Tuesday, 22 February 2011

How much is enough?

words of wisdom from Wonderella
Today was rectal exam day.

But more importantly, it reminded me how I don't have enough time or energy or ability to be the best.

And how, on a low day, this is really dragging me down.

I don't understand it all, my clinical skill set from nursing is yet to be useful and I am surrounded by over-achievers, Rainman's marginally more socially adept cousin or full-on alpha males. And me, I just want to pass.

I know I can be a good doctor. I know this. Get me on the ward, give me the chance to flex a little communication skill, let me lay hands on a genuinely ill person or something where I can show my quality. I'm tired of the let's pretend of clinical skills where say all the things we don't see (no sign of clubbing, splinter haemorrhages, xanthelasma etc etc) , the PBL sessions dominated by pointless displays of obscure, clinically irrelevant, scientific knowledge, the lectures that wander around the point without actually helping me learn.

I laughed when I saw the entry on Stuff Medical Students Like about "Time". But it's funny because it's true, to quote Homer. I don't feel like there is time enough in the day. It is some small degree of schadenfreude that most people I talk to on the course say this. I think the worst bit of it all is that I feel guilty for any time I spend not doing something to help me with medicine. Go to the pub? Go to the gym? Go to the cinema? This is all time I could better spend learning about Vitamin A metabolism or the pathways of the facial nerve or any number of the myriad little bits of information I need to have at my fingertips, because as one of today's lecturers said:

"One day you're going to be sat in A+E at 3am and not have a bloody clue what is sat in front of you"

And that, I guess, is what scares me the most. That I don't feel I have enough time now to be the best and one day, someone's life may well rest on me remembering that symptom X is a tell-tale sign of disease Y which if not picked up will kill them in a couple of hours.

So I work as hard as I can, but I don't feel like I've covered everything. And it doesn't matter how many times I can answer the lecturer's questions, the one time I can't, some else can - which undermines any sense of confidence I have about the topic. It's sick really.

On the upside, Father's had his angio which showed, to quote the radiologist "pristine coronary arteries", so that's something :)

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