TV Series Review #1: Junior Doctors

A brief review of this series, and how it provided me with an insight into life as a doctor.

March 2021
Iqra Ali (Blogger)

At a glance…

This series was set pre-COVID-19 and followed the lives of 6 newly qualified doctors either in their Foundation Year 1 or 2 of training. Undergoing different placements, they discuss their experiences of what life is like as a newly qualified doctor.

What did I think of the series?

This series was great for understanding that being a doctor is like being on a rollercoaster! It has its highs, such as being able to solve a problem and having a senior registrar or consultant acknowledge your efforts in saving a patient’s life, but also some lows, such as facing the harsh reality of not being able to save everyone despite giving it your all, which junior doctor Tom sadly had to face.

Favourite Moment?

My favourite moment was probably when Zohaib was in the geriatric ward and his consultant was able to accommodate the patient by speaking Italian which was her first language. This showed me that being a doctor is all about making the patient comfortable - especially when dealing with the elderly population which can be difficult as often they cannot be cured or the costs of undergoing further medical interventions can outweigh the benefits.

Things Learnt About a Doctor’s Life?

1.    Doctors work crazy shifts as a junior!

12 and a half hours is a LONG time… and it is admirable how they are able to cope with the demands of this shift, especially if it is during the night. It is also interesting to note that many juniors say that time flies by with the many tasks they have to complete.

2.    Doctors NEVER stop learning.

Junior doctors have to do a case study presentation during their rotations, which is presented in front of other junior doctors and consultants. They are given feedback, and are encouraged to reflect on this, and make changes in the future in order to enhance their skills.

3.    Although medical school gives you the theory, you learn most things on the job.

The experiences witnessed once you are the doctor is very different from being a medical student, such as the bleep always buzzing, certifying deaths and dealing with prison patients! Most textbooks do not provide you with the skills learnt in these uncertain moments, which naturally only come with experience.

4.    There are different paths to get into medicine.

FY1 Nick achieved a place at medical school on his 4th attempt, highlighting his hard work and dedication to get into medicine. It is important to acknowledge that sometimes, things do not go as planned. Some people get in straight away, some people take a gap year, or some people (like myself) decide to do a degree in something else before applying to medicine. There is no right or wrong way. If you aspire to become a doctor, and you are motivated and diligent, I urge you to strive to achieve that goal even if it involves taking a long-winded route to do so.

5.    Resting is key!

When off work, doctors should unwind and do something they enjoy. For example, Sofia enjoyed badminton and socialising with her medical school friends, while Howra enjoyed football with her fellow staff at the hospital. By taking a break you are more likely to go back to work refreshed and alert.

6.    It is okay to be uncertain about your future in your career.

Luke working in ears, nose and throat (ENT) found that he was unsure of what speciality he wanted to go into, which lead to him undertake more experiences at the end of his foundation years. This is perfectly okay! Medicine can be quite flexible this way to allow people to understand what they would truly like to pursue.

Final Thoughts?

It was enjoyable to watch the programme as it covered a range of different specialities and doctors of different backgrounds, as well as seeing them working in a team environment. It is good to watch episodes like these as although the current pandemic has meant hospitals and doctors have had to adapt and function slightly differently, at some point we will return to some normality. In addition to this, some of the key aspects of the life of a doctor, that I outlined above, will still ring true regardless of whether we are facing a pandemic or not, and therefore should be considered when choosing whether this a career suited to you.

I would highly recommend you to check out this series over the next 6 months whilst it is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer!

Author: Iqra Ali

Editor: Allegra Wisking

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