Re: In praise of young doctors
15 July 2012
Being a ‘young doctor’ myself, I agree with much of Iona Heath’s ideas. In my experience, the type of person I was expected to be at medical school is quite different from that expected of me as a doctor. Although the transition from student to doctor is now aided by the introduction of shadowing days, this only explored the practical aspects of the job rather than character attributes that will see you through the coming years. Kindness, diligence, not taking work home with you, picking yourself up after your first mistake, knowing when you need help and who to call are all things I wish I had been taught about before I graduated. Yes, many attributes cannot be taught and one hopes that the entry system to medical school picks the right people, but many of these issues could be explored.
I would recommend reading the “See One Do One” article in this week’s BMA news (Saturday 14th July) from a CT2 trainee. The author describes an encounter with a patient where she held his hand as he struggled to breathe. She then had to let go, but the junior who took over the hand holding did so reluctantly and quickly let go. She went on to encourage these small acts of comfort and kindness, which are not taught at medical school, but which can make such a difference to the patients we meet. I look forward to the day when we are taught about who we need to be as much as what we need to know.
Competing interests: None declared
King's Mill Hospital, King's Mill Hospital, Mansfield Road, Sutton-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 4JL
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