#stayhome Maintain the distance, wash your hands, and follow instructions from the health authorities.
RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

Five advice for young doctors and smooth career start

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
D. Alwinsky, M.D. ▼ | December 3, 2016
So, you successfully survived the medical school, finished all exams with flying colors and now you are in the hospital. Congratulations. But - what now? How to switch to real life and what advice you didn't hear in the school.
Young doctors
Being a doctor   First days on the job as a young doctor
First, be careful with advice you got from older doctors, especially your relatives.

There are doctors with decades of experience working in the field that doesn't request to be on the very forefront of scientific research. So, for example, your father who's good GP, doing his job well without any doubt, is telling you things "everybody must know" such as "too much salt is not good."

Over the years, medicine changes and science is improving our knowledge. So, things that were taken for granted decades ago may be considered wrong today, so it's always wise to think about advice.

Of course, if the older doctor works in the field that requires maximum knowledge and state of art equipment, listen carefully.

Second, be yourself.

Don't try to imitate your role model because, you know, everybody has a role model. If you are trying to follow that famous doctor that's almost a semi-god to you, you will run into trouble.

There are two reasons for that.

First, when the moment comes when you have to make a decision in seconds, you will ask yourself what your role model would do. Well, you can't read people's mind and maybe your role model was never in the situation you are in right now. So - there is a good chance you will make a mistake.

Then, by following somebody else without thinking, you will stop your own development and you will not learn from your own experience. There's no doubt that everybody can make a mistake, and so can you, but the only way to develop self-confidence and be good at what you do is to use your own head and make your own decisions.

Third, talk to your patients.

It's easy to believe numbers and test, but number will not show you the complete picture. You may have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't have good communication skills you can't be a good doctor.

When your patient is describing the condition at hand, the diagnosis is there, somewhere in her words. And if your patient tells you something that doesn't really fit with test - listen and find out why.

Maybe it's about a condition you didn't meet before, maybe the test results are wrong, maybe your patient needs a shrink - but there is always a reason why somebody's insisting "My stomach hurts" when all you know points to the head.

And remember that some people are not particularly good when it comes to conversation, so - talk. Ask them, get as many answers as you can and then put test results on top of them, that's the right way to good diagnosis.

Fourth, learn.

Always learn. Use every opportunity to learn from your colleagues, go to seminars, read scientific journals, you can even learn a thing or two from your patients. If you come across that interesting article from a field of medicine that is miles away from your field of work - read it.

You never know, maybe one day you will use a piece of into found in it to save somebody's life.

And bonus: Don't be afraid to say "I don't know." If you don't know how the situation will unfold, say so. Your patients expect a human being trying everything to help them, they don't expect a quiz master.

Don't try to play god and pretend that you know everything. Instead, admit that you don't and then go and try to do something about it.

And fifth, as someone said, don't get cirrhosis.

Pressed by the stress of difficult cases almost on a daily basis, it is easy to escape into alcohol or illegal drugs. Now, nobody says you shouldn't drink beer or wine now and then, but it shouldn't be a way to relax because two things will happen eventually.

You will, obviously, end up with serious medical issues if you go too far, but what's even more important, if you are under influence every day - and unfortunately there are such doctors out there - you may kill somebody.

While your health is your problem, as a doctor you should think about your patients first and find a way to get over that stress in some other way. Or your career will end in a nasty way.