18 March 2015


Burnout (or 'carer fatigue') is a subject close to my heart. 

Of my colleagues who I started with as a foundation doctor, I don't know a single one who, at some point, hasn't felt drained and exhausted to the point of becoming unwell.

I know that I've wanted to quit medicine a fair few times over the last 3.5 years, and I'm sure that's something that will happen again during my career.

The strain placed on doctors to work effectively despite (often) very demanding rotas seems counterproductive:  nursing staff are even often surprised by our unusual working schedule, and have frequently asked (across all of my many rotations), 'do you ever go home?' The answer often feels like 'no'. 

I've worked stints of shifts where you work 12 days consecutively, followed by 2 days off, and then another 12 days. Many of these days are in excess of 10 hours rota'ed.

The problem with junior staff complaining about this, is that consultants often feel that we are complaining unnecessarily, and that when they were junior doctors there was no European Working Time Directive. It's a difficult issue to address.

I've just completed the BMA burnout questionnaire (you can find it here), and the result wasn't particularly unexpected. 

Just food for thought.

14 March 2015

Plodding along

I realised last week that it has been almost a year since I posted here.
In honesty, I don't have the heart to say goodbye to the blog completely, but don't have the time to blog as regularly as I like.

I'm still working as a junior doctor (senior house officer) in the NHS - trying to combine a personal life with jumping through the hoops (and paying the money) to keep my portfolio updated and my skills up to date.

I will be back....

30 March 2014

The big stigma

Anyone who's read my blog knows that during medical school I suffered from depression.

Yet at work, all the time I hear people dismissing depression and patients with it.

It's at times like this that I like to make people feel uncomfortable. I'm not afraid to point out that depression affects everyone, including doctors.

And yes, I will turn around and point out that since 2007 I have taken anti depressants. And to the people that point out that I don't appear depressed - well antidepressants seem to work for me.

So before you make sweeping statements about depression and mental health problems, remember that not all disabilities can be seen with the naked eye.

Depressed and happy

15 March 2014


The more time I spend working the more time I wonder if I made the right decision all those years ago.

I nearly started training to be a paramedic, and while I'm not sure that would be a 'better' career choice (given how much grief the ambulance service gets on a daily basis), I can't help but think it might be more satisfying and easier to leave than medicine. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I've just got career jaded from working in the NHS for all of 30 months.

I almost wish I'd been an artist or designer now.

13 January 2014

Insomnia (again)

This is getting ridiculous now. I have a long Monday ahead of me and I'm wide awake (went to bed at 2230).

It happens a lot and it's like my brain can't switch off.

If it continues for the next few hours I'm going to be exhausted by the morning. I'll have a whole new patient list after the weekend with no idea why they have been admitted.

I'd love to take a duvet day but I'm guessing that would be frowned upon :(

So there's only 2 ways to deal with it - strong coffee and a forced smile on my face. Oh, and lots of makeup!!

11 January 2014

PAT dogs

In hospital they have PAT dogs - pets as therapy.

My dog is anything but therapy. He is the reason I am awake now.

This is possibly the best example of why

The first three are 100% accurate, in number 4 the dog would be between my legs and in number 8 it would be me that would be replaced by the dog! He's an evil little shit but I love him to bits. Even if he is the reason that I've been awoken at 0400 on my day off. As a result of which I have left satan's canine offspring upstairs and have relocated to the sofa.

Revenge will be mine - I decide when he gets fed.

08 January 2014

Changed plans

The plan for today involved a good night's sleep (in bed at 2230) before a busy day ahead.

The plan was altered by a hyperactive terrier who decided he wanted a toilet visit.

Sadly he then wanted to play. Sadly for him, he then got put downstairs in his crate. Sadly for me I then felt guilty and he's now back on the end of the bed looking smug and plotting.

This doesn't help me with my 3 hour ward round with the grumpiest consultant known to man, who *huffs* at you if you need to have a toilet break of your own.

Ah well, let caffeine be the sponsor of my day to come!

31 December 2013


This blog has been very neglected in the last 2 years since I qualified.

I've had some ups and downs (lots of downs) and had to rethink my career a few times.

I'm on a training pathway now but whether I will end up quitting it is another matter.

To anyone still reading, I wish you a Happy New Year and hope that 2014 is better for anyone who has had a shit year in 2013.

See you around from time to time

26 October 2013

Coming of age

The joy of birthdays.

Today I turned 30. I've been working as a doctor for just over 2 years now and am watching the NHS crumble under our feet.

Who even knows what the next 2 years hold, but it bet the NHS is barely recognisable in 30 years time (I'll probably still be working since we can't retire until aged 68).

10 September 2013

Some sage advice

I know it's been a while since I've posted here, but the last six weeks since Black Wednesday have made me aware of some sad facts.

The following pieces of advice are a result of events that have made me cringe:

- I've said it before and I'll say it again: Be nice to the nurses, they will stop you from killing your patients.

They also know where the secret stash of biscuits are kept and will keep you fed and watered when you've not stopped in 10 hours. But only if you're nice to them.

Nothing spreads faster than the reputation of a rude junior doctor.

- Listen to your colleagues. An FY2 doctor may only be a year above you, but that's a whole year more of learning from mistakes.

- The converse can also be said: just because you're an FY2 does not mean you can dump all your rubbish jobs on the FY1! Six weeks ago you were an FY1. Just because it happened to you doesn't make it right, it just gives you an opportunity to do the right thing.

- Everyone hates long shifts. Remember to eat, drink and pee. No-one can do it for you!

- And just to reiterate the first point: be nice to the nurses, you will want their help with getting your portfolio signed off!

Happy doctoring to all the newbies!