If you haven't heard of Confessions of a Junior Doctor, it's a real-life TV series on Channel 4 showcasing the lives of junior doctors and the current strains on the NHS. Some of my friends have told me to watch it, and others have warned me against it in case it puts me off being a doctor. This evening I decided to take the plunge and watch the first episode, and here are some thoughts that I had whilst watching it:
1) Oh God, this is going to be my life from August.
2) Oh God, I start work on the first Wednesday in August.
3) I'M GOING TO BE A DOCTOR IN AUGUST.
4) "They'll [the junior doctors will] welcome us into the world. They will be there at the end." The circle of lifeeeeeee! (sorry)
5) How will I cope with my first cardiac arrest?
6) "To survive as a junior doctor you must have courage". What happens if I'm not brave enough?
7) What will we do if the NHS collapses? It can't survive the way it's going at the moment.
8) What if I can't cope with the pressure and workload?
9) What if I can't cope with the long hours and lack of sleep?
10) I'm going to have patients' lives in my hands.
11) What if I can't get blood from a patient and it's really embarrassing?
12) What if I make a patient cry?
13) What if I cry?!
14) I might be the only doctor on my ward on my first day. What happens if I don't know what to do?
15) I've never inserted an NG tube and this F1 is doing one by herself on her first day...
16) THIS IS SO DRAMATIC!
17) Much more dramatic than in real life. Cardiac arrests and acute situations in real life can be quite underwhelming.
18) What if I really hate the job and it gets too much?
19) What if I get depressed again because I can't cope with the stress?
20) What if I get attached to a patient and they die?
21) What if I could have done more?
22) I don't like that I can't take the time to sit down and listen to my patients as a doctor. It's a luxury that I have as a medical student at the moment.
23) What if I'm so busy that I can't do my best for my patients?
24) It never feels this busy or under-staffed when I'm on placement. Perhaps this is over-dramatised, or perhaps I just don't notice it as a medical student because I don't have as much responsibility.
25) Am I going to have a social life?
26) This is going to be such a hard job.
27) I hope I can really use my own experiences and help people with mental health problems.
28) Breaking bad news to patients and their family is going to be one of the hardest parts of the job.
29) What happens if I'm so tired that I miss things or make mistakes?
30) Palliative care is such a rewarding specialty. I would seriously consider it as my future career.
31) Being a doctor is such a privilege. Patients open up to you and trust you with their lives.
Overall, the programme did not put me off being a doctor in the slightest. As we go through medical school, we are warned about the hard side of being a doctor, but we also receive so many positive stories too. Most of the doctors I speak to love their jobs. I know that the NHS is going through a really hard time at the moment, and that something needs to change (i.e. it needs a lot more money and staff). But I also know that Confessions of a Junior Doctor is part of the media, and it is going to over-dramatise certain situations to make good TV.
I liked that the programme really showed how hard junior doctors work, and some of the situations that they have to deal with. It is going to be a really difficult job, but I'm hoping that at the end of the day I will come away feeling like I have achieved something, and that I have helped someone. At the end of the day, that's what being a doctor is all about.
Listen to your own voice, your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves.