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Elections 2015

20 Oct

Feeling hopeful for Canada and proud to be Canadian tonight.

Not quite late night worries

1 Oct

First day in the ICU as the senior resident tomorrow, and I’m on call too. Feeling rather nervous. Reminders to self: Stay calm, save energy when you can, and keep breathing. Here’s to new experiences and always learning!

Tips for burnout

23 Sep

Obviously I’ve been feeling burnt out lately. Largely because of the stress that comes with working in an in-patient setting, feeling like there is drama and arguments and disappointment and passive-aggressiveness (and aggressive aggressiveness) with every step – with other doctors, consultants, nurses, nursing aides, case managers, etc. Everyone starting on the defensive and assuming the worst of each other. I was telling my mom about how it doesn’t all seem worth it to be a doctor. She told me things get better and that residency is the worst part of it. Here are some quotes I want to share and also keep to remind myself.

  • Only the patients count
  • U don’t get team players very often unless u pick your own team
  • The others position themselves to be your competitors if they have the unfriendly mind set
  • They sometimes have inferiority complex by attacking others it makes themselves feel better
  • Analyze them as if they are patients
  • They are not perfect (edit by me: and don’t need to be)

And my favourite:

  • Keep up the current events in the world so that what’s going on is like a tempest in a teapot

P.S. I don’t forget that I used to hear my brother and his gf (now wife) complain about residency and get infuriated that they would just complain all day when people like me were trying so hard to get into med school. Oh life.

Hello second year

4 Sep

I’ve started my second year of residency and this means a new transition to being the senior resident.

My specialty is one of the only specialties where you’re considered the senior as soon as you’re no longer the most junior.

So I have an intern (first year resident) who I’m trying to be a good mentor to, to teach how to work in the hospital, and medicine, and overall how to get the stuff that needs to get done, done. But I’m struggling.

I thought I really wanted to teach for my career but these few weeks have me questioning that. I guess it’s the first time I’ve had learners who are really struggling themselves and just have such a long way to go. I have my junior resident who is trying but just still on the very steep part of the steep learning curve. And I have my student who is learning how to do tasks quickly but is so inappropriate attitude-wise. I’m trying to look at this month with them as a way to become a better teacher myself, to find a better balance between showing someone how to do something, doing it for them (to get the work done!) and letting them struggle through to learn themselves. I don’t look forward to the (what I think will be) awkward conversation with the student, telling him basically his personality needs to change. Or at least be covered up while he’s in the hospital. Inappropriate jokes, too much singing, all that needs to stop when we’re trying to get work done.

Overall this past week I’ve had rough days. At the end of my workdays I think to myself “I hate my life” and question if I’m clinically depressed. I don’t feel like I’m learning, I feel like I just follow algorithms and take orders all day. I don’t feel like I’m becoming a better doctor. I don’t even enjoy the opportunities to try to learn (noon lectures, etc) like I used to, I just sit there arms crossed feeling annoyed that the material isn’t relevant to what I’m trying to deal with that moment. Then on my days off I feel so happy and really enjoy life. Am I just in the wrong field?

Tonight I met up with some friends and they are feeling the same way. I was told recently by a faculty member that residency is hard everywhere.. but we’re not trying to crush your souls. I’ve been trying to check in with myself — is this just normal shittiness of residency, or is my soul being crushed?

My family reminded me tonight that residency is short and I’m already almost halfway done. That once I finish, I’ll be expected to know things and I’ll probably miss all the learning opportunities that residency had for me. My brother said he wished he worked harder in residency, that he would have learned a lot more. I guess I’m feeling like I’m drowning in residency right now but I ought to remind myself it’s just a short time in my life, and that all this deluge of work and hours and sleepless time and pages and rushing is all temporary, and inside it all somewhere are opportunities to learn. From here I’ll try harder, be more grateful, and be less afraid of being wrong.

