There was a period when I thought I would never work again. It’s a strange feeling, because we seem to be either looking for work or training to get a good job, or spend the rest of the time moaning about your job when you’ve got one. It was a period which reminded me how much I like my job. My only other jobs have been at McDonald’s Restaurant, a Football referee, a healthcare assistant and working at Dixons. None of which I particularly miss, but they all came with pretty decent anecdotes. Picking the best story is easy, obviously at Mc D’s because it was hilariously rubbish, with an exceptionally high staff turnover. Somehow I managed to stay there for a year. The pay was atrocious. Once upon a time, I was asked to find a particularly simple staff member, who hadn’t come back from his break. I looked in all the most obvious places eventually finding them in the corral, he’d put his head through the bars of the cage trolley… To see if he could. Interestingly he’d started lighting up another cigarette once he realised he couldn’t release his head, not shouting for help. So, I found him happily toking away nonchalantly with his head stuck. After much deliberation, we used the fat scrapped off the grills wiped it on his face and pulled him through the bars.
Anyway I’m at risk of going off on a tangent again. So my first day back. I was offered to change from my A&E placement to to community psychiatry, something I agreed to do as there was an available position. For those of you in a normal job it may seem weird, but we can literally swap jobs, if a few constraints are met. This is isn’t because I’m particularly interested in psychiatry, I’d rather be doing A and E, however it had the benefits of being a 9 to 5 job for the purposes of getting back into work mode and ease of treatment. It’s a team which deals with psychotic patients in the community, these aren’t your average depressed patient. When mental health had a decent amount of funding they would’ve been admitted to hospital. So it’s a firefighting job to keep them well in the community. The first day started well, I met my consultant and discussed my current condition. Then what I wanted to get out of the attachment. Followed by a multidisciplinary team meeting of mental health social workers, mental health nurses and doctors. My absence had been noted and one of the team asked “you’ve had a long time off, are you ok now?” Albeit I’ve put my diagnosis in the public domain, I want to work at work and I don’t really want any special treatment. I replied as broadly as possible “yes I’m getting better”. After the meeting had a lunch and teaching in the afternoon – we are trainees after all. Then I was told I had Friday off due to a shortage of anyone to supervise me in clinic, it would be pretty foolhardy to put someone my level straight into clinic without someone to discuss patients with. Therefore I was given the day off to revise my psychiatry notes from medical school. What I think surprises junior doctors when they start, it definitely surprised me, is the variation in how much we have to do job by job. I’ve had days where I’ve worked 3-5 hours of unpaid overtime consistently to get the work done. It tends to even out across the two years, but it can be pretty miserable four months in those very stressful jobs.
I’ve been told the work will pick up after I get my own list of patients. So we’ll see!