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    as someone who is just about to finish my last year of med school, i look back and think that i didn;t actually enjoy it that much. Whats the general opinion? , does life after med school get better ? . Is working long stressful hours better than having constant exams?. Is having a decent social life harder to manage when you actually start working as a doctor?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    as someone who is just about to finish my last year of med school, i look back and think that i didn;t actually enjoy it that much. Whats the general opinion? , does life after med school get better ? . Is working long stressful hours better than having constant exams?. Is having a decent social life harder to manage when you actually start working as a doctor?
    Not going to lie, but it gets worse (overall, and in my opinion) before it gets better (again in my case).

    There are good and bad aspects as a (junior) junior doctor - FY1 - CT2:

    Good
    Getting paid!
    Annual leave whenever you want (i.e. not restricted to term times, but depending on your colleagues and requiring 6-8 weeks' notice)
    Having a title (you get used to it by FY2)
    Responsibilities
    Teaching other people (for me anyway)
    Working with / for wonderful (senior) doctors

    Bad
    Responsibilities!
    Working with / for horrible (senior) doctors!
    Exams - much harder to pass, have no formal time off (you have to take study leave if it is allowed, at most a few days'
    On-calls (nights / weekends) so out of sync with society
    Changing public attitudes
    Good medical staffing co-ordinators are few are far between - you may be asked to cover another team at a moment's notice
    Moving around the country for jobs
    Competition for jobs

    But it does get better, once you are in specialty training doing something you like. Bad things still exist but at least you are doing something you enjoy, and by then you know the system better! Ask me any further Qs if you want anything clarifying.

    (Specifically to answer your question - there may be "constant" examinations at medical school, but they are designed for you to pass + there is plenty of support / time off for you to study. It is completely different when you're working, the exams pass rate are notoriously low (MRCP Part 1 44.5% for all candidates?; MRCS Part A 34.2% pass rate), you have to pay for it, you can only take it a certain number of times, and you get no default time off unless you apply for study leave as I said above. So yes, medical school is better in that respect.)
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    I agree that it gets worse before it gets better. Foundation training was a roller coaster for me with some fantastic rotations and 4 months stretches of hell. Moving around all the time is in itself difficult. Core training was OK, the exams were the worst part. You are charged an arm and leg and if you don't pass at first go it quickly gets expensive. Higher training has probably been the best part of my working life so far. Eight years into it before I can say that I enjoy my job 100%. We will see how the consultant post is like.
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    (Original post by belis)
    ...We will see how the consultant post is like.
    I am sure you'll like it. I thought you are in the consultant rota already?
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    (Original post by ecolier)
    I am sure you'll like it. I thought you are in the consultant rota already?
    I am. The way it works for CAMHS locally is the SPRs go on the consultant rota as there is normally only one or two of us around so can't have separate tiers. The out of hours is fine, I am more concerned about the day job and particularly the complex politics and management aspects of the job. Clinical stuff I know I can do and enjoy.
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    (Original post by belis)
    I am. The way it works for CAMHS locally is the SPRs go on the consultant rota as there is normally only one or two of us around so can't have separate tiers. The out of hours is fine, I am more concerned about the day job and particularly the complex politics and management aspects of the job. Clinical stuff I know I can do and enjoy.
    I am dreading it but also realise that it is what every training hospital doctor will do for the majority of their working lives. Hopefully once we get used to the politics and management things will get smoother.
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    (Original post by ecolier)
    I am dreading it but also realise that it is what every training hospital doctor will do for the majority of their working lives. Hopefully, once we get used to the politics and management things will get smoother.
    It is a learning curve. Being on the consultant on call rota definitely helps. My last OOH involved phone calls to the clinical director, trust legal team, acute trust managers and trying to pacify a high ranking police officer. All followed by more daytime politics around the issue.

    I keep hearing how much extra funding CAMHS is getting from Hunt but somehow on the ground, it does not seem like we have enough resources to do the basics well. That is probably the most off-putting part of being a consultant. Taking more responsibility for a failing system with limited influence over it.
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    (Original post by belis)
    ...Taking more responsibility for a failing system with limited influence over it.
    Perhaps you'd be interested in a royal college / supra-regional role as an advocate for your specialty?
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    (Original post by ecolier)
    Not going to lie, but it gets worse (overall, and in my opinion) before it gets better (again in my case).

