In The Life Of... Junior Doctor
As part of our "In The Life Of..." we have our very own Founder and NHS Junior Doctor, Dr Pooja Devani giving you her insight into life as a junior doctor, the challenges and joys.
Reflect on this piece using our freely downloadable logbook and use this as your virtual insight into the career.
Now I never expected to be a junior doctor during the pandemic. That was truly something I hadn't prepared for and was something I had to adapt to rapidly.
However, compared to life pre-Covid, it actually "just" felt like a very busy Christmas week in hospital, on repeat weekly, whilst having all the other tensions or remaining cautious, constantly cleaning and hoping you've not caught something and infected you family at home. whilst we all try and live in this "new-normal" world.
That worry was the hardest for me during the pandemic.
I'm currently on the surgical team which presents with lots of varieties. My daily life often goes by carrying out ward rounds with our seniors in the morning and then ensuring the jobs are done by the afternoon. Jobs often include clinical skills such as taking blood or inserting cannulas (a small plastic tube into the vein so that patients can have IV medicines or fluids); ordering scans and ensuring they're completed by the morning / early afternoon so we have results to change our management, and ensuring appropriate referrals, discussions and discharge letters are done. That's essentially my job in a nutshell!
We then have another afternoon ward round to catch up with our seniors and relay to them any test results e.g. bloods and scans, update them on outcomes from discussions we may have
Through all of this there is a huge emphasis on team! For instance, discharging a patient safely involves the doctor, discharge support worker (ensuring they go the right home, and have transport to get there!), pharmacists (checking their medicines for discharge) and nurses (handing over the appropriate nursing care to the family or district nurses). It's an integrated and coordinated approach and something that involves a whole team - this example is a good one to be aware of as often it's overlooked as students often think mentioning a theatre case or clinic appointment could sound "better" - but actually this shows a very mature reflection and insight.
Often, I'm fortunate enough to go to theatre and assist, during the pandemic this has lessened due to the number of operations declining.
The other aspect of my job is based on being on call. This is when it's effectively out of hours so night shifts or after 5pm, where you cover a lot more patients as the only foundation doctor, but also with senior support to ask them for help etc.
When I'm on call that's when I really feel like a doctor - that person I dreamt of as a child, and also the person you want to be when you watch House! Being on call is actually when you really use your brain to treat and stabilise an acutely unwell patient, whilst ensuring you appropriately escalate to your seniors.
For example, a patient a few days after their operation has some chest pain and difficulty breathing. As a junior I stabilise the patient and primarily ensure his observations are stable which all but the O2 sats were. After providing oxygen, taking a set of bloods and organising a chest X-ray, I discuss with my senior for a CT scan which can detect a clot in the lung which I was suspecting. My senior agrees and we order this and that evening this was found. Meanwhile we had started treatment just in case.
It's therefore a massive learning opportunity in a safe environment as you have that senior safety net.
I hope this provides an insight to my daily life, but please email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or message us on @step2med on Instagram and Facebook!