From Sam - My first job

samhazledine.jpg

Last year I toured the country speaking to all the graduating medical students about life as a doctor. They were enthusiastic, energetic and they all looked well rested!

Compare that to the first year house officers who came to speak at the event; tired, bitter and often really negative about the profession.

What changed???

It took me back to when I became a doctor. Do you remember how great that felt? Six long years at medical school and finally ‘Dr’ is in front of your name.

When I graduated I used ‘Dr’ everywhere and I loved it. I remember the first time I checked in to an international flight...

“I’m a doctor” I said.

“That’s nice” was the reply.

“I’m here to help if you need it” I said proudly.

“Good” was the unenthusiastic reply.

“So I’m happy to be upgraded to business class if you want” I pushed on.

“We can’t do that” they shut me down with.

It was still early in my career so that didn’t perturb me at all, my enthusiasm was fully intact.

I started working as a House Officer at Dunedin Public Hospital. My first run was psychiatry. A very gentle entry in to medicine, except for the long days covering neurosurgery. When a neurosurgical patient was going off asking them “how does it make you feel” didn’t seem appropriate! It took me back to our first day at medical school when a professor stood in front of us a shared that a good doctor knows how to say I don’t know. While the neurosurgeon had a tough reputation I soon learnt that if I ran every decision by her she was happy.

When I started everything was shiny and new and I loved it. But 12 months in and I found myself going through the motions like many other doctors do. I realised that I was just focusing on all the tasks I had to do, chasing bloods, ordering investigations etc. and I’d forgotten why I was there in the first place.

When I asked the medical students why they wanted to be doctors, without fail they all said “to help people.”

When I forgot that I was there to help people I lost the thrill of the profession. For me the answer was simply to ask myself “how can I serve this person greatly?” before I saw every patient and interacted with every colleague.

It changed everything for me. I still had all the tasks to do, but because I knew why I was doing them it was OK.

I remember a medical registrar, Chris Jackson, who I thought was awesome. He was always cheerful, always helpful, and the patients and his colleagues loved him. He is a guy who never seemed to become disconnected with why he was there and he was brilliant as a result.

I really believe everyone can be a ‘Chris Jackson’ but I think that if it doesn’t happen naturally we must consciously focus on being there to serve. That’s what’s awesome about our profession, we make a real difference to people’s lives, we just need to remember that and not become immune to the fact.

samhazledine.jpg

Last year I toured the country speaking to all the graduating medical students about life as a doctor. They were enthusiastic, energetic and they all looked well rested!

Compare that to the first year house officers who came to speak at the event; tired, bitter and often really negative about the profession.

What changed???

It took me back to when I became a doctor. Do you remember how great that felt? Six long years at medical school and finally ‘Dr’ is in front of your name.

When I graduated I used ‘Dr’ everywhere and I loved it. I remember the first time I checked in to an international flight...

“I’m a doctor” I said.

“That’s nice” was the reply.

“I’m here to help if you need it” I said proudly.

“Good” was the unenthusiastic reply.

“So I’m happy to be upgraded to business class if you want” I pushed on.

“We can’t do that” they shut me down with.

It was still early in my career so that didn’t perturb me at all, my enthusiasm was fully intact.

I started working as a House Officer at Dunedin Public Hospital. My first run was psychiatry. A very gentle entry in to medicine, except for the long days covering neurosurgery. When a neurosurgical patient was going off asking them “how does it make you feel” didn’t seem appropriate! It took me back to our first day at medical school when a professor stood in front of us a shared that a good doctor knows how to say I don’t know. While the neurosurgeon had a tough reputation I soon learnt that if I ran every decision by her she was happy.

When I started everything was shiny and new and I loved it. But 12 months in and I found myself going through the motions like many other doctors do. I realised that I was just focusing on all the tasks I had to do, chasing bloods, ordering investigations etc. and I’d forgotten why I was there in the first place.

When I asked the medical students why they wanted to be doctors, without fail they all said “to help people.”

When I forgot that I was there to help people I lost the thrill of the profession. For me the answer was simply to ask myself “how can I serve this person greatly?” before I saw every patient and interacted with every colleague.

It changed everything for me. I still had all the tasks to do, but because I knew why I was doing them it was OK.

I remember a medical registrar, Chris Jackson, who I thought was awesome. He was always cheerful, always helpful, and the patients and his colleagues loved him. He is a guy who never seemed to become disconnected with why he was there and he was brilliant as a result.

I really believe everyone can be a ‘Chris Jackson’ but I think that if it doesn’t happen naturally we must consciously focus on being there to serve. That’s what’s awesome about our profession, we make a real difference to people’s lives, we just need to remember that and not become immune to the fact.

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