Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A rough patch on the greener grass

Half-way through my GP-rotation and the honeymoon period is definitely behind me. I never expected my GP-rotation to be so exhausting. This is really due to my main GP supervisor, who is mean! Today I cracked it. Today she made me cry. I'm too exhausted to write about in great lengths; she is simply just so exhausting! I wrote to the clinical supervisor/mentor of my home-base hospital asking for help:

Dear Mentor,

I hope you're well. I'm half-way through my GP rotation and wanted to raise a concern I had with one of my mentors. I have several GP supervisors that I work with in the practice - all of them are really wonderful and I love working with and learning from them. My main mentor, Dr X, however, is really quite harsh and strict. Her feedback is extremely helpful - don't get me wrong - she gives great advice about what you need to know to fill gaps in your knowledge; but her approach and mannerisms are quite destructive. If she asks a question and you don't know the answer, she pulverises you in front of the patient and makes you feel like a failure. I don't know if I'm just a little soft in that regard, but some of my experiences with her have been extremely stressful and quite frankly, just downright hurtful. I've been too scared to say anything to her about it because, all things standing, I think she means well and it's certainly not personal. On the contrary, I have thanked her for her feedback and am doing my best to remedy these gaps in my knowledge. But I still feel really upset about her demeaning approach and I'm not sure what to do. I know we're half-way through and if I can disregard any of my personal response to her approach, there is a lot to be gained from the wisdom she is offering. I was wondering if you can offer me any advice on how to approach this situation? I really want to learn from her; but at the same time I don't want to go home crying every night.

Thanks for you support,

Miss Purple Stethoscope

She replied straight away and told me she'd call me tomorrow to have a chat about it. Very, very grateful for her support; but still feeling stressed-out that this chat will come after a day spent with Dr X and God knows what sort of damage she'll have done to me by then. Thinking of having a mental health day tomorrow, but also feel deep down that it will be like admitting defeat. I know it seems excessive, but I've been tipped over the edge. And I'm a fairly tolerant person... if that's saying anything...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


... is a happy place, with candy-cane and fairy-floss; oh, and no ward rounds or running around a hospital trying to find people: the patients come to you - fancy that?! ... bliss!


*Snap out of day-dream for a bit*: I just found out this morning that one of the students doing the John Flynn Program has been placed in the Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands! OmG! Extremely jealous!! I do love my rural community of Mudgee very much, but c'mon - outback NSW vs Islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean?! Hmmm, at least I now know it's a rural area of need that I can (and will!) venture to in working off my rural bondage.

OK, back to daydreaming...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear FMH,

I miss you everyday.

Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are.
I had to find you, tell you I need you,
Tell you I set you apart.

Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions,
Oh lets go back to the start.
Running in circles, Comin' in tails
Heads on a science apart.

Nobody said it was easy,
It's such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh take me back to the start.

~ Coldplay, "The Scientist"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Learning how to be a doctor, one step at a time

Saturday night; interim weekend between two rotations. I've just finished the first of my two Surgical blocks (plastics and ortho) - the next one (gen surg) I will do later this year - and am about to start my General Practice block next week. Surgery was pretty awesome, plastics more so than ortho. Despite the early morning starts, the day went quickly as there was lots to do and we normally didn't stay past 5pm (though the surgeries would go past 10pm most nights). There was a pre-med student from the USA doing an "internship" in orthopedics during our time there and she was such as eager beaver, coming in very early and staying late every day; which made us look a bit bad, but hey, it's not as cut-throat here so we don't really feel the need to exert ourselves to excel. My supervisors in both plastics and ortho gave me really positive feedback in my competency assessment form; I feel quite accomplished that after 2 years of getting mediocre marks, my hard work is finally getting some recognition! On a personal level, I feel like I achieved what I set out to do in this rotation in the way of practising my hx and ex skills as well as some basic procedures, particular to a surgical context. I now feel more confident with a lot of bread and butter presentations/skills that I will no doubt encounter again in internship and beyond. Small steps, long way to go.. but I'm getting there, I'm learning how to be a doctor and look after people. Damn it feels good!