la95
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I'm looking to apply for medicine, but I have a very intense phobia of something that crops up quite regularly in medicine. Obviously this is something I'd like to overcome, but it's unlikely that I'll be able to overcome it to the extent that I feel completely comfortable with the subject of my fear - rather, I want to learn to manage my anxiety. Could this be a fitness to practise issue and could it prevent me from becoming a practising doctor? I don't want to work in a field that is based entirely on what I'm afraid of, but it's something that I'll almost inevitably encounter (and probably quite regularly).

P.S. It isn't blood - it's something that is, in my opinion, quite unusual. I'm sure plenty of people are scared of it to a reasonable extent, but my fear is quite extreme.
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345rty
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I think that probably depends if it is likely to impact patient care, or perhaps more likely stop you completing the required elements of the course.
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la95
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(Original post by 345rty)
I think that probably depends if it is likely to impact patient care, or perhaps more likely stop you completing the required elements of the course.
Assuming I managed to get to a point at which I could manage my anxiety to the extent that I was able to complete the required elements of the course and patient care would not be impacted upon, would my 'phobia' still reflect badly on me and cause issues? I've had similar issues for a number of years (roughly six years - I'm eighteen now).
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345rty
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(Original post by la95)
Assuming I managed to get to a point at which I could manage my anxiety to the extent that I was able to complete the required elements of the course and patient care would not be impacted upon, would my 'phobia' still reflect badly on me and cause issues? I've had similar issues for a number of years (roughly six years - I'm eighteen now).
I can't imagine it would. I would be concerned that you would get to a point in the course where it had to be confronted and freak out. A girl in my year cracked up entirely when she did an ICU firm but until that point had just about got by.
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la95
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(Original post by 345rty)
I can't imagine it would. I would be concerned that you would get to a point in the course where it had to be confronted and freak out. A girl in my year cracked up entirely when she did an ICU firm but until that point had just about got by.
Obviously the plan is to confront it regularly in order to desensitise myself to it somewhat rather than just letting it stew. I've had treatment for a variety of mental health problems in the past and I'm seeing a counsellor at college at the moment (not for this issue), but I don't particularly want to seek further professional treatment and would prefer to try to conquer this myself. Would that be frowned upon?

Out of curiosity, what was it that made her crack up and what happened afterwards? Did she complete the course?

Also, can I contact somebody about this now? For example medical schools or the GMC? I don't want to go through the gruelling admissions process only to get rejected on the basis of my mental health problems.
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345rty
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(Original post by la95)
Obviously the plan is to confront it regularly in order to desensitise myself to it somewhat rather than just letting it stew. I've had treatment for a variety of mental health problems in the past and I'm seeing a counsellor at college at the moment (not for this issue), but I don't particularly want to seek further professional treatment and would prefer to try to conquer this myself. Would that be frowned upon?

Out of curiosity, what was it that made her crack up and what happened afterwards? Did she complete the course?

Also, can I contact somebody about this now? For example medical schools or the GMC? I don't want to go through the gruelling admissions process only to get rejected on the basis of my mental health problems.
She dropped out, and couldn't hack seeing such severe illness and associated survival rates.

I think if you ran into difficulties you would be far more likely to be supported if you had been open about it from the start.
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la95
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(Original post by 345rty)
She dropped out, and couldn't hack seeing such severe illness and associated survival rates.

I think if you ran into difficulties you would be far more likely to be supported if you had been open about it from the start.
Thanks for your advice. Do you think I'd be likely to be accepted in the first place given my phobia?
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345rty
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(Original post by la95)
Thanks for your advice. Do you think I'd be likely to be accepted in the first place given my phobia?
Its hard to say with no idea what it is or how much it affects you. Assuming you are prepared to engage with it and seek support as necessary I'd imagine it would probably be ok.
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la95
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(Original post by 345rty)
Its hard to say with no idea what it is or how much it affects you. Assuming you are prepared to engage with it and seek support as necessary I'd imagine it would probably be ok.
I recently made a thread about it anonymously on here - would you mind if I PMed you the URL so that you know what it is?
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345rty
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(Original post by la95)
I recently made a thread about it anonymously on here - would you mind if I PMed you the URL so that you know what it is?
Can do if you like, it all depends how comfortable you are discussing it really. I don't want to force the issue.
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la95
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(Original post by 345rty)
Can do if you like, it all depends how comfortable you are discussing it really. I don't want to force the issue.
I'm not particularly comfortable discussing it, but I'm trying to overcome it at the moment so it's something I'm going to have to get used to. I've PMed you - I just want a reasonably good idea of how likely it is to be an issue in terms of fitness to practise.
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Lionheartat20
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(Original post by la95)
I'm not particularly comfortable discussing it, but I'm trying to overcome it at the moment so it's something I'm going to have to get used to. I've PMed you - I just want a reasonably good idea of how likely it is to be an issue in terms of fitness to practise.
Also have a flick through this:
http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/unde...asp#18defining

