Image: Staff.“I qualified almost a year ago – and it’s been a real rollercoaster! In our first year as doctors, we get to work in three different specialties and hopefully learn something new. So far I have worked on Elderly Medicine, General Surgery and Psychiatry, and it’s been amazing. This is what a busy day on the wards might be like:

07:00: Wake up call! Glare at alarm clock, snooze, shower, and eat breakfast.

08:30: Ward round. Our team of doctors and the nurse in charge will see every patient, starting with the sickest and the newest. I write down the decisions we make in each patient’s notes – I’m still working on my handwriting! I keep a separate list to make a note of jobs for each patient.

10:00: Let’s get to work! We have a very poorly patient who has a hole in her bowel, and might need surgery, so she is my top priority. It’s up to me to arrange a CT scan, take all her blood tests, make sure she gets the right antibiotics quickly, and speak to theatres to put my patient on the list for an emergency operation today.

In the meantime, our team splits up the other jobs. Typically, I will examine unwell patients, take bloods, insert drips and catheters, prescribe medications and try and come up with sensible treatment plans (which our seniors check over!). We also write discharge letters and lists of medications for our patients who are well enough to go home.

If I have time between jobs, I love to teach medical students – how to recognise different illnesses, how to examine patients, how to take bloods…it’s still strange that this was me just a year ago!

12:30: Time for lunch! Some days we have lunchtime teaching (our bleeps get taken away, so nobody bothers us!), or we sit in the Doctors’ Mess in the canteen and catch up over lunch with the other junior doctors.

14:00: Our team regroups and checks there is nothing we missed on the job list. We check blood results from earlier to make sure nobody is getting sicker without us knowing about it. We order further tests for the next day if our patients need them.

15:00: The alarm on the ward goes off, and I go along to help. One of our very ill patients has had a cardiac arrest – his heart has stopped. The crash team arrives and we work together. This patient is very lucky, and we are able to restart his heart with chest compressions and medication. Things don’t always end so well, but today is a good day.

16:00: The nurse bleeps me to let me know that one of our patients has developed a bad cough and a high temperature. I go and take a quick history and examine my patient, take some bloods (my patients always find it funny when I tell them I used to faint at the sight of needles!) and send him for a chest X-ray. All the signs point to pneumonia, so I prescribe some antibiotics and make sure my consultant is aware.

18:00: Home time! (Hopefully, but not always…)

Medicine’s biggest reward is that I get to make lots of little differences – and sometimes very big ones. I get to meet new people every day, and work with fantastic teams. In the past year I have been happy, sad, proud, frustrated, stressed and exhausted, often all in one day – but never, ever bored!”

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