    There are good and bad aspects as a (junior) junior doctor - FY1 - CT2:

    Good
    Getting paid!
    Annual leave whenever you want (i.e. not restricted to term times, but depending on your colleagues and requiring 6-8 weeks' notice)
    Having a title (you get used to it by FY2)
    Responsibilities
    Teaching other people (for me anyway)
    Working with / for wonderful (senior) doctors

    Bad
    Responsibilities!
    Working with / for horrible (senior) doctors!
    Exams - much harder to pass, have no formal time off (you have to take study leave if it is allowed, at most a few days'
    On-calls (nights / weekends) so out of sync with society
    Changing public attitudes
    Good medical staffing co-ordinators are few are far between - you may be asked to cover another team at a moment's notice
    Moving around the country for jobs
    Competition for jobs

    But it does get better, once you are in specialty training doing something you like. Bad things still exist but at least you are doing something you enjoy, and by then you know the system better! Ask me any further Qs if you want anything clarifying.

    (Specifically to answer your question - there may be "constant" examinations at medical school, but they are designed for you to pass + there is plenty of support / time off for you to study. It is completely different when you're working, the exams pass rate are notoriously low (MRCP Part 1 44.5% for all candidates?; MRCS Part A 34.2% pass rate), you have to pay for it, you can only take it a certain number of times, and you get no default time off unless you apply for study leave as I said above. So yes, medical school is better in that respect.)

    so would you say life pretty much 100% revolves around work while you are a junior doctor? , did you find much time to do other things?.I spent most of my time in med school studying, and find I didn;t manage my time that well to be able to enjoy extracurricular stuff as much as some other people . I look back with a bit of regret to be honest and I am a bit worried about going straight into system that is going to completely consume my life for the next few years.

    During your junior years did you also find you had to study a lot? besides exams did you have to study to remain competent at the jobs you were assigned? or was it just mainly on the job learning ?

    and a bit of a personal question if you don't mind , overall would you consider it worth it? .I do ask myself a lot whether it will be all worth it in the end and i am holding out on finding a specialty I genuinely enjoy , but things do look bleak, going into a system that seems so under resourced and stressful , having a new article pop up everyday on my feed about the ominous future of the NHS doesn;t help. So i guess in addition are you content working in the UK specifically? is the working environment still very stressful even in the later stages of your training or is it mainly just during junior training
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    so would you say life pretty much 100% revolves around work while you are a junior doctor?
    It really depends on your grade and what you want to do. If you wanted a job in a non-competitive specialty, then extra work outside work hours are not that important. However if you want to do neurosurgery etc., then you may well need time after work to stay in theatres etc. to gain more experience or do audits.

    , did you find much time to do other things?
    Yes, after 5pm (on days you are not on-call) you are mostly free - make sure you live close to where you work, though.

    .I spent most of my time in med school studying, and find I didn;t manage my time that well to be able to enjoy extracurricular stuff as much as some other people . I look back with a bit of regret to be honest and I am a bit worried about going straight into system that is going to completely consume my life for the next few years.
    I take it you are in your later years of med school? It's a shame because it is a unique experience, never to be lived through again. However I would say you can (slightly) relax through (the first part of) FY1. After that things start heating up in terms of competition for jobs, and exams.

    During your junior years did you also find you had to study a lot?
    For exams - yes intesively.

    besides exams did you have to study to remain competent at the jobs you were assigned? or was it just mainly on the job learning ?
    Maybe a few hours each week. Make sure you know the basics of your job, even if you don't want to specialise in that specialty. For example when I did orthopaedics I had to be first assistant in THR / TKRs and it didn't hurt that I knew the anatomy so when the surgeon quizzed I knew what he was on about.

    and a bit of a personal question if you don't mind , overall would you consider it worth it?
    Absolutely. I love what I am doing so it all worked out. In our specialty on-calls are minimum and non-resident.

    .I do ask myself a lot whether it will be all worth it in the end and i am holding out on finding a specialty I genuinely enjoy , but things do look bleak, going into a system that seems so under resourced and stressful , having a new article pop up everyday on my feed about the ominous future of the NHS doesn;t help
    I suppose that is a difficulty facing all the doctors in the country

    . So i guess in addition are you content working in the UK specifically? is the working environment still very stressful even in the later stages of your training or is it mainly just during junior training
    I would say, as above that it is worse when you are a junior, junior doctor. When you are ST3+ you will (hopefully) be working and training in a specialty you like doing, working the hours that you have thoroughly researched, so it gets less tedious. It is worth it (for me anyway)!
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    as someone who is just about to finish my last year of med school, i look back and think that i didn;t actually enjoy it that much. Whats the general opinion? , does life after med school get better ? . Is working long stressful hours better than having constant exams?. Is having a decent social life harder to manage when you actually start working as a doctor?
    Overall, I would say I enjoyed my F1-F2 years, though I definitely had a lot more free time at medical school. This might seem strange, but my first (and busiest) job of F1 was probably the best time of my life - I guess it was a combination of being paid, finally feeling like a "proper" adult and moving to a much bigger city. I managed to have a really good work/life balance and just had a great time overall.

