That Bearded Man
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Well, I figured I'd set up a thread dedicated to the tough moments of medical school, whether it be a specific placement or staff member. A patient experience or maybe a crisis midway through. A reminder to keep clinical details confidential.

So, from my non-hospital experiences for me it was failing first year. When I got the notice that I'd have to repeat the entire year for failing anatomy, my heart just sank. I thought I was going to get kicked out actually, and I felt phenomenally stupid, although on retrospect I worked about as hard as everyone else in my (non medic) student house.

Clinically I've seen a fair amount of child abuse, big social issues which break your heart but for me one of my tops was my first night in my A+E placement doing a night. First patient was a teenager who overdosed on benzos. Dead. Took part in CPR but to no avail. Rest of the group actually went home after that.
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nexttime
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Numbers 1 through about 30 on my list will be from elective!
Last edited by nexttime; 1 year ago
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Anonymous #1
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In second year I worked far too hard, ended up becomming incredibly ill (ie. admitted to hospital for a couple of days via ED) during the exam period but still sat the exam stupidly. Obviously failed a couple and had to repeat the year. devestated as I wanted to stay with my friends in year. That entire summer I couldn't pick up any type of book - I'd never experienced burn out before but it was horrible.

Having to deal with my Uni's stupid abcense policy. My granny died suddenly in a house fire, ended up in ICU for a couple of day first with probably about 30% TSB and at 92 was never going to survive that. This was in my preclinical years - my university were horrible and demanded that I give them a copy of the death report - I was having none of that so stapled an article in the paper to my form. Can't believe how they treat their students, and it still is a no-faith system for normal abcenses.

Some patients still stick with me and I can remember everything but their name lol.
I think the weird genetic disorder kids affected me a huge deal, I'd always thought would like paeds as really good with kids but the random genetic disorders, some which had no name, really depressed me as what good could I do as a dr if I can't even explain the potenial disabilities or prognosis of the child. No more paeds for me (still enjoy neonates and gp paeds!) but not hospital one.
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Ghotay
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On a personal level, probably the bit between starting the degree and ending it...

Nah but really. First year was definitely hardest for me. I struggled a lot with moving away from home, hugely increased workload, making friends etc. Became extremely depressed, went on antidepressants, failed an exam and an essay... it was all very difficult, but after that things got better.

Clinically there's only one case that ever affected me and it was an odd one. I was spending the day with on-call ICU as a 5th year and got called down to resus for a lady in pulmonary oedema. She was on the older side, somewhat delirious and agitated, and really really unwell. I don't really remember the details any more, just different doctors and nurses coming and going. I just stuck with the patient, helping the different A&E nurses hold her down to take bloods etc, and spent ages just chatting to her son and reassuring him as best I could with my limited knowledge. The ICU consultant came down and had the 'let's focus on comfort' talk. The son was very understanding and reasonable. I spent hours down there, well into the evening. And when I left her son thanked me profusely for everything I had done. And for some reason that deeply upset me. I felt so useless, and unworthy. I had literally been holding his mother down, and just listening. I had done NOTHING. And I get that just being there is an intervention, and meaningful. But I dunno. Instead of being proud of what I had done, I just felt upset that I couldn't do more.
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lorry:)
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personally? falling down and breaking my ankle in the middle of a medic's ball in first year was 1. p humiliating and 2. v hard to manage in a halls full of stairs... also have had pretty major MH issues for most of med school - lost a bunch of weight and developed an eating disorder the summer of second year, became very depressed/anxious, ended up failing an exam, med school got involved, had the "do you need to take a year off/should we let you start third/fourth/fifth year" chat many many times, tried loads of meds, had loads of therapy... but things are ok now, i'm off meds, therapy free and nobody is hounding me for proof that i should be allowed to stay so hey, it does get better

clinically? man i am such a black cloud/**** magnet, and lots of it has stuck with me ever since and probably will for a good while yet, but most of the stuff has been very specific/rare
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notespad
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Personally, had severe depression during medical school with the peak at my third year/first clinical year where I was at one point suicidal. It got better from here.

Ended up successfully completing my degree very happily and now have no qualms about my mental health as a happy FY2.

If anyone is reading this and currently going through hell and back and wishing that it was their exams that was their number 1 priority, as opposed to their mental health, I know how you feel. It does completely suck. It will get better. Feel free to PM me.
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Anonymous #2
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For me, it was realising how little I know compared to all my classmates. Seems like every single one of them could tell you more about xyz random condition and how to treat it than I could. You just have to stop worrying about what everyone else knows and how well they're doing and focus on just being good yourself.
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Anonymous #3
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Seeing myself go from being an outgoing, sociable and overall happy person before medical school, to a burnt out, depressed, financially stricken and anxious person in final year. I have probably worked too hard and I'm basically bottom decile anyway. Luckily I've come to the realisation (finally) to stop giving a **** and take it a bit easier. A burnt out doctor is not a good doctor! Doing much better now even though it's just before finals
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That Bearded Man
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(Original post by Anonymous)
For me, it was realising how little I know compared to all my classmates. Seems like every single one of them could tell you more about xyz random condition and how to treat it than I could. You just have to stop worrying about what everyone else knows and how well they're doing and focus on just being good yourself.
Solid bottom decile right here, don't worry
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Anonymous #4
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Had mental health problems which got worse in 4th/5th year. Worst time was failing 2 exams in 5th year, including an important end-of-year one. Fortunately passed the resit without having to repeat the whole year.

Altogether a very very bad experience, although the one thing is that I now never take being a doctor for granted. I am very grateful to be a doctor.
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Anonymous #5
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I failed an exam in my third year and was asked to leave Medicine. Had a big fallout with my parents who blackmailed me into staying in my former uni city another year longer which resulted in me being out of work in a **** place for the whole year, depressed and barely talking to anyone. Uni counselling services turned me away and my former head of year said she doubted I could become a doctor and I should work in retail instead. Cow. All my former colleagues and people who I thought were my friends at medical school ignored me after I left uni early and these people are doctors now, which disgusts me. I ran into one of those people recently at an event and stamped on his foot accidentally on purpose.

18 months after leaving uni, I moved abroad to start Medicine again, 6 years from scratch. I've settled in and I still travel back to my home city regularly. I'm constantly travelling between 4 countries and I do enjoy it, but I miss having somewhere to call my permanent home. Through all of this, I've been single for (as near as makes no difference), 8 years and the damage is done with regards to my relationship with my parents. At times like this, you find out who your real friends. Only the people who support you through your failures should be allowed to share your success. On the plus side, I kept in touch with one person from my former uni and made many genuine, supportive friends through my work performing for stage and screen - something I never would have been able to continue had I graduated first time round.

My hardest experiences have been due to the politics of Medicine, not the clinical side. I haven't done a lot of clinical work so far but I'm sure there are more difficult experiences waiting for me in the future. But after everything I've been through, nothing scares me any more and I'm not afraid to stand up for myself in the face of oppression.
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