Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers A memorable event

New doctors

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 05 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:375
  1. Robert M Kirby, consultant surgeon
  1. Stoke on Trent

    It was set to be a wasted day. The postgraduate dean's office had decided that all house officer appointments in the region should be made using a regional matching plan. We had been given a list of possible candidates to interview and the date. I had to cancel my planned sessions for the whole day.

    Our interviewees had all just started their final year of training. Some had been interviewed already for house officer posts elsewhere, but others had probably not had an interview since applying for medical school. They were refreshingly honest in answering questions. They were telling us what they thought of what they were learning at the moment and what they were gaining from their training. They told us what they felt, rather than a politically correct version more applicable to a job interview. They were all bright and enthusiastic about the prospect of being a doctor this time next year. They all wanted to come to a busy district general hospital, which is why they were applying to us, and they all wanted to work hard and gain a lot of experience. There was no cynicism about the NHS, and no real worries about the future—apart from a few examinations. Few had any real idea what they wanted after house jobs; that was the only target in sight at present.

    These students had recently returned from electives. They all had fascinating stories to tell about their experiences. Between them they had helped orphans in South America, backpacked around Sri Lanka, visited Indian hospitals, explored the borders of Pakistan, gone through jungles, and visited centres in north America and Australia. We learnt about the priorities between getting in the harvest or losing the sight of an eye in the Third World. It was a good day. I was buoyed up by the enthusiasm of these young people who wanted to come and work with us. There was not a single candidate that we would have even considered rejecting. I had been fascinated by their amazing experiences. What goes wrong later? Why are we losing this enthusiasm once they achieve their first goals? Not only did I enjoy the day, but I realised that it is partially up to us to try and keep the fires of enthusiasm burning. I am already looking forward to next year's interviews.

    We welcome articles of up to 600 words on topics such as A memorable patient, A paper that changed my practice, My most unfortunate mistake, or any other piece conveying instruction, pathos, or humour. If possible the article should be supplied on a disk. Permission is needed from the patient or a relative if an identifiable patient is referred to.

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