A junior doctor/intern starts off their career straight out of medical school which can be from the age of twenty three. Any one of us could be seen by a doctor from their early twenties. Does that mean we lose confidence in these doctors just based on their age?
I admit when I graduated, I did quite honestly look 15 y
ears old and oh boy! was I constantly reminded of that in the hospital. Yes of course theres the positive of appearing to age well, but the negatives are of my having had to explain I was of legal age to perform surgery on these patients.
I remember one very awkward moment whilst in A&E, of reviewing an elderly man needing an urgent catheter inserted. A simple procedure, one that I had performed a countless number of times, and standing in front of this patient with his family explaining that “yes, indeed it will by myself performing it, and no I shall not tell you the year I was born”.
Undoubtably, these awkward moments I was able to laugh at and make jokes of with my patients, but this was not the case when I was on the labour ward with highly anxious screaming pregnant women and their acutely stressed relatives. One patient I recall on a nightshift needed to have an urgent caesarian section, which I would be the assisting doctor, and as I explained this to the patient, I could see her family almost forming a fence of themselves around their daughter for utter protection against my childlike looking young hands almost chanting, “no, we cannot let this child take you to surgery….!”…Well, take her I did, and a beautiful baby was born that night… from a child looking doctor. Don't judge a book by its young cover!