Black Wednesday is nearly here. It’s the first Wednesday of August when doctors throughout the UK start their new jobs. Supposedly, this influx of inexperienced doctors leads to a 6% increase in patient deaths in August… This past week, most of us incoming FY1 junior doctors have had various training events, seminars, shadowing sessions to ease us in to how the hospital works - hopefully this additional training will help when 1st August comes around and we start life on the wards for real.

Anyway, during our induction period (and indeed, over the past 3 years) we’ve had the chance to speak to lots of current junior doctors. And because I’m a big fan of collecting life advice, I make it a point to ask them for tips for starting life as a doctor.

There was one doctor I was shadowing on the Cardiology ward. In between teaching me about the various keyboard shortcuts on the hospital computer system, he made a throwaway comment about junior doctor life that stuck with me.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s really not that bad.

This is the same advice I give to medicine applicants when they ask about what medical school is really like. Or when I speak to GCSE students concerned about the ‘jump’ to A-level and how hard it’s going to be.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s really not that bad.

Everyone loves to low-key brag about how hard their lives are, how they’re constantly stressed and busy. This is doubly true in Medicine, where the application, the 6 years of university, and subsequent lifelong career as a doctor gets hailed as the hardest thing anyone can ever do. This leads to profound anxiety amongst applicants and students about whether they’d be ‘good enough’ to ‘cope with the pressures’ of a medical degree and career.

I don’t yet know how hard life as a junior doctor is going to be. But throughout my time in secondary school, I’d been fed the hype about how hard medical school would be, and it really wasn’t that bad. It was pretty chill and enjoyable really, for the most part.

I guess I’ll find out the truth across the next few weeks. But in the meantime (and this is probably applicable to many others domains), I think it’ll be helpful to approach this new chapter of my life with the mindset of ‘I can do this’ rather than that of ‘this is going to be so tough’.

I’ll let you know how it goes :)

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