Ever since my sense of vocation was denounced I have been soul searching to understand if my best intentions, sleepless nights and prohibited social life are worthwhile. On this voyage one thing has become abundantly clear - it seems I am not the only one to question my future. Since that infamous speech an unexpected turn of events have culminated in a first doctors strike in forty years. But the one overriding positive from this toxic mess? It truly has brought our profession together.
We now have a universal common ground, a reason to converse beyond the cursory professional handover and I take a genuine interest in how others are feeling. This sudden upsurge in interaction has a sense of poignant regret. Why had we lost our camaraderie?
Part of the answer was evident when I moved to continue my speciality training. A new colleague enquired as to why I was so antisocial. Slightly taken aback by the abrupt nature I responded that after I get to know someone they would then have to move to another part of the country. Fast-forward six months, and exactly that scenario is happening. I'm due to lose a good friend because of the nature of our relocation habits.
A factor linked in to the professional tourism is the lack of accommodation. Obviously, the more you mature and gain dependents the less you wish to live in a single bedroom with shared facilities. However, for the newly qualified it would help to share and grow with people who are enduring a similarly world shaking experience.
Coupled with our personal life, the professional lifestyle has changed to keep up with increased demand and intensity of the workload. With the advent of shift working it is utterly plausible to work for different consultants, with different juniors and handover to different nursing staff each day of the week. With this lack of consistency that the firm structure used to provide it leads to pure service provision and less ownership over your patients. Thus at times you can feel quite isolated and futile.
A further transformation to our training has been the portfolio and increasing inter-personal competition. A constant carrot in front of the beleaguered workforce demands we have X numbers of assessments with Y numbers of audits completed on top of Z numbers of publications before we are deemed competent to apply for further training. Yes of course appraisals are a positive aimed to keep us up-to-date and safely practising. But with such pressure to tick boxes friction between colleagues can occur.
Perhaps the stolen camaraderie led me into my chosen profession - emergency medicine. The siege mentality, punishing rotas and huge reliance on teamwork made me feel like I belong somewhere. Sadly with the unrelenting workload and no sign of empathy from up high, I can feel myself drifting. For now, the search continues.