Most phobia's including yours can be conquered by watching something once until you are comfortable watching, then again slowly getting involved If you have a really strong phobia of any procedure, then the medical school can usually give you some form of support to overcome it.
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la95
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(Original post by Lionheartat20)
Also have a flick through this:
http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/unde...asp#18defining

Most phobia's including yours can be conquered by watching something once until you are comfortable watching, then again slowly getting involved If you have a really strong phobia of any procedure, then the medical school can usually give you some form of support to overcome it.
Thanks for this! I've been watching related videos online and feel a bit better already. Hypothetically, if I still had the phobia, but was able to manage my anxiety to a point at which I could function normally in clinical scenarios, would it still be an issue?
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Helenia
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(Original post by la95)
Thanks for this! I've been watching related videos online and feel a bit better already. Hypothetically, if I still had the phobia, but was able to manage my anxiety to a point at which I could function normally in clinical scenarios, would it still be an issue?
If you could function normally in a clinical situation, how would anyone ever know about it?

I think getting treatment of some description for this phobia earlier rather than later is a good idea, and if you think it may affect your work then Occupational Health may want to know about it. As 345rty says, they are more likely to be sympathetic to people who have admitted they have a problem and sought appropriate help, than to people who have tried to DIY.
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Angury
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The medical school will be very supportive of you, and help you in any way they can.

I've had chronic health conditions which have affected my ability to do exams and go to placements at times, but I've been clear about it from the start, and have received a lot of support from staff.

The medical school can't help you if they don't know there's a problem. Even if you don't want any help at the moment (I refused any treatment at the start as well), it is still best to let them know. That is, once you get into medical school - you will generally have to complete a health questionnaire and attend an Occupational Health appointment so just be honest and raise any concerns you may have.

Please don't worry about things like fitness to practice just yet though. There are so many issues that students go through, yet a lot of them manage to get through them with help and support, and become doctors in the end. You'd be surprised at some of the things students have been through, I certainly was.

It sounds like you have a positive attitude and are willing to give everything a go - which is far better than my own attitude when I thought I would fail medicine and end up living on the streets.

As long as you look at your issues with a clear head, see where there could be a problem and look at the various solutions, I don't think you'll need to worry about FTP. Obviously this comes from someone who has no clue about what you are going through. But also remember that the medical school can offer adjustments if you are struggling, which also include support during placement.

For now, I would concentrate on getting into med school.
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la95
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(Original post by Helenia)
If you could function normally in a clinical situation, how would anyone ever know about it?

I think getting treatment of some description for this phobia earlier rather than later is a good idea, and if you think it may affect your work then Occupational Health may want to know about it. As 345rty says, they are more likely to be sympathetic to people who have admitted they have a problem and sought appropriate help, than to people who have tried to DIY.
I want to declare it even if I think it wouldn't impair my ability to function in clinical situations - better safe than sorry.

I agree. I'm going to have a go at some gradual exposure myself for a few weeks, just to see whether I can overcome it to a reasonable extent unaided (I've had professional treatment for other mental health problems in the past, so I'm familiar with the techniques), but if that doesn't work, I'll seek professional treatment. Do you think the phobia will be an issue when I actually apply? I want to declare it at the earliest possible opportunity.
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Lionheartat20
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(Original post by la95)
I want to declare it even if I think it wouldn't impair my ability to function in clinical situations - better safe than sorry.

