From Sam - Feeling Lost

When I was working 16 hour days consistently I found it was pretty easy to just turn up to work and go through the motions.

It was not fun but it was tolerable, but I remember once when I made a poor clinical decision that feeling turned quickly to despondency.

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I had a patient who was having an anaphylactic reaction. As a junior doctor you need to get your reg for most ‘exciting’ things, but anaphylaxis, that’s one I can handle, I thought.

I drew up 1mg of adrenaline and swiftly gave it to the patient intravenously, then I confidently waited for my healing powers to take effect.

The patient went bright red, his heart rate went through the roof, and he started complaining of chest palpitations. Being the first time I’d treated anaphylaxis I wasn’t sure if this was normal, so I called the consultant.

The patient did settle down, but afterwards the consultant took me to a private room and told me that I should have given a smaller dose of adrenaline intramuscularly, and that the dose I gave intravenously could have killed the patient. 

This pulled the rug out from under me. After this I majorly lost confidence. Not only was I tired but now I was fearful of every decision I made. Working became a living hell, but I kept this to myself and I didn’t share it with anyone. It wasn’t until months later that the simple act of a patient telling me what a difference I’d made to them that I realised that the adrenaline incident had actually made me a much better doctor. I was more considerate with my actions, I studied about cases more, and while I’d hated the previous few months I realised that time had been a great healer for me.

Someone once said to me that we’re going to have good days in our lives, and we’re going to have bad days, but one thing is for sure that we aren’t going to know which is which at the time. I think medicine’s like that; while our worst days are really bad, it is actually life and death, those depths cause us to stretch and be better doctors.

Being a doctor is a tough job, it’s not for everyone. I don’t think we realise what we’re really getting in to in medical school, but for the vast majority of us we lean in to the challenge and for that I am in awe of every doctor who is working away to make a difference. 

When I was working 16 hour days consistently I found it was pretty easy to just turn up to work and go through the motions.

It was not fun but it was tolerable, but I remember once when I made a poor clinical decision that feeling turned quickly to despondency.

Private_Practice_Opportunities_(82).jpg

 

I had a patient who was having an anaphylactic reaction. As a junior doctor you need to get your reg for most ‘exciting’ things, but anaphylaxis, that’s one I can handle, I thought.

I drew up 1mg of adrenaline and swiftly gave it to the patient intravenously, then I confidently waited for my healing powers to take effect.

The patient went bright red, his heart rate went through the roof, and he started complaining of chest palpitations. Being the first time I’d treated anaphylaxis I wasn’t sure if this was normal, so I called the consultant.

The patient did settle down, but afterwards the consultant took me to a private room and told me that I should have given a smaller dose of adrenaline intramuscularly, and that the dose I gave intravenously could have killed the patient. 

This pulled the rug out from under me. After this I majorly lost confidence. Not only was I tired but now I was fearful of every decision I made. Working became a living hell, but I kept this to myself and I didn’t share it with anyone. It wasn’t until months later that the simple act of a patient telling me what a difference I’d made to them that I realised that the adrenaline incident had actually made me a much better doctor. I was more considerate with my actions, I studied about cases more, and while I’d hated the previous few months I realised that time had been a great healer for me.

Someone once said to me that we’re going to have good days in our lives, and we’re going to have bad days, but one thing is for sure that we aren’t going to know which is which at the time. I think medicine’s like that; while our worst days are really bad, it is actually life and death, those depths cause us to stretch and be better doctors.

Being a doctor is a tough job, it’s not for everyone. I don’t think we realise what we’re really getting in to in medical school, but for the vast majority of us we lean in to the challenge and for that I am in awe of every doctor who is working away to make a difference. 

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  • published this page in MedWorld Blog 2016-07-22 12:16:58 +1200