    The rest of F1 was a bit rough as I was working at a DGH and chose to move to avoid a long commute. Unfortunately, very few other doctors did this so it was very lonely living there, and because of the rota, it was difficult to do anything "extracurricular". I moved back to the city in F2 and commuted for 4 moths, which worked better for me.

    I've found working long hours less stressful than preparing for exams, however a lot of people I know did sit exams during F2. I don't think I could have coped with the addition of exams as I was simply too exhausted. Currently studying for MRCP part 1 during a very chilled F3 year!

    Social life is definitely harder as doctor. Much harder meeting up with friends on weekends as either you are working or they are. Committing to regular weekly activities is also much harder due to random shift patterns. You kind of end up specialising with the group you are working with during that rotation, which is nice, but you end up talking about work a lot lol.


    (Original post by Anonymous)
    so would you say life pretty much 100% revolves around work while you are a junior doctor? , did you find much time to do other things?.I spent most of my time in med school studying, and find I didn;t manage my time that well to be able to enjoy extracurricular stuff as much as some other people . I look back with a bit of regret to be honest and I am a bit worried about going straight into system that is going to completely consume my life for the next few years.

    During your junior years did you also find you had to study a lot? besides exams did you have to study to remain competent at the jobs you were assigned? or was it just mainly on the job learning ?
    Not 100%, but more so than at medical school. There is time to do other things but I did end up having to give up some regular commitments such as choir as I often couldn't go to rehearsals.

    Studying-wise, I did a lot of BMJ learning modules, but it was more to cover the curriculum for my ePortfolio than to help with the job. I went to a few sim courses in F1 to help me feel more confident in dealing with emergencies etc., but most of the learning has been on the job.
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    I preferred working as a Dr to clinical years, but felt they were worse than preclinical years.

    Clinical years at med school I hated - I hated all the standing around on a ward, not feeling useful etc. Working is better because you have a role and are contributing positively.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I preferred working as a Dr to clinical years, but felt they were worse than preclinical years.

    Clinical years at med school I hated - I hated all the standing around on a ward, not feeling useful etc. Working is better because you have a role and are contributing positively.
    Have you done your post-graduate exams? What grade are you at the moment?

    Just genuinely interested to know someone who is a junior doctor and thinks it is better than being a medical student (with all the support available then).
    • #3
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    (Original post by ecolier)
    Have you done your post-graduate exams? What grade are you at the moment?

    Just genuinely interested to know someone who is a junior doctor and thinks it is better than being a medical student (with all the support available then).
    F2. Passed MRCP Part 1.

    I just didn't really enjoy my clinical years (although I had some personal circumstances during clinical years that perhaps contributed to that).

    In my clinical years, I felt there were more hoops to jump through, more pressure to study (although of course you weren't working full time, so there was more time to study). I also found it difficult to know what I "should" be doing, eg study vs time on ward.

    At least with working, you have a defined role each day.

    Just my personal opinion obviously.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    F2. Passed MRCP Part 1.

    I just didn't really enjoy my clinical years (although I had some personal circumstances during clinical years that perhaps contributed to that).

    In my clinical years, I felt there were more hoops to jump through, more pressure to study (although of course you weren't working full time, so there was more time to study). I also found it difficult to know what I "should" be doing, eg study vs time on ward.

    At least with working, you have a defined role each day.

    Just my personal opinion obviously.
    Well done, I hope your opinion remains unchanged as you do your Part 2 written and clinical (PACES). The defined role I feel is very fluid, especially in my current hospital where trainees can literally be asked to cover one specialty one day, another specialty the next, and yet another the day after. There is absolutely no continuity - even if you are not pulled from your team, your on-calls will ruin any chances of sticking with the same team and building up a relationship with the patients.

    I have always felt very "protected" during medical school years. Any slight blip raises alarm bells in the medical school support team, they proactively reach out to you and ask if there is anything you need. In the junior doctors' world, looking for support is equivalent to admitting failure and is culturally unacceptable.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I preferred working as a Dr to clinical years, but felt they were worse than preclinical years.

