|A German Fall|
Well, a few kilograms and brain cells lighter, perhaps November is actually a good time to take stock before the year's end and contemplate the last 12 months. I don't (deliberately!) write a lot about my private life on this blog, but an important meeting today reminded me that it's actually OK for your Life to be a decision directioner. Strangely, having the foundation of a truly content home life does throw a lot more balls in the air than I was expecting! It's a source of hilarity to many of my friends that, as they enquire as to how many PhDs I've written/types of cancer I've cured/papers I've published since last we met, that my biggest achievement of 2016 has been to move in with a boy. Imagine!
|When in doubt, find mountains|
Professionally, my life has been peppered with the consequences of an NHS that has never been closer to the edge. When I meet up with my university friends, it's clear we've come a very long way since we rocked up at medical school 10 years ago. The 'tears at work' phase was probably one we thought we had traversed, but as people become more stretched, covering more patients with the same single pair of hands, my friends have seemingly endless tales of distress and despair. Now we have all started specialty training, there is something even more daunting at looking down the barrel of five, six, seven or even eight more years of this onslaught and that's just to finish our training. I know that it's not much better for Consultants, despite what certain newspapers choose to write.
|An Oxfordshire Fall....|
Frankly, I'm just a bit scared that I haven't got the stamina for it. I've been enjoying working in a research lab, although recent exams mean I've been once more stretched to what me and those close to me can tolerate. If I have failed these exams (as I'm expecting to have done), I am resolute in my plan to ride out this research year with no further exam distractions and find who my happy professional self is again.
For me at least, having a joyful nest to come home to at the end of the day puts a real microscope on how precious your time is, both professionally and personally. It also makes you think about the future and developing a happy, sustainable work situation. My meeting today was with someone who successfully managed to combine messages of understanding at how difficult things are in the NHS, encouragement to get my shizzle together and motivation that I do have choices.
|...and a Yorkshire Winter...|
|... with friends!|
I don't want to complain without solutions, and am very excited to play (an extremely amateur) role in promoting www.juniorreviews.com, which is trying to motivate trainees from the bottom up to champion great training - because without great training, the NHS can have no future.
My other solution for now is to love my laboratory research, heal myself a little and shore up the defences. My meeting today, if anything, reminded me that the System still cares. The System, in my case, is hugely embellished by my research interests. I have no idea how my purely clinical colleagues are staying sane. It's a shame but I fear the System is not going to be quite so robust in hospital land, so I'd best be ready for it when it finds me again. And, as I was reminded, having stepped out of the System for a while to do research in the USA, my mind is open to the world of possibilities out there, which makes me very lucky. As a timely reminder of that, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend with some of the great folks I met out there.
Best quote from my meeting today: 'Life doesn't get more complicated, only richer'.