“I feel like a spare part”BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1761 (Published 11 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1761
All rapid responses
Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response is first posted online. If you need the URL (web address) of an individual response, simply click on the response headline and copy the URL from the browser window. A proportion of responses will, after editing, be published online and in the print journal as letters, which are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed and they are not journal articles. The BMJ reserves the right to remove responses which are being wilfully misrepresented as published articles or when it is brought to our attention that a response spreads misinformation.
From March 2022, the word limit for rapid responses will be 600 words not including references and author details. We will no longer post responses that exceed this limit.
The word limit for letters selected from posted responses remains 300 words.
I was drawn to the title of this article 'I feel like a spare part'. As an anaesthetic registrar I now feel an important part of daily hospital life, however not too long ago I also had those feelings as a medical student.
I would sometimes notice medical students in theatre or on ward rounds looking slightly lost, and perhaps not getting as much attention as they deserve. I feel it is important to highlight that this should not be taken personally. There are often multiple competing factors, some of which I did not appreciate as a student. Junior doctors often work long hours on stretched rotas, there are significant bed pressures in hospitals, not to mention any personal stress, exams, etc. No doubt providing teaching to students is an important part of the job but providing good patient care will always be a priority.
The advice offered in this article will certainly help you get the most out of clinical attachments. Arriving early and introducing yourself at the start of the day will go a long way. If there are any assessments you need or things you'd like to see, let the team know early and they can plan that into the day. It will also help you you look enthusiastic and become integrated into the team.
Competing interests: No competing interests