Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflections on people at work

I am soon to complete my resident year and in a little over a week will begin my position as a medical registrar. I am excited to finally be here and remember being a student and thinking about how my registrars seemed to know so much. I am going back to the hospital where I was once a medical student and that is also exciting. Sort of a homecoming for me. I hope it will all go well.

It is Saturday today, but I am working as today is my last overtime shift as a junior doctor (yay me!). I felt a little frustrated at the registrar on today because I felt that he wasn't doing his job very well but then a pang of guilt hit me as I realised how I was judging someone without really understanding the circumstances he was going through, both in and out of the work environment.

I have had the opportunity to work with many doctors who graduated from medical schools abroad. Often times, you feel like they are not quite as good as the locally trained doctors. Or at least, that their medical decisions are very different from ours and they do not place as much value on things like infection control or end of life care. But aside from the different training, I suppose these doctors have other difficulties in life, such as being displaced from their families and culture. Being marginalised within the Australian medical community, and being forced to work in rural areas against their will. They are also often given the very unwanted jobs and shifts, such as night cover or psychiatry, which does nothing for ones career and is also very unpleasant (unless you are inclined towards fields like psychiatry of course).

The registrar I work with during the week has what I call "momma brain". She does not register most things. It clearly takes her a lot of effort to register what people say to her and while I've had days like those, she is like that every day. (And when I had days like those it was in Tasmania where I was burnt out and demoralised at being made to leave NSW). So it often frustrates me, and I am clearly not the only one to notice. And I admit that I have expressed my frustrations to others. But every so often I am reminded that her circumstances are likely to be the cause of her clinical deficiencies. She has a child, who perhaps keeps her up at night. She is an international graduate, which limits her career prospects in Australia. This is likely a period in her life, when she has decided that the career has to take a back seat, while she deals with other more important things in her life. And there *are* more important things than work.

It is easy to become frustrated, and to disregard the complications other people are going through. But ultimately, people cannot fully compartmentalise the varoius aspects of life, work, play, finances. It all interplays, and one has to decide which needs to take priority at any one time.

I hope this thought will remain at the forefront of my mind more often than it does now. I hope that I will be slow to anger and judgement, and even as I myself go through the vagaries of life, that my edges will continue to be rubbed off and that I will be more tolerant, and more compassionate to the people around me.

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