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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Great Expectations...?

First of all, just a little thank you to you, whoever you are, who is reading this. I've had a few really lovely messages of late, and it remains a surprise that anyone reads my scribbles, let alone writes to me about them.

Onwards - I had an exam this week but to be honest, I've stopped telling people how I think exams have gone because they are now so fed up of me thinking I've failed when I end up passing.  But for what it's worth, I definitely feel like I left my brain at home on Tuesday, and am already putting another £400 aside for the resit in January. Harumph.

For it is a source of constant amusement to me that everyone thinks 'Ah ha!' - you're a doctor now. You're sorted! Thirteen years at school, another six at uni, boom - you're done, with a job for life. When I told my parents I was doing more exams, they were thinking this was another standard Karin keen-bean moment. Uh oh, no no.  I am not a special case, this is the reality of becoming anything at all other than an SHO (and soz, but I'm not keen to be the go-to cannula woman forever).

Spend most of my time feeling like this...
 But it's basically blimmin scary to think of what expectations there are for the future.  I can look forward to a lot more exams well into my thirties, and revalidation every five years after that. That's assuming I get a job, given that we're approaching a real bottle neck of medical graduates and higher training/consultant posts.  This is before I even THINK about the fact I have ovaries. And it's not just my ovaries; I'm soon to become an auntie and I want to do that properly too.

It's essentially very easy to feel like you're failing by someone else's standards - those who think you're some career-hungry monkey who's just trying to get ahead at the expense of your personal life; those who think you're not all that committed to your career after all; those who judge your frenetic activity and think that's what you want for the rest of your life, when really you're just plugging in the hours now in hope it all chills out later on; those who tell you how to live your junior doctor life - 'make sure you do at least 3 audits and a few posters' - uhhhh when?  Some junior doctors seem to be able to relax about this (mainly boys, I note. Man, I envy you). I'm... working on it.

So I am henceforth focusing on the KP Standard of 'I'm making up my own plan'. I'm hoping to go to America for a year next year to do some research and have already had the full range of complete enthusiasm to wincing in pain at this 'career suicide'.  Well, whatever.  Medicine isn't the one-way-route to lifetime riches that it's perceived to be, it's still a job I love and I'm taking the scenic route to whatever it is that life is going to look like for me longterm, and I know I'm incredibly lucky to be doing a job where I can say that.

The scenic route always makes you feel a bit more travel-sick along the way, and you may burst a tyre or two, but journey's end is always more beautiful. I'll think of that as I head for my resit in January...