variety of cases, and I liked the fact that I turned up to work each shift not knowing what I would see. Makes life less mundane, hehe. Shift work didn’t bother me as much as it did some of my other friends, but I have to admit that a few night shifts here & there did make my sleep cycle go haywire and sometimes on my days off I felt so exhausted that I just wanted to chill at home. Worked with a few really awesome consultants, it’s certainly nice to know that people have been saying good things about me :)
In terms of the social aspect of life, like I’ve said, I’ve met many new people at the workplace and have a group whom I meet outside of work once in a while. Still keeping in touch with the old friends, catching up over meals about once per rotation. And still going strong with the bf of 5.5 years :) I also have meals with the bf’s friends sometimes, whether he is around or not. So on the whole, I think I have a decent social life although I have to admit that things are not the same without some of the other meddies I used to hang out with. (Met them recently back in Singapore and we had sooooooooo much to catch up on!)
I still call home via skype once a week like I’ve done over the past 5 years. It sucks to be away from home, but I’m happy & satisfied with my life in Melbourne. I’m glad my family has been very supportive of me all these years and I’m thankful that they are all healthy and doing well.
2011 had been a good year of experiencing, learning and growing. May 2012 be even better :)