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19 Things I've Learned Working As A Junior Doctor

It's not all about white coats and stethoscopes.

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1. You will become thick-skinned almost instantly.


There are so many heartbreaking stories, patient deaths, and generally difficult things that happen that even the most emotionally connected person will instantly toughen up.

2. Writing in a patient's notes without leaning on anything (specifically the patient's bed) is harder than you think.

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Not only do you struggle to write down things at the speed of light, you've also got to figure out how to physically get words on to paper without leaning against something.

4. Patients' families can be scarier than the patients themselves.


After a while, talking to patients becomes pretty easy. But what is always nerve-wrecking is dealing with their families.

5. You spend half your time trying to figure out how to do stuff the senior doctors have asked you to do.

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Senior doctors tend to forget that you may not know how everything works in a hospital and give you instructions like "Organise an EEG" before walking off, leaving you baffled.

8. Requesting radiological scans is nerve-wracking. It feels a bit like practicing your meal order while queuing at McDonald's.

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The pressure to get the scan accepted means you can enter in a wreck, stumbling over your words and not making sense.

9. You can sometimes feel like you're just an administrator with a stethoscope around your neck.


Because being a doctor really isn't always as glamorous as you thought it would be.

10. And like you are at the bottom of the hierarchy.

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You have to work your way up, so you're delegated all the crappy jobs until you can find a medical student to "help" you.

11. You are always the one who has to hold the camera in theatres.

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You've got to hold a steady hand for hours whilst trying to convince yourself that your nose isn't itchy.

12. Your lectures don't end with medical school.


The teaching never ends in medicine, and even though you've graduated you will still be forced into the same old lectures about the same old topics.

13. And you still have to deal with your gunners and snakes.


The competition fiercely increases for job applications and the pressure can be even greater than during med school.

14. Whistleblowing is a real thing.

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Whistleblowing is when you basically "tell" on a colleague to a senior. It's basically impossible to do it anonymously because you work in a close team so your colleague will inevitably figure it out. This makes it tough to talk about your colleagues to your seniors without feeling like a rat.

15. It's worth keeping the nurses on your side because you're bound to work pretty closely together.


You work very closely with nurses and if you're nice to them, they can be very helpful. You rely on them for a lot more than you realise.

16. There's nothing harder than driving back home after a night shift.

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It seriously should be illegal to be allowed to drive on zero hours' sleep after a 13- hour night shift.

17. You can never be mentally prepared for a cardiac arrest call.


It doesn't matter how many simulation sessions you've attended or how much training you've done. In real time, everything goes out the window and you basically panic until your seniors arrive.

18. You will be asked medical advice from all your friends and family.

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As soon as you graduate your friends and family will make you their new GP and you will be sent images of all sorts of gross things and told to make spot diagnoses.

19. But at least you can talk about some seriously gross things without batting an eyelid.


Whether it be talking about a pregnant woman having her membranes ruptured or talking about blood in stool, you'll be completely unfazed while someone next to you be may be doing that thing where they vom in their mouth a little.

Note: This post is based on one person's experience of working as a doctor.

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