College President Professor Jackie Taylor introduces Top Tips For New Doctors – how to take care of yourselves and each other, written by doctors for doctors.
On behalf of our College and our fifteen thousand members, congratulations on taking up your new post as a doctor in training. I remember the mixed emotions I felt walking into my new ward on my first day. I’m sure that you’ve been going through the same sort of emotional rollercoaster over the past few days and weeks.
There are a few defining days in our early lives – leaving school, passing that elusive driving test, graduation – but none more memorable than the first day as a doctor. Thinking of it now brings back incredibly clear memories. Despite the gruelling hours, baptism of fire and all the other faults, most of all, I remember that six month post as one of the happiest most fulfilling times of my life. The sense of camaraderie and team working are unrivalled. We worked hard, we learned fast, we played hard and we made the whole experience as enjoyable as possible. Most importantly we looked after one another, and to this day some of my closest friends are my co-residents.
My advice to doctors on day one is first and foremost, do not be afraid to ask. You are not expected to know everything and there is no such thing as a silly question. Make sure that you know who to approach for help. Listen to the nursing staff – they have a wealth of experience and can be an enormous support.
From a practical perspective, wear comfortable clothes and shoes!! Don’t forget to eat and drink – a ten minute break, even when you are busy will help you to work more effectively and efficiently. Try to meet up with your colleagues to do this. I am a great fan of emergency chocolate and would recommend keeping a stash-though other healthier options are also acceptable!!
Finally, remember what a privilege it is to work in our profession and to care for patients and their families at some of the most vulnerable times of their lives. Show compassion and kindness to them, to your colleagues and to yourself.
Good luck – it will all be fine.
Find our more tips on Saturday 20 June.