If only the title could be 1000 for the pleasing sound of it! It’s been awhile. I’m not much good at this whole commitment-to-blogging malarkey but recently I’ve been feeling the lack of a place to spout verbiage so I’m back, for what it’s worth.
I’m currently an A&E doctor. This means I have lots of random days off, none of which are weekends, and that at least half of the rest the time I am on nights. Working every other weekend is a bit crap, nights every two-and-a-half weeks is crapper, and random days off are lovely provided you like spending time alone. I’d say I cope quite well being alone for goodly periods but even I am running out of TV shows to watch when it’s raining outside and I’m shattered.
Time at work flies, beyond anything I have ever done. You drop yourself into the shift and a whirl of faces and examinations and results and then the shift is over and you’re left blinking in the daylight. Ignore the rota and I love the work – you see things from little Jimmy’s hurty finger to full-on 5-person car accidents, and everything in between. One minute you’re transferring someone to another hospital for neurosurgery and the next you’re relocating someone’s dislocated shoulder (I got to do that and it is probably the second-coolest thing I’ve done after defibrillating someone). Best thing about it is that you never know what is next. Second-best is that if you have a bad case, after 4 hours it is no longer your problem – you’ve either sent them home or you’ve referred them on to someone else. It is the perfect job for someone with a short attention span. You might be able to tell from the now-and-again approach to this blog that I am one such person.
And yes, you can feel the pressure. Even in my relatively quiet, well-staffed emergency department there is pressure – full waiting rooms, the calls to resus, every patient with their time of arrival, breach time, waiting for bloods, waiting for x-ray. It’s a busy place, and there are time-wasters – dear god, people: the sign is on the door. Have you had an accident (and I mean recently, not that pain you’ve had after you fell over last month) or are you in an emergency? If not, go make an appointment with your GP. Argh!
Would I do it as a career? I don’t know. The work is fun, there are satisfying procedures, the team spirit is incredible. The rota is brutal and doesn’t much improve. The government treats you like dirt. You’ll still be doing nights regularly at the age of 65, and the pay (compared with most other specialties, admittedly) is poor. There are already entire weeks when Partner in Climb and I never see each other, despite living in the same house – do you want that when you have a family?
Would I do it as a career? I have 900 hours to decide.
Last year, the College of Emergency Medicine filled 37% of the registrar training posts – 63% of ST3 posts across the country are without an emergency medicine trainee right now. Is that a level of pressure you want to step in to?