She’s Got My Back

I think I was in fourth year of medical school.  I went to medical school in Prague, Czech Republic.  And yeah, yeah it was an amazing experience and everything, but generally speaking the Czech people aren’t particularly “nice” people in my experience*.

I remember once we were in the University Hospital.  Me, my girlfriend and about three of our friends were just talking after our lectures.  We were stood adjacent to a set of stairs which were leading up to some offices.  Let me clarify this.  We were not in any way obstructing people from going up and down this busy set of stairs!

A typical Czech man in his late 40s/50s walked passed us and as he was walking past us, up the stairs, he started sneering under his breath. “Can’t you find somewhere else to stand?!!!”.

I turned around and said “Sorry, but have you heard the phrase excuse me or please?”

The man turned around, a little red in his face and flustered as he probably didn’t think that anyone would say anything.  He looked at me and said “I’ll remember you in your final exams and fail you!”.

I responded by saying “Yeah, ok.”.

Needless to say I never saw that man again and whoever he was, he had nothing to do with my education.  It was just an empty pathetic threat – and I knew it was as soon as he spluttered those in-authentic words out of his mouth.

What really struck me though was this; When I turned around after that exchange of words which must have lasted like 10 seconds, my “friends” had all stepped away by a mile!  My girlfriend however didn’t nudge.  Not even by a step!

I’ll never forget that.  It’s incredible how when you do the right thing and stand up for something right, most people around you will react by getting scared and hiding away.  The few, very special courageous people, who have integrity, will be loyal and stand by you no matter what.

These are the people that you should fight to keep in your life.  They’ve got your back.

Needless to say, I’ve lost all contact with those other people I was speaking to that day.

And needless to say, my girlfriend continues to amaze me with her strength of character to this day! :)))

*Disclaimer – I experienced more racism and general rudeness in my six years in the Czech Republic than the rest of my life combined.  Yes, you can call it xenophobia, a different culture etc etc.  I’m not hating, this was just my own personal experience.

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The Instructions Will Kill You

“You will be part of the crash team and if you are the first on the scene will need to lead the cardiac arrest scenario”

“You will be involved in the major trauma calls and carry out procedures such as chest drains etc.”

“If a patient turns violent then you must press the panic button and shout for help”

When you’re a doctor, you get sent instructions before you start work which tell you how that department works.

I hate these packs.  Mainly because you’re already freaking out about going to a new department and scared about your unconscious incompetence which might kill someone.  Then you get a set of instructions which tell you that your gut instincts were right and you become acutely aware of a whole host of conscious incompetencies!

The funny thing is when you start that dreaded rotation you’re surrounded by people just like you saying things like “it’s not as bad as I thought it would be!”.  All of a sudden you can start to lose yourself in the job and the moment and just be a doctor.

Recently a young girl joined myself and the rest of the paediatric team on the wards.  She may soon be applying to medical school and started asking the team whether it’s worth all that hard work to get to where we are.

I thought to myself “should I give her a set of instructions and likely destroy her morale, or should I just tell her that only she can decide”.

I didn’t give her the instructions.

She has the privilege of finding out for herself without letting her unconscious incompetencies stifle her obvious intelligence and spirit.

 

The Worst Thing That Could Happen to a Doctor

Being a GP is tricky because anything could walk through your door.  My yesterday evening clinic for example had a mother who presented with inflamed polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, a patient who had been bitten by insects while gardening, a patient with a flare up of her rheumatoid arthritis, a one year old with viral induced wheeze, a woman with a UTI, a depressed patient wanting to change her antidepressants……..it’s absolutely random!!!

It’s really funny seeing how GP trainees (or indeed any kind of medical trainee in GP) react to not knowing everything and actually having to use their brain to work out what to do!

They FREAK out!

The reason is simple in my mind!  Most doctors out there were at the top of their class since they were in play school!  They were the ones who always had the right answer, they would be the ones that always get that A grade in their exams.  Most doctors dedicate large swathes of their life devoted to gaining knowledge so that when the time comes they might know the answer!

Imagine what they must be feeling when a patient then presents with a random assortment of vague symptoms that you will never find in a textbook.

It is ironic that the education system was created to make us conform so that we could meet the needs of industrialism and yet nowadays, more and more the “good jobs” are reserved for people who can think on their feet and come up with solutions a computer can’t.

GP trainees have never been taught how to think!

NHS Startup Part V – Gateway

So, a lot seems to have happened in the last week or so.

I am continually astonished how doors seem to keep opening if you come from a place of genuinely trying to help others.

