Welcome to the real world

Black Wednesday has been and gone - I am still here! 

For all the preparation given to you at medical school, (5 years of cannulating fake arms and saying the alphabet (only to E) in your sleep) there is still a difference when doing it for real. My first shift, I was lucky to have another doctor in the same position to bounce off - we needed it. One arrest and a very slow/less than slick ward round later we had survived our first day and only left 2 hrs late - result! 

Having a pretty difficult first day has it's pro's (can't get much worse) and con's  (many expletives) but it was hands down the most I have ever learnt squished into 11 hours. Any arrest is a challenging and brutal experience in trying to bring someone back from the brink. When the words of "doctor, come now there is an arrest" get uttered I did actually look around and wonder which doctor they were speaking to...yeah I was included.

First thing I learnt is that fortunately you are never alone, the nursing team looked like they had done it 100 times before. The senior reg was able to be the Master of Ceremonies and allocated access and bloods to the new startled rabbits (new doctors).

Second thing I learnt is that even the simplest of tasks really are the hardest thing ever under pressure. That thing called human factors, - the thing that is subjective and almost touchy feely - defined how well the team performed and how I almost failed to label a bottle. Being familiar with people, environment and what you are doing means that you can concentrate on performing at your best. Essentially:

  • the nurses save you, get to know them well
  • practice makes perfect
  • the job will get easier when you are used to how things work

Finally I also learnt that always go back to basics, it is so easy to get caught out and make an error. Being pulled in twenty different directions when doing tasks can be tough to give tasks your full focus, I have been lucky that any slip up hasn't dire consequences.