I’ve been on an ‘anaesthetics taster week’ this week. That means I get to spend 5 days shadowing doctors within the anaesthetics department, getting involved, trying to get an idea of what the speciality is like.

On each day, I’ve had chance encounters with other doctors that have been enormously helpful.

On Monday, I turned up and introduced myself to a random registrar who was keen to have me in theatre to teach me stuff. After a day with her, she suggested a few different consultants I should try to hang out with for the rest of the week. On Tuesday, I spent the morning with an amazing consultant from abroad who regaled me with inspiring tales of Intensive Care Medicine from different countries.

On Wednesday I spent the day with the consultant in charge of the Anaesthetics training programme, and got some solid insider information about applying to the speciality, while at the same time learning how to anaesthetise and intubate children. On Thursday I hung out with another consultant who seemed nice, we got chatting, turns out he’s into coding and education, and he made an app while in medical school in 2002 (way before it was cool to make apps). He also turned out to have an insider position in the Royal College of Anaesthetists and we’re hoping to work together on a video collaboration.

I could have approached the taster week with a ‘meh’ attitude, treating it as 5 days off work where I can chill and do whatever I want. Instead, even though I didn’t initially feel like it, I forced myself to show up, to be enthusiastic and warm, and to actively engage with the doctors I was shadowing. Whether or not I end up choosing anaesthetics as a speciality, I’ll always be glad for the insight and inspiration I got over the past few days.

There are plenty of other examples in my life where good things have happened purely by chance, by just showing up and being enthusiastic.