The enemy

23 Jun

“The chronic pain patient who wants more and more pain meds isn’t the enemy. The pain meds are the enemy.”


23 Jun

So that wasn’t so bad at all!

I spent the day in the wrong place and I made the same mistake twice in a row but all in all it was a pretty good day. The best part was finding out I’d get an SSN tomorrow. Here’s to finally being able to prescribe and be paid!

First day

22 Jun

Tomorrow is my first day as a resident. Orientation finished last Friday.

I’m nervous and feeling like a big odd ball of emotions: relief, terror, gratitude, awe, and incompetence are the first few that come to mind. How do people ever become “real” doctors, anyway? In med school, being a “real” doctor meant being an MD. Now it feels like you should know what you’re doing before you can call yourself that. When I see “Physician” on my nametag, or hear people refer to me as doctor, I want to correct them, “Oh, but I’m not a REAL doctor yet.” I hope I don’t cry when I see my first patient, haha  :/

Really though, I’m so happy in my program so far. I was skeptical when I finished the interview day here, wondering if they were just saying all the right things to sell us the program. But I have a good feeling about it all. Their emphasis on communication, their attitude and approach, so patient-centered and wholly supportive of everyone. I was looking for a family-feeling, a new team, a new home, and I may have found it. I’m buying into it all and I feel the other interns are too.

Anyway I’m terrified, nbd. Wish me luck.

Almost done, about to start

19 Apr

I’m in my last two weeks of med school. Where has time gone? Sometimes it dragged on so slowly, and now it’s all a memory. Amazing!

I’m doing a rotation in Preventive Medicine and honestly, it is so much of what I wanted to do medicine for and was waiting for through med school. Still, I’m realizing I do really love seeing and helping individuals and will always want to keep my clinical skills part of my life too. I’ve got ideas and questions filling my head, all about my 5, 10, 15 year life plan but I know that I’ve still got so much more to explore and experience. I’m re-learning how things do unfold in special ways, so long as you listen to how things make you feel.

Med school is almost done but I’ll keep this blog because I don’t think I’m done reflecting just yet!


With a growing …

23 Feb

With a growing avalanche of new knowledge and skills bearing down on them, they feel increasingly overwhelmed by what they do not know. They soon discover that, instead of expanding their capacity to make a difference in the lives of others, the rigors of medical school have constricted their field of view to their own survival.

Burnout at its deepest level is not the result of some train wreck of examinations, long call shifts, or poor clinical evaluations. It is the sum total of hundreds and thousands of tiny betrayals of purpose, each one so minute that it hardly attracts notice. When a great ship steams across the ocean, even tiny ripples can accumulate over time, precipitating a dramatic shift in course. There are many Tertius Lydgates, male and female, inhabiting the lecture halls, laboratories, and clinics of today’s medical schools. Like latter-day Lydgates, many of them eventually find themselves expressing amazement and disgust at how far they have veered from their primary purpose.

Quote from The Atlantic article by Richard Gunderman, “For the Young Doctor About to Burn Out.”

I stayed up late

19 Feb

to catch the 10:30pm lane swim. In the locker room, the 2nd years still decorate each person’s locker, and there’s a list of goals hanging on the wall, like back when I was there. The showers are still flooding and the walls are the same yellow. Even the paper signs saying not to hang wet bathing suits on lockers are still there.

Walking home, I was thinking about people I know and love around the world, and how we’re not really that far from each other. Many of them are sleeping at the same time, maybe as I was walking home even. I have about a week and a bit left here in Hamilton, and it has flown by, like I thought it would, back on my 3rd day.

I turned onto my street, which was dark, porch lights were off. Not for the first time since being here, I noticed the stars in the sky, which were shining on the dark dark blue. A couple constellations, but enough to make me catch my breath – has it been that long since I’ve seen the stars like that? I guess so. I felt instantly smaller and connected, and for the first time in a while, wasn’t thinking about the future or the past. 

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