    Clinical years at med school I hated - I hated all the standing around on a ward, not feeling useful etc. Working is better because you have a role and are contributing positively.
    I agree, I felt like a lot of clinical years was just wasting my life sat at the back or hanging around. I felt like I was living a completely unproductive and pointless life aside from just completing the self centred task of prepping myself to pass yet another exam. Pre-clinics equally was just endless lectures @[email protected] On the plus side you have a lot of freedom and you're always learning things which keeps it interesting. You need to make the most of your free time whilst you have it.

    Working is better in the sense you have more purpose in your day to day life and are achieving something useful, but worse in the sense you lose control over your own life. Probably that is the worst feature in my opinion - you have to do whatever you're told, can be denied holiday when you want it, have to work shifts that make you feel like death (...nights), do jobs which you hate (although also some you'll enjoy to be fair) and complete the mindless bureaucratic task of the eportfolio - grovelling for people to fill in electronic forms to prove you've been doing the job you've clearly been doing all year. Having said that you occasionally get to derive some personal satisfaction out of it when you're working. Every once in a while you'll feel like you've done something well or have a glimmer of positive feedback and it's... well, it's satisfying :P As a student I don't think I received any feedback, good or bad, beyond my exam decile at the end of the year.

    I guess overall I prefer working because I like to have a purpose to my life and a role, and I hated nebulously hanging around trying to generate some kind of osmotic educational experience. Some parts of work and some jobs are awful but if you're in a good job I for one feel pretty optimistic about going into work. Also you earn some money which helps a lot because at least when you (finally!) get home from work you can eat what you want, live in a nicer place etc. You just have to hope you end up in a final job which is a good one and can leave the horrible ones behind - because when you're trapped in a stressful unsupported job that makes you feel like ****, I'd take being a student any day.
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    Definitely preferred being a med student not gonna lie. I like having responsibility, but working like 55 hours per week plus like 5 hours commute time is just way more than i was ever doing at med school. Pretty much all hobbies i used to have have stopped as no time and no university to facilitate them. No time for socialising, hard to meet people. Worst part for me is never having even the possibility of getting more than a week off. Absolutely no plans which take more than a few days can ever come to fruition. Kind of depressing.

    There are positives of course. I actually kind of want to learn now, and MDTs/radiology meetings that were the absolute worst as a med student are now kind of interesting as you get answers for a patient you have been worrying about. Materials-wise I'm a lot richer which is nice i guess but was never really my thing.

    Just waiting to go part time or take a year/multiple out i think.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Definitely preferred being a med student not gonna lie.
    Agreed

    I like having responsibility, but working like 55 hours per week plus like 5 hours commute time is just way more than i was ever doing at med school.
    Agreed

    Pretty much all hobbies i used to have have stopped as no time and no university to facilitate them. No time for socialising, hard to meet people.
    Agreed - a workaround for me is to teach sooo much that the Uni has given me a title so I can use University facilities again But all that teaching is all in my free / admin time - obviously I don't mind

    Worst part for me is never having even the possibility of getting more than a week off. Absolutely no plans which take more than a few days can ever come to fruition. Kind of depressing.
    Agreed - but it gets better luckily. When you are the registrar (if you are in a non-general med specialty) and when you are the consultant things get much easier.

    There are positives of course. I actually kind of want to learn now, and MDTs/radiology meetings that were the absolute worst as a med student are now kind of interesting as you get answers for a patient you have been worrying about. Materials-wise I'm a lot richer which is nice i guess but was never really my thing.

    Just waiting to go part time or take a year/multiple out i think.
    We need medical doctors
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    thanks for the thorough responses guys , made for a very interesting read. I somewhat agree with the sentiment someone expressed regarding feeling useless in med school, hence why actually working would at least bring a bit more purpose to your day , but it does still seem incredibly daunting to suddenly be dropped into the a bunch of responsibilities , especially fresh out of med school where the only thing you have to care about was passing your next exam.. i think pretty much everyone mentioned hating the responsibility aspect of the job , so i just have a follow up question , how do you guys actually feel about the decisions you have to make? , does it still stress you out or is it at the point its pretty routine. Is it having responsibilities, perioid , or is it having the type of responsibilities associated with being a doctor people don't like? . Also when you start FY1 how much stand alone decisions do you actually make? , are you still guided my seniors a lot, does it depend on the rotation?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    how do you guys actually feel about the decisions you have to make? , does it still stress you out or is it at the point its pretty routine.
    I think you get used to decisions you are making all the time. In training, once you get used to one level of complexity you move up so there is always that learning curve. For me, there are always decisions that are hard to make and I doubt it will change. It just comes with a territory that seniors have to make the most difficult decisions and contain the most significant risks. The day to day stuff that I used to fret about as a core trainee has become easy though.
 
 
 
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