Listen to me, Examine me, DIAGNOSE ME!

I haven’t even been a doctor for six full months but I’ve noticed something:

I often like things my colleagues don’t.

On O&G, I loved my clinic days. Antenatal Clinics were awesome because I could show mommies their baby’s heartbeat, or I could pick up on potential dangers and do something preventative about it, or I could pick up that they needed admission, or I could just allay their fears. We often stayed late because the rule is that nobody gets sent home without being seen.That was the only thing I disliked.

I enjoyed Gynae Clinics too, even though most of my colleagues hated them. They were more challenging, took more time to get used to, and had a lot more specialised problems. But I enjoyed it. Infertility workups and abnormal vaginal bleeding workups and don’t forget those critical patients often actually had a ruptured appendix but since they had a vagina “it MUST be something gynaecological.”

via xel - at Deviantart
via xel – at Deviantart

Anyways. I realised that liking clinic was unusual when people started asking to swap their clinic duties with me, Conversely, I kind of hated my days on the wards. Post-natal or antenatal, it doesn’t really matter. Those days felt soul-destroying.

Come the second rotation: anaesthetics. I’m getting very comfortable with spinal anaesthesia and even relatively comfortable with intubations, including rapid-sequences. I enjoy the challenge of a difficult intubation, especially when we get to use fun equipment like the glidescope, and I like the various blocks for post-op analgesia. Waking someone up smoothly is quite gratifying.

But honestly, my favourite part of anaesthesiology is the pre-meds: i.e. at the end of a long day when you really just want to go home but you have to see your patients on the next day’s list. It’s a love-hate thing because I’m kind of slow, especially when it’s a complicated list like neurosurgery or paediatric surgery, and I feel like I’m always missing something. And I want to go home. And I hate feeling stupid.

But still, I like it. And it’s the one thing on this rotation which my colleagues hate.

It seems that the in-thing is to want to be a hospitalist. I definitely feel that most doctors I know really enjoy ward-based consultations. It seems like clinics and pre-meds are just those annoying little things you have to do but that aren’t seen as being “important”. Then why do I like them?

So. I think it means something. But I don’t know what.


  1. mommymed3 says:

    Maybe that you would be a great GP? You actually enjoy the people, not just the cases. Still reading all your blogs and loving them! (Even if I comment so little)

    1. barefootmegz says:

      I’ve been thinking that General Practice or Family Medicine could be great, but it would need to be in the right setting. I loved working in small towns during med school because the GPs there still do a great variety of things, including delivering babies, which a lot of city GPs never do anymore. Good to hear from you, and thanks 🙂

  2. Dis nou interessant, mens dink gewoonlik nie aan hoe die dr voel as jy in die hospitaal is nie

  3. Rashaad says:

    I think it means that you truly are extraordinary. Absolutely love the blog and often find myself reading old posts while waiting for the next update. Keep up the awesome stuff!!!

    1. barefootmegz says:

      What a lovely message, thanks Rashaad! Internship has lead to me posting a little less regularly than I would like to, but it is great to get some encouragement!

  4. Borderline Med says:

    Haha, I totally identify with this. Ward is fun at first until you realize you spend most time doing paperwork and running to and from nurses’ stations. Clinics are more….humane? (At least for me) I’ve always been an outlier too, liking what others don’t (psychiatry, anyone?) Keep being awesome 😉

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Yeah, Pscyhiatry is awesome! I also preferred the psychiatry outpatients clinics compared to the in patients, once again. Hah. But yeah. Paperwork is one of the reasons. And red tape galore.

  5. Robyn says:

    Primary care is the heart of medicine – preventing hospitalization is what we’re all about. So I think it makes you different but in a good way.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Thanks! It’s such a pity that so many specialists scoff at primary care.

  6. harveylisam says:

    I definitely prefer clinics or wards. I feel like I learn a lot more, and I’m able to deliver more satisfying patient care. I can’t really explain it better than that because I’m about to fall asleep but I suspect you feel the same way I do about clinics.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      That’s exactly it! It’s gratifying because a patient walks in with a problem and you have to take a concrete action. There’s no writing of “continue management” or “do bloods tomorrow”. You do it now, and your patient walks out generally knowing that something has been done.

  7. Nancy Ackelson says:

    I think it means something, too. Keep watching, you’ll find it! So glad you are paying attention, you are awesome!!!!

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