Today, I had the charming incident in being informed that doctors are lazy and useless. This was not from my patient, but actually from someone close to me and I had a lot of love and respect for.
Being a doctor in 2018 is not what it’s cracked up to be. I thought I would be a doctor because I genuinely am a curious individual. I like to ask questions, and I like to dig around like a medical Sherlock Holmes, and I have an innate nurturing nature in me.
But the reality of the job is not practically, on a day to day, what you imagine as a child. I can say with quite brutal honestly, working in the NHS, no matter how proud I am to be part of it, is a thankless job. At times it feels like charity work. The amount of hours I do voluntary and involuntary in order to cope with the ongoing pressures of patient care and the fear of ever missing a sign, is at times soul destroying. It’s become a job of fear rather than of curiosity. People think doctors live in a leather chair, in their white coat, and delegating to people what to do. Narcistically, I wish that was sometimes the case.
In fact, it’s the doctor that tries to be everyone: the nurse, the secretary, the porter as well as the doctor. I have pushed patients in their bed to the radiology department to get a scan because it needed to be done urgently. I have worn trainers so I can be the phlebotomist and do all the patients’ bloods then run them myself to the laboratory. I have taken the patient to their commode as the nurses were busy. I have spent hours after work writing my own letters and posting them instead of the secretaries to get the job done more efficiently.
I have missed my own birthdays, Christmases, and even visiting my own loved ones at the hospital, as I feel guilty about missing my shift to look after my own patients. At what cost? And I get told doctors are lazy and useless?
There’s a reason there’s a shortage of doctors, and it’s getting worse. Because the good ones that stay working for the NHS are degraded by the at times ungrateful public day after day, with more threats of patient pressure, and quite honestly with no respect to the staff. These are the bitter days where I think to myself, pack it in and just go somewhere where I am treated with the respect I deserve, and not breaking my back in order to serve those that don’t even have the resect to simply say thank you.
What has the world come to? In which those that actually do sacrifice their lives in order to help others in a national system that quite frankly doesn’t pay what their staff deserve, for individuals that resent the doctors actually trying to help. I really hope you are not one of those people. Because if this attitude continues, I tell you now: there won’t be a doctor for you to complain to.