15 November 2012

At what point do we say no?

My patients are, and will always be my first priority.

As a junior based solely on the shop floor (i.e. the wards) I'm often better suited to tell the consultant or registrar how the management plans have been panning out.

The problem comes when the seniors expect you to go above and beyond the line of duty.

I work hard - very hard. I often don't take proper breaks and almost never leave on time. However this is being taken for granted. At 1700 I'm officially 'not here / a figment of your imagination / don't ask me unless it's life threatening' however it seems to be expected that I will stay practically forever to ensure things are to my consultants liking.

I get that medicine used to be like that, however with greater workload, paperwork and responsibility comes a higher likelihood of burnout. In my current job I feel I'm heading that way.

I'm finally learning so say 'no' but it doesn't seem to be going down well.

Ive tried explaining that I'm happy to hand things on to the on-call team but it seems this isn't good enough.

What would you do?


GrumpyRN said...

You're only there for what....? Three months? And you no longer rely on the consultant for references. Sod it! Go home. Does the consultant stay beyond his time? I'll bet not.
Just make sure you are caught up and have handed things over.

Shehrazed said...

I think personally I'd always be afraid to say no, and you make an excellent point by mentioning burn out.
I have a hard enough time telling a senior staff member no when I'm asked about staying later to see something on firms, let alone when you actually are important to patients.

I think you need to put yourself forward here. If you occasionally have to stay behind to complete something for a patient (not senior staff) then all the credit goes for you and your dedication. But if burn out is becoming a very real issue for you you've got to remember that if you don't take care of yourself, you're not going to be able to take proper care of your patients. And at the end of the day, that's your priority.

I imagine it wouldn't be going down to well with the consultants, but you need to do what you need to do, and hopefully with time it will simply become easier for you to find that balance and say no when you need to. All the best~

Anonymous said...

If no-one ever refuses to work additional hours, then it becomes accepted practice and that's when you're expected to stay behind for minor non-important issues. If every junior doctor makes it clear that this isn't acceptable, then that becomes the norm, improving working conditions for everyone. I understand that it's easy to say and a lot harder to actually do though. I'd say just try to stand your ground the best you can, show that you are willing to stay behind for serious issues occasionally, but don't let yourself get taken advantage of.

I hope things improve for you soon :)