Shocker - I'm back! Most of you probably thought I fell off the planet or medical school had simply killed me. Actually what had happened is that after my placements in May I had left for my medical elective for 2 months. I went back to Canada to do my medical elective in..........you guessed it: Orthopaedics. It was tough - and that's putting it lightly. I have not worked as hard as I had during my medical elective than any of my last 4 years at medical school. So once I got back I was seriously burnt out while my friends were burnt from their lovely sun filled elective in the beautiful/tropic parts of the world such as: Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji...I am feeling my blood pressure go up again. To put it in even more simple terms - I was miserable during my elective and very jealous of my friends who had a tropical and fun-filled elective to discover themselves.
Why was my elective so tough?
Well North American medical school will always have its stereotype to uphold. My mornings started at 6:30 am and my day didn't end until 6pm and that's me sneaking off early. Despite being a visiting elective student I was expected to still do 24 hour on-calls. Yes there were a few days especially in the first 2 weeks where I wanted to go and hide in a corner and cry. I've never been told off so much in medical school as much as I had during my first 4 week rotation. Apologies I have to leave out details as it will make me very easily identifiable if I start specifying EXACTLY what sub-specialty I was doing. I remember telling my parents several times I would quit. I nearly walked out of clinic many times. I walked out of the operating room once after being unfairly treated. This elective definitely pushed my limits to the max. When I reached my 2nd rotation of 4 weeks - I was back in my comfort zone. Let's say the first 4 weeks was a very steep learning curve and one I hope to never go through again. Looking back at it, I'm glad I got my ass-whipped as not only did I never work so hard before, but I have never learnt so much before in such a short amount of time. I had to gain A LOT of self-confidence and was pushed to the deep end of the pool during my elective and I'm glad the consultant pushed me that hard. I would have never learned...but with that, I sacrificed the enjoyment of the elective. I guess it's a fine balance.
When I returned to the UK I was just so burnt out. I didn't get much of a summer holiday. I was back to placements and well let's just say placement seemed extremely SLOW compared to Canada. I had a hard time adjusting back and consultants thought I was overly too proactive. It's a very different system here in the UK. In Canada I felt like I had to fight for my learning opportunities and I learned by falling flat on my face a million times. In the UK, we are spoon-fed our learning opportunities. There isn't a huge competition atmosphere in the UK. I was with other medical students in Canada and I found myself fighting to get to scrub in and fighting to see patients. As a student in the UK I feel like sometimes we take it for granted the amount of learning opportunities we get. Anyways there isn't much to talk about my elective. If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would go like this: Worked my ass off, but came out more mature and wiser and perhaps a hell lot more worn out. To be honest I still don't know what to think of my elective. Don't get me wrong, I was lucky to have got an elective in Canada in a major city in a very popular specialty, so I don't regret it at all.
Hopefully I'll start updating a bit more, however, final exams are coming up so I am a lot busier than usual now. Currently doing my General Practice rotation so who knows maybe I'll find time. Sorry again for the lack of updates...just had a rough few months.