Sunday, May 29, 2011

Internship: Term 4 – General Surgery

My fourth term was back at the main hospital doing General Surgery.

I was terrified about my surgical term. I'd heard about how unsupported you are on the wards, with your registrar stuck in theatre all day. I felt like I was about to be exposed as a really crap doctor. Imposter syndrome strikes again!

On day 1 I introduced myself to my registrar, and mentioned that I wasn't a complete newbie intern like the others. He nearly hugged me! He was studying for exams and was hoping to have plenty of time to study on the days when he wasn't in theatre, leaving me to manage the wards. I wasn't particularly thrilled about this, but it turned out fine: he was always available when I needed him. I never felt unsupported; quite the opposite. My registrar was amazing, actually - every day he'd call me at lunchtime and make me take a break, and he'd often buy my lunch. He was great with the students too.

My bosses were very good (and very nice - another myth busted!). I didn't have much to do with the bosses during the day - they did quick ward rounds in the morning and then disappeared. One of my bosses trusted my registrar to run everything and so didn't even do ward rounds - I didn't meet him until week 4 of the term! Two of my bosses were general surgeons who did elective breast and abdominal procedures (e.g. cholecystectomies and hernia repairs), and the other boss was a head and neck surgeon.

I'm not interested in surgery at all (duh), and I was worried that I'd be expected to spend a lot of time in theatre, holding retractors and being bored, and then staying back late to finish my jobs on the wards. Instead, I was only called to theatre on a few occasions, and I actually never operated with my registrar! There were always junior registrars or interested interns and residents, not to mention medical students, who were more than willing to take my place in theatre. Everyone's a winner!

This meant that I rarely did crazy long hours. We started early (7am) but if I was well-organised I could usually leave by 4:30pm. With daylight saving still in force, this meant I could enjoy my summer evenings.

The other good part about the term was the real sense of camaraderie amongst the surgical interns, residents, and registrars, and also the Anaesthetics registrars. There was a social activity at least once a week, and these have continued into the next term too.

At the end of the term, I would describe myself as an excellent surgical intern - organised, aware of the status of all my patients, available when needed in theatre, friendly to nursing staff, etc. I think I have a lot more work to do before I'd be confident calling myself a good doctor, but that'll come.

Term 5 was General Medicine (Geriatrics). I just finished the term (and internship!), and will summarise it soon.


The Girl said...

Wow. I wish I had that experience. You are so very, very fortunate, but it sounds like you deserved it, too. :)

*C said...

Congrats on getting through the first big year. I hope you feel like you've come far.

Have you thought about what might be next? Staying in the 'Gong or heading back into town? Training programs?

Also, please feel free to post further photos of your travels - particularly when they involve pictures of food. I love that photo of meat in Paris. On a cold winter's night, that looks like a place to be.

KT said...

Thanks guys!

Yep, I was very fortunate to get a good surgical term. I wouldn't have have been so lucky if I'd been allocated Vascular Surgery or even a different General Surgery team.

*C, we're contracted for 2 years in NSW, so I'll be in the Gong for another year at least. Still thinking of Anaesthetics for the future, but I have a few other ideas too.

There'll be more holiday snaps soon - probably this week (I'm on holidays). I'm craving that restaurant in Paris right about now too!!

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