Anyone looking at a career in medicine needs to take a good hard look at their life and decide whether they are willing to give all of it up for the sake of trying to make other people better. Oh and those people? Some of them are demanding, ungrateful, rude, irresponsible, stupid, non-compliant with treatment, and generally so entitled and so unaware of the time, effort and energy that you have put into their medical management that you mightn’t even get a thank you.
Some days, you want to be rude back. You want to yell at them that it’s their fault they’re sick. That they need to be better parents. That they need to use protection. That they shouldn’t use Doctor Google. And that they should get a job and stop relying on the government and expecting that everyone else has been put on this Earth to fix all of their problems.
It annoys me some days more than others. Particularly when someone has been particularly rude and it reminds me: I still have to put up with all of the crap while I’m at work; because I work, I pay taxes; taxes that help support government schemes like the PBS, medicare, public health system, and welfare payments; which, more often than not, these people are heavily reliant upon; which amplifies their sense of entitlement because they have most it handed to them on a silver platter. It is very frustrating to trace the loop around – essentially I’m at work so they can be rude to me if they want to.
The worst days happen when you add difficult patients to
unpaid overtime any overtime.
Overtime is an expected part of being a doctor. You are also judged, and critically so, by other doctors if you are walking out on time (…mustn’t be a very good resident/must be neglecting so much work for someone else/must be a Q-word* time of the year/must be a breezy rotation.. have to get my hands on that one). There is always more work to be done, you are almost never on top of anything, and if you were to leave something urgent for the following day, there is always the potential you might kill someone. Nothing like the threat of medical negligence, or even manslaughter, bearing down on you as you try to complete your mountain of paperwork.
*Q-word will not be typed by myself in work context or I will be smote upon.
I have become acutely aware of what the hospital and its overtime steals from me.
Sleep. Lunch. Dinner. Time. Rest. Relaxation. Exercise. Hobbies. Sun. Fresh air. Holidays. Dates.
I do love my job, but it can often be quite hard to remember what regular life is like when you have chosen a career that will always take precedence and always be demanding and suck away at just a bit more of your time/energy/life.
Yep. A medical degree is like having an extremely needy toddler. Minimal symbiosis. It’s a parasite.
Theory #15: Give up on trying to fix people and you can have a much happier work/life balance.
– Dr O.