As many of you know, I’ve been trying to get my hands on APIs which would allow my software to interact with the commonly used systems already widely used throughout th NHS.  Not getting my hands on these things would make it massively likely that my idea would be dead in the water.  It wouldn’t make it impossible, but it would make it A LOT harder.

Lucky for me the Internet exists!

To cut a long story short, somehow I managed to end up being introduced to Dr David Stables!  He’s the founder of Emis Web, which is the most widely used IT system in primary care in the NHS!

I have to say that Dr Stables was suuuuper cool to speak to!  I can’t believe how he gave me so much of his time in helping me.  It was really interesting speaking to someone who has been so involved in the NHS software scene for so long.

In Part III of this series I mentioned how only a handful of companies had managed to get their software approved for full roll out.  Dr Stables has kindly introduced me to one of these companies so that I might be able to “piggy back” off of this company and implement my idea!

I’ve already spoken with this company and things may hopefully be moving forward now!

Exciting times!

Steer The Ship

I can’t help but feel introspective as of late.

I am in my last post as a junior doctor before finishing my post grad.  There’s only a year left of this course.

During my time in hospital a lot of my seniors have often made passing remarks such as “oh, I thought you were a medical trainee”, or “it’s such a shame you don’t want to stay in hospital medicine”.

I took these as compliments really, that they wanted to recruit me to their specialty if they could.

I guess I just have a deep seated discomfort about hospital medicine.  I just don’t enjoy the culture in the hospital and I don’t fit in with hospital doctors.  They seem…..different to me, for lack of a better word.

It really makes you think though.  When I was in high school, by the last couple of years I couldn’t wait to get out of there, then the same thing happened while I was in medical school.  Now I feel the same way about my post grad.  I just can’t wait for it to be over so that I can move on.

I guess the realisation I have made is that we are constantly steering our ship to something or somewhere we can be more at one with ourselves.  Every time I’ve finished something (whether that be school or uni or whatever) I feel that I am getting that bit closer to where I need to be.

I feel that once I get my post grad I can then move on to something that I will enjoy even more (starting my first business).

It’s funny how when I generally meet people they seem to not really be “steering their ship”.  They seem a little lost and often have no direction.  If they aren’t steering that ship then they can’t move towards something that they will really love.

Trust

My girlfriend could destroy me.  Literally, she has the power to break my heart and destroy me in so many ways.

I trust her not to.  Our relationship started off with us giving each other a little bit of trust.  When we learnt that we were safe giving trust to one another, we kept on giving each other more and more.

Trust isn’t actually given.  It’s reciprocated.

You can’t give someone trust and expect something back.  In fact doing so makes you untrustworthy and manipulative.  If you give someone trust and expect absolutely nothing back and the person you have given the trust to doesn’t abuse this and gives you something back in return then trust has been built.

There are certain organisations (e.g. Netflix) that give trust to their employees by giving them unlimited vacation time.  Trust was given with no expectation of anything in return.  This trust was reciprocated by the employees by not abusing this privilege.

This realisation really made me change the way I see relationships (whether that be with family, friends, or an employee/employer).  It really shines light on why we trust and are loyal to some people and why we are not necessarily loyal to others and with certain organisations/employers.

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

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“Creative Work is….. a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got” – Steven Pressfield

I had that feeling to write a blog post today.  There was a little voice in the back of my head.  “It’s too late, just go to bed” it said…..”Don’t do it, what will people think” it said……..”Do it tomorrow”…..

The War of Art had been recommended to me by a number of people and I can see why now.  We’ve all heard that voice.  It’s called The Resistance and if you don’t constantly fight it everyday it will win.

It’s the amygdala, the most primitive part of our brain that causes us to think this way.  It stifles our creativity and stops us being authentic.

It stops you from putting your hand up in meetings and offering insights.  Why?  Because if you do put your hand up and say something not quite right, then your boss will notice, then she’ll look at your CV and realise you lied once and then you’ll get fired and then you can’t pay your mortgage and then you’ll end up homeless and then you’ll die!

Of course this isn’t true, but the amygdala/the lizard brain is what’s kept us alive and let humans thrive.  However, we don’t live in that era any longer….

If we make a mistake we won’t get killed.

The same things that made humans thrive are the same things that now hold us back.  We don’t need to be afraid of building real connections with strangers.  Hell, thanks to the Internet, nowadays we can find more like minded people who we can truly connect with than ever before.  Look at this blog and the random people that like it from around the world! (Thanks by the way!)

This is a topic that is hardly ever talked about.  If you want a reality check and how it is often indeed yourself that’s holding you back from doing your important work then read this book and keep fighting The Resistance.