Surgery Gives Me A Headache 

I don’t have the hands or the stomach for it. I don’t have the patience or the discipline for it. I just don’t have the drive and the attitude.

I’ve just started my 4 week rotation on general surgery!

Lucky for me, being a gastroenterology enthusiast, I was placed in the hepatobiliary and liver transplant surgical team! So naturally I expected to be super interested and learn heaps!

My first week has been far from that, unfortunately. 

Back in 4th year, we were given the opportunity to talk to patients, go to theatre and take part in surgeries, and be taught in tutorials by consultants.

As a 6th year, my duty is much like the house officer’s. I check blood tests, write discharge summaries, and write notes for ward rounds. I have little to no interaction with any consultants or patients. 

As I am part of a sub-specialty surgical team, there’s no need to make diagnoses. Patients admitted to my team already have a diagnosis and a planned management plan. So there’s not huge amounts of thinking involved. Which makes me sad.

And consultants are never around. Whenever they have a spare moment to check on their patients (this could be any time of the day), they buzz the house officer to come running to write notes on further management. This is usually after the initial morning ward round. Which means that the plan has been changed for the 6th time that day. 

It’s all very messy.

And the consultants aren’t exactly the most interactive. Which I can understand. Surgeons are busy people. They check on their patients in a record time of less than 5 minutes. Their place to shine is under the bright lights of the surgical theatre. 

But up on the wards, they wave ‘hi’ to the patients and the team and disappear in a puff of smoke.

This is a problem. And I’ll tell you why.

As part of that darn application for next year again, I need 3 references from my first 3 rotations of the year. Which means following general medicine and general practice, general surgery has to be my place to get my 3rd reference. Which means I need to have some face time with consultants enough for them to put in a good word for me.

Which is extremely self involved and to be honest I’m hating this process. Because I seem to be getting into the mentality of strategically sizing up every consultant I meet to see who would be nice enough to request a reference from and presenting myself in a certain way so they’d like me. Blech. 

I can’t wait until I get my last reference and I can go back to being normal again. 

But until then, how am I supposed to impress the consultant? No idea. 

I attended a couple of surgeries hoping to meet a consultant, but all week it’s been extremely complex surgeries where they were all crowded over the patient and I could neither see anything nor be noticed at all before I quietly slipped out.

Surgery isn’t awful. It’s just a bit mundane at the moment because of current role and the format of the teams in this hospital. 

Ahh what to do. 3 weeks to go! Hopefully it’ll get better

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