December 16, 2013 Leave a comment
One of my friends recently asked me whether I missed working with patients. He also asked if the MSc program I’m currently enrolled in at the University of Edinburgh helped remind me of what it’s like to be a doctor.
The first question was easy for me to answer – I do miss working with patients – research is great, and to this day I stand by the reasons why I chose to pursue a few years of research-based training after finishing my primary medical qualifications. However, bedside practice is irreplaceable and unique. For me, it’s the perfect mix of challenge and reward. I’m enjoying all the new things I’m learning about neuroscience, but I still look forward to the day I hang my stethoscope around my neck and return to the wards and clinic once more.
As for the second question, I had to think about that for a little while. It’s true that I joined the program in Edinburgh to keep my clinical medicine knowledge up to date, but I truly feel that it has surpassed my expectations. To be completely honest, before joining the program I had thought (like many other people do) that ‘part-time’ and ‘flexible’ translated to ‘easy’. In fact, however, the opposite is true. Not only does a part-time program like this require an enormous amount of motivation and time management, but it also tests an individual’s resiliency.
I frequently find myself solving cases at three in the morning – just like I used to do while I was a medical intern – after a long day of lectures or lab work. Now, I don’t know if the program is designed to work in this way, but this kind of pressure does in fact remind me of what it’s like to be a doctor. Most, if not all, of my colleagues enrolled in the program at Edinburgh are practicing clinicians, so perhaps they don’t see the program the same way as I do. Being a doctor is a challenge, and working under pressure is a part of everyday life for any clinician. I think the program does a great job of reminding me of that.