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I Will Always Remember

February 28, 2014

This week saw the end of my last clinical attachment as a medical student.

I have spent a quarter of my life inside medical school. 281 weeks have gone by since I first started as a naive and somewhat chunky teenager back in 2008. Since then, in addition to lectures, small group tutorials and trawling the library shelves at 11pm I have been on 20 clinical attachments, lasting between one week and ten weeks.

Some attachments I have enjoyed. Some have made my eyes light up with the wonders of really cool medicine. Some have made me feel almost…competent.

Like the A&E firm in the wilds of Surrey. My days were filled with practical skills and minor procedures that made me believe I might not just be two left hands after all. There were regular opportunities to help reduce Colle’s wrist fractures by pulling on the damn thing, while the little old ladies they were attached to got high on the gas. And that time, I pushed the big red button to cardiovert a patient’s pesky persistent tachycardia. The power of god was in that button.

Of course, some attachments have been a grind. Some have made me curse outrageous, uncaring fate and seriously consider the Escape Plan of running away to work in a bookshop.

There have been times where I have felt every inch the bumbling 6’4” fool. Frustrating doctors, annoying nurses and embarrassing patients with my good intentions. There have been times when consultants have condescended to let me sit in their clinic, before forgetting my like the office furniture. There have been times when I have wandered the hospital, my inertia keeping me from doing anything of any utility.

After all this time, I can’t quite believe the party’s (nearly) over. From here on, there are exams, elective and then…what? Cross the Rubicon and enter the real world – be a doctor. As much as I could not conceive life in medical school as a teenager, I cannot realistically conceive life beyond August. And you know what? I don’t want to go.

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Being a medical student is great. I would gladly do it all again. I would take all the early surgical starts and late evening lectures. I would take one in four placements at St Elsewhere’s if it meant I could run through the warrens of St Mary’s again. I would face every question, sit every exam and fill out every last damn assessment form if it meant I could once again share in the unshakeable camaraderie of firms partners, the warm humanity of talking with patients, that strange feeling that by uncountable degrees I might be learning.

As a close friend put it recently, I don’t know why I’m here but it’s a right fit.

But.

But medical school was never an end unto itself. Medical school was never the goal. It is only one chapter, one six-year-long chapter of my life, crammed with footnotes and addenda scribbled in the margin. Change isn’t bad, it’s just different, and everything needs to change. There are things I want to do, people I want to be, and that can only happen after medical school. Life in the next six months is going to get pretty scary…but it might be fun as well. It’s going to be one hell of an adventure. But I will always remember.

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I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doc…

Well, I will always remember when the medical student was me.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2014 9:41 pm

    Of course, if I crash and burn in Finals, this won’t be the end. Awkward.

  2. February 28, 2014 9:44 pm

    And do you know what, Rhys? He’s a-comin’! Who is? The Doctor…. 🙂 Best of luck with the exams.

  3. Bex permalink
    February 28, 2014 11:40 pm

    You’ll never crash & burn lovely boy!

  4. bobob permalink
    March 1, 2014 5:54 am

    Pretty good sumury, just the right level of sentimentalitly. May eveen make me take the time to apreciate firms more

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