I agree. I'm going to have a go at some gradual exposure myself for a few weeks, just to see whether I can overcome it to a reasonable extent unaided (I've had professional treatment for other mental health problems in the past, so I'm familiar with the techniques), but if that doesn't work, I'll seek professional treatment. Do you think the phobia will be an issue when I actually apply? I want to declare it at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you have the phobia I am thinking of, I don't see why it would be a problem at application. However you should declare all physical / mental illnesses (present & also past) so the university can give you support there.
I know medical students with phobias of blood - Many people have a phobia of some sort or another - as long as it doesn't affect the patient in any way (even if you feel a little uncomfortable) you should be OK

EDIT: I'm guessing the people with a phobia of blood plan to tackle it head on eventually and overcome it As long as you are willing to take it step by step and gradually get comfortable with your phobia, it shouldn't be too bad.
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la95
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(Original post by Angury)
The medical school will be very supportive of you, and help you in any way they can.

I've had chronic health conditions which have affected my ability to do exams and go to placements at times, but I've been clear about it from the start, and have received a lot of support from staff.

The medical school can't help you if they don't know there's a problem. Even if you don't want any help at the moment (I refused any treatment at the start as well), it is still best to let them know. That is, once you get into medical school - you will generally have to complete a health questionnaire and attend an Occupational Health appointment so just be honest and raise any concerns you may have.

Please don't worry about things like fitness to practice just yet though. There are so many issues that students go through, yet a lot of them manage to get through them with help and support, and become doctors in the end. You'd be surprised at some of the things students have been through, I certainly was.

It sounds like you have a positive attitude and are willing to give everything a go - which is far better than my own attitude when I thought I would fail medicine and end up living on the streets.

As long as you look at your issues with a clear head, see where there could be a problem and look at the various solutions, I don't think you'll need to worry about FTP. Obviously this comes from someone who has no clue about what you are going through. But also remember that the medical school can offer adjustments if you are struggling, which also include support during placement.

For now, I would concentrate on getting into med school.
Thank you for the kind response! I'm sorry to hear you've been through a difficult time.

I definitely want to declare all my mental health problems (sadly, I have quite a few!) as soon as possible and I'm prepared to seek treatment. I think it's something I'll be able to overcome eventually, with a lot of exposure. My worry is that I won't even be able to get into medical school in the first place as a result of this issue.

You said that you were surprised by some of the things medical students have been through - may I ask for some examples?

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what medical school are you studying at/did you study at? They sound very supportive!
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la95
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(Original post by Lionheartat20)
If you have the phobia I am thinking of, I don't see why it would be a problem at application. However you should declare all physical / mental illnesses (present & also past) so the university can give you support there.
I know medical students with phobias of blood - Many people have a phobia of some sort or another - as long as it doesn't affect the patient in any way (even if you feel a little uncomfortable) you should be OK

EDIT: I'm guessing the people with a phobia of blood plan to tackle it head on eventually and overcome it As long as you are willing to take it step by step and gradually get comfortable with your phobia, it shouldn't be too bad.
I don't have a phobia of blood - my phobia is of childbirth.

At what point will I have to declare this - can I declare it on my UCAS application, or will I have to wait until I receive offers before declaring it?
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Helenia
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(Original post by la95)
I want to declare it even if I think it wouldn't impair my ability to function in clinical situations - better safe than sorry.

I agree. I'm going to have a go at some gradual exposure myself for a few weeks, just to see whether I can overcome it to a reasonable extent unaided (I've had professional treatment for other mental health problems in the past, so I'm familiar with the techniques), but if that doesn't work, I'll seek professional treatment. Do you think the phobia will be an issue when I actually apply? I want to declare it at the earliest possible opportunity.
Even if I did know what your phobia was, there's no way I could guarantee that it either would or wouldn't affect your application or subsequent career. There's no need to mention it in you PS or anything - that would be weird. Just mention it when asked. In general, most mental health problems are not necessarily a barrier to entry/practising, but insight and concordance with treatment is crucial.

Edit: I see you've now told us what it is. This is a relatively small part of your medical course but it is likely to be essential to see at least some normal and operative deliveries. There's no need to start shouting about it right at the start, just put it down on any forms when asked.
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