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Diary of an FY2 – Second First Day

August 9, 2015

It’s been a strange week.

Monday was as dull as they usually are and Tuesday started normally enough. Ward round with my SpR and my shadowing FY1. She’s keen but has that deer-in-the-headlights look about her, as well as one of those dorky clipboard-thingys. Admittedly, she looks a lot less scared since I showed how to use the computers and request bloods et cetera so my work there is done. After the ward round, I performed a bone marrow biopsy all by myself (supervised by my SpR, who scored me 8/10). A pretty good day all told, and I felt good about it.

What my replacement looked like.

What my replacement looked like.

That was my last day in St Elsewhere’s Hospital.

The next morning, I’m suddenly a stranger in a strange land. Instead of heading straight for my ward, my home for the last four months, I wander down the unfamiliar corridors of Worthwhile General Hospital, looking for the meeting room where my induction to this brave new world will take place. After escaping out a fire door and walking across the emergency bay, I find the post-graduate education centre. Inside, tens of doctors all looking slightly out-of-place and trying to remember how to make friends.

The less said about induction, the better. I have trouble staying awake just thinking about it.

Thursday was my first full day as an FY2 doctor. Technically, I’m an SHO now (Just HOW did that happen?!). I found my new ward – the Cardiology Ward – and entered with trepidation. I felt so damn nervous. Out of the bays, strangers stared out at me – new nurses, new patients – except that I am the new one. I don’t know if I felt this anxious when I started last year as an FY1, when I was really new. To calm myself, I flicked through a Mills and Boon pulp in the break room as I waited for the team – my new team – to arrive.

Just two days ago, I had been coring out bone marrow and managing febrile neutropenic patients with poise and grace (and antibiotics). Now, I felt terrified that one of the patients  would get sick and all eyes would turn to me and save the day. How much of my confidence was wrapped up in St Elsewhere’s, behind the walls like so much asbestos? Now, stripped of it, I am undone.

Friday went a little better, as I was beginning to navigate through the myriad IT systems. Then, after lunch, I was approached by one of the cath-lab nurses;

“So…Rhys, is it? You’re the new SHO? Are you doing the cardioversion list today?”

“…I am?”

“Great! See you in Room 1.”

You want me to do what?

You want me to do what?!

So that was how I found myself standing over a sedated patient, with a Cath-Lab nurse and a anaesthetic SpR, and my finger on the Big Red Button. I pushed it. The patient jerked momentarily and fell back on the bed. Our eyes turn to the defibrillator’s monitor…and we had brought sinus-directed order to rate-controlled atrial chaos. We saw it and it was good. Next patient please!

I felt woefully under-prepared for such a task. But I knew what I was doing (Push the button, Rhys), I knew the aims and risks of the procedure (Because y’know, six years at medical school) and I was supported by a good team who knew that I was new (and really knew what they were doing).

This is the most incompetent I will be as an FY2. Everything I do will means I get a little less incompetent every day. And that’s not bad. A similar mantra helped me through my first weeks as a FY1 last year. And additionally, at my most incompetent, I know and can do more than I could as as FY1. I’ve remarked before how much I’ve grown in this last year. My only options now are to keep growing – or die off.

My confidence was not in St Elsewhere’s. It wasn’t dispensed to me like so much wall-mounted alcohol hand-rub. My confidence is in me. In this brave new world at Worthwhile General, it has been cowed  like a flame under a bell jar – but this is temporary. The patients have changed but they’re still sick and I can try to help them. The nurses and doctors around me have changed but they will still help me out, I trust.

And of course, there are still fax machines.

I am a stranger in a strange land, but I remain myself. Ladies and gentleman, the SHO is about to begin.

P.S: While we’re on the subject of #BlackWednesday and #NewDocsDay, here are two real good blogs on the Great Changeover.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Denise permalink
    August 15, 2015 11:06 pm

    A good read and a good start ….. (I think)!

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