Not Waiting Anymore

Standard

A few months ago I did something on the spur of the moment. Something unlike me, something I was sure I’d regret.

I invited a colleague for a coffee/debriefing session after work.

I’m an introvert. Initiating a social event, even a small one, is unlike me.

I asked her because we bumped into each other at work, and had a quick chat about how downtrodden and hopeless we felt. (Internal Medicine is hard.)

I asked her, selfishly, because I needed it. But also because I realised that she needed it.

It’s a small thing. And maybe silly to make a big deal about it.

But in many ways, that day was the day I took agency of my life.

For so many years, I have waited for other women in medicine to make medicine a safe space for me. A space of mentorship, and care, and of reaching out to our colleagues.

fab86ca904e58e4954751e18abfe1aaf

I have waited and waited and been disappointed that it didn’t happen.

I’m not going to wait anymore.

I am not a little girl anymore.

I am not a student anymore.

I am still junior, but there are others more junior than me.

I, too, am a woman in medicine. I, too, can take responsibility for creating a safe space. I am able to do this.

I will do this.

Doctors and Piercings: Part 3

Standard

It’s been nearly five years since I decided to get a nose piercing. I mused about the decision on the blog both before and after the fact.

Since becoming a “real” doctor, I’ve never had a patient refer to my piercing. As mentioned before, it really isn’t that conspicuous. I’ve also noticed more and more doctors who have nose piercings, so it probably isn’t so strange in South African healthcare workers as it was in 2011.

This year, after working with a certain doctor for three months, he finally noticed the piercing. His response was, “Well that’s atypical,” then he laughed and we moved on with our ward round.

10245323_10152420320421242_3934994812432555522_n

You can see it, but just barely.

I removed my nose jewellery recently, and in many ways that decision was as difficult as getting it in the first place.

Over the past few months, I just grew a bit tired of it. The person I was when I got it was not the same person as I am now, and although it’s just a silly piercing, it sometimes started to annoy me. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe the same way one can tire of the same hairstyle?

It had me wondering about my motivation behind getting it. I don’t remember, but sometimes I wonder if I got the piercing because I wanted one, or because I wanted to make a point. (Probably a bit of both. I’ve always loved piercings.)

Before I got it, I told naysayers that it really wasn’t such a big deal. I could remove it whenever I wanted – much easier than getting rid of a tattoo if you get tired of it.

But if I remove it, I wondered, wouldn’t people think I’m going back on my belief? That I now admit that nose jewellery is not professional? This of course is not the case at all. I stand by my prior statements. I still think nose jewellery is nice, and I still think it has no bearing on professionalism. Getting rid of mine is a personal choice, not a professional one. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder.

It’s been out more than two weeks now, and nobody seems to have noticed its absence. Not even my family or my boyfriend! What an anti-climax.

The Safe Working Hours Wristband Campaign is Missing the Point – Here’s Why

Standard

If you’ve been paying attention, working hours of doctors (especially junior doctors) have been getting some good airtime over the past few months. The Province of the Western Cape has committed to actively reducing maximum continuous working hours for doctors to twenty-four, the HPCSA has promised to “look into it” (not that we have too much confidence there), and our biggest representative, SAMA (South African Medical Association) has come out in our support.

One of the things to come from all this is the launching of an armband campaign. This has its origins, I believe, from a similar campaign in the UK – although I have not been able to find any source to this link.

608772084 Continue reading

Abortion Care: Did I Provide My Best?

Standard

It’s funny how sometimes, long after the fact, you start questioning your levels of care and competence.

During my first rotation of internship (last year), which was Obstetrics and Gynaecology, I was one of the few interns willing to do pregnancy terminations. (For the purposes of this blog, the matter is not up for debate – I have been pro-choice for nearly half my life, and have thoroughly evaluated my own beliefs.)

Just recently I’ve found myself thinking back on those four months and wondering if I did everything I could, and if I was empathic enough. Continue reading

Does It Have To End?

Standard

c4e635ecb89b5ed4844f087dca6580b1My four-month stint on the paediatric service comes to an end this week.

I enjoyed paediatrics in medical school, but never as much as this. How wonderful it was to be excited about work, to enjoy it so much that I willingly and eagerly read up more about all my cases.

It may have been one of the most challenging rotations – and it was good to see myself growing in confidence and ability.

There is so much work to do in paediatric healthcare, especially because you inadvertently treat the caregivers as well. And women are another group so sorely neglected in our environment.  Continue reading

Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do

Standard

You know that saying about readers having many lives through the books they read? I love it, because there are so many things I can’t do, but would love to. Then there are some things books have inspired me to do… or at least to dream about.

I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesdays to bring you (some of the) things book have made me want to do.

1. Go to Boarding School

A la Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, Spud by John van de Ruit, Looking for Alaska by John Green and even Harry Potter, to name but a few.

5000b1238115345bee19d12384791a68625445af06153537b90254460bebb0df Continue reading