The October issue of the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) published an article, ‘Going the extra mile: Supervisors’ perspective on what makes a ‘good’ intern (De Villiers, Van Heerden, Van Schalkwyk). The paper assesses the opinions of supervisors on interns’ practice readiness, which differs from most research on the subject, which has predominantly researched the interns’ own perception of their preparation.
The study reported on the results of interviewing 27 intern supervisors – a small, but diverse group of consultants, registrars, and medical officers.
What stood out for me was that the interviewees displayed a keen awareness of the challenges faced by interns. They recognise three areas of particular difficulty: transition from student to doctor, adjusting to a new environment, and long/hard working hours. Continue reading “The “Good” Intern”
I started this blog exactly eight years ago, today.
Who I was then, and who I am now, has changed drastically, and often. I wrote as I stumbled my way through new clinical and life experiences. I wrote as my mental health peaked and plummeted. I wrote as my love for medicine died, and was reborn. The first community I found was that of book bloggers, but gradually, I found the medical bloggers, too.
Continue reading “Questions on Blogging for Readers Past/Present/Future”
Last night I worked my last shift for Community Service. 1 January 2018 will mark three years since I walked into my first day of work. And on that day, more than 1,000 new interns will enter our workforce.
I remember the nerves the night before: being unable to sleep. Feeling like a fraud, like I had been allowed to graduate by accident. Worried that I would be labelled Worst Intern Ever; worried that I’d have awful colleagues. But I survived the first week, and eventually the first year, too.
And so will our new interns. I have some tips for those who need ’em.
Continue reading “Tips for New Interns: First Week at Work”
If you’ve been reading South African news, you’ll know that at least 300 interns and community service doctors stand to be unemployed next year, due to a lack of funded posts at accredited institutions.
Perhaps you read about our inhumane working hours last year.
Perhaps you have read about the overflowing hospitals where patients pile up in the corridors.
These are not new problems, we just hear about them more because doctors and patients have phones with cameras, and social media accounts.
Continue reading “Are We Secretly Our Own Worst Enemies?”
In final year, we thought that getting an internship post at our desired hospital was the hardest – and most coveted – thing.
Two years later, we all tried to find a community service posting that would give us a foot into the door to our future specialties.
But we didn’t know that those were the easy parts. Then, we still pretty much had guaranteed employment (most of us, at least).
Then came the end of Community Service, and reality hit us in the face: we were on our own.
* * *
That’s where I am now. The government no longer “owes” me a job, and unless I find one, I’ll be unemployed come January 2018. People used to say, “There’s no such thing as an unemployed doctor.” These days, there are plenty of them, because freezing posts is a done thing. Continue reading “The Threat of Fun-employment”
Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and
Continue reading “DOC-U-MENTALLY: The Film [Review]”
So this is it?
Last night I did my last call duty of internship – in Internal Medicine, of all things.
This morning, I finished my post-intake ward round, said a few unceremonious goodbyes, and walked out.
And off I went. Continue reading “End Of Internship”
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.
Continue reading “The Safe Working Hours Wristband Campaign is Missing the Point – Here’s Why”
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 “Abortion Care: Did I Provide My Best?”
My 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 “Does It Have To End?”