Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Update: no-one cares

When retaking the year, you're told so many times that retaking isn't the end of the world. You're told that some famous Professor failed a year of med school, that a lovely GP they know failed a year of med school and look at them now, and so on.
None of that tallies with the sense of shame you feel as a student. As high-achieving, goal-focussed students, failing is seen as the worst possible outcome, and leads to some of us concealing this fact, withdrawing from our peers, and generally not getting as much support as we could be when struggling with an undeniably difficult and intensive course.

Partly to make my life easier, and partly to help break this stigma, I was very open as a medical student about failing and needing to re-take Final Year.

As a Doctor, I have chosen not to openly disclose this immediately. I did not know how my colleagues would react, and wanted to make a good impression.
(As it happens I did almost immediately tell a fellow KCL graduate, as well as tearfully telling my fellow ward F1 during a stressful moment in the first week! Neither of these people have acted any differently toward me.)

I disclosed my resitter status on my Transfer of Information form, which went to the Deanery/Hospital, but was not called in for any special meetings.
I told my Educational Supervisor, who said jovially "we forgive your past mistakes" or something along those lines, and never mentioned it again.

Recently, about 7 months in, I told my Clinical Supervisor, who simply said "well no-one would guess that" which was reassurring that I am doing well!

Finally I ended up telling someone that I didn't particularly want to- a Doctor who had been my F2 during my first round of Final Year. I knew if she saw me as an F1 she would realise the maths didn't add up... I confess I didn't rush over to say hello, knowing I would out myself pretty quickly. Eventually I ended up eating lunch with her, and that's exactly what happened- she asked if I was an F2 and then asked if I'd had a year out, so I explained I'd had to retake the year:
"Oh" she said.
"That's annoying that you had to retake the whole year rather than just the exams."
Then we talked about what she was doing.

It's been 8 months now and I can honestly say retaking the year has NO EFFECT on how people react to me in my career. They judge me on my performance now. That is all.
Maybe medical students can take an example from this and be nicer to their struggling colleagues... And resitters can stop beating themselves up!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

GMC review into Doctor's suicides whilst under investigation.

The GMC review into Doctor's suicides whilst under investigation reveals that 28 doctors committed suicide whilst undergoing fitness to practice procedures between 2005-2013.

Being investigated must be awful. Worrying about the outcome must be immensely stressful. But we are good at imagining the worst that can happen, when there's every chance it won't. Even if it did, you can rebuild your life, and you don't have to do it alone.

Doctors need Doctors too. Doctors are human, they need support.

If anyone reading this blog- Doctor, Medical Student, Anyone else, needs help- please, PLEASE ask for it. Let someone know.
Call a friend.
Speak to a loved one.
See your GP.
Talk to someone at your Uni or Work.
Use the BMA free counselling service.
Contact the Doctors Support Network.
Call the Samaritans.
Email me.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

My list of all the best, FREE, medical revision websites

Listed: General revision, radiology, cardiology, anatomy and surgery, dermatology, rheumatology, haematology, psychiatry, statistics, death certification, pharmacology, NEWS 

General revision: 



Anatomy and surgery:






Death certification:


National Early Warning Score (e-learning module):

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


My induction is finished, my shadowing is finished, I have a nice shiny ID badge with my photo on it (and one that says #hellomynameis) and tomorrow I officially start as an FY1. I'm nervous, but excited, and I'm so glad to finally be here! It's still exciting when people refer to me as "Doctor" :-)

Now sadly, with this... I say goodbye.  This blog has been great to chart my med school progress, to discuss my ups and downs, but now I'd like to leave that behind and have a fresh new start. I might post back here in regards to med student matters, but ultimately it's finished here.

I would like to continue writing in the future, and I'm still thinking about how. In line with GMC advice I'd write under my real name so I wouldn't link to it here. I'm sure I'll blog again, and maybe some of you will even find me.

Thanks for reading, and the comments, and those of you who have emailed me. I will still get back to you if you need advice. Don't forget that it's okay not to be perfect in medical school, to ask for help if you're struggling and not be ashamed- medical school is life, and life has it's ups and downs.

Lots of love,

(Dr.) Kingsmedstudent

Friday, 1 August 2014

Contact me

I reply to every email I receive so if you don't get a reply, check your spam folder!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Anticlimax and Refocus

I have to admit that after all the waiting, all the tension, all the worry and all the TIME; getting my result yesterday was a little anticlimactic.

I don't know why KCL make us wait so long. I had two weeks after my OSCE to wait for the dreaded Part B list, and after that two more weeks of hoping I hadn't now screwed up the writtens somehow.
(I spoke about this to the Head of the Exam Board who I saw on campus yesterday. There's a few good reasons for changing it in my opinion: including giving people more time to move and plan based on a strong probability of passing, and not leaving some people to be shocked by bad news of the writtens on Results day. I think it would make us students happier in this final time at KCL.)

Weirdly I was more energetically excited on Part B list day than I was yesterday- perhaps that's because that list was what I was dreading, or that's when the relief hit me. I was sobbing with happiness that day, whereas yesterday was just a happy sigh.

Something that I didn't realise would affect me was seeing the variety of amazing people who had gone on to win awards and get brilliant scores and so on! We had a little resitter event yesterday where it was announced who got the best exam scores and so on, and who out of us would have qualified for merits/distinctions (sadly my friends don't actually get them as resitter marks are capped).
I even found someone who beat my SJT score(!) of which I'm very proud, so that was a little annoying ;-)
It doesn't take away what I've done, but it didn't sit well with my competitive side (which I think most medics have) to have all these comparisons on the day of celebration!

I guess when having to do the year again, it was almost an ego-saving thing to think "oh I'll do REALLY well next time". People have even said to me things this year like "Oh you'll know everything now" or that I'll be the most prepared.
While I do feel awesomely prepared in myself now, this year has just been a year to get back to the right level. I had to work to fix gaps, and that what this year was needed for- it wasn't here to help me overachieve.

One thing I am really proud of doing this year is using my resitter experience to help others. I've blogged partly to show that failing in medicine is okay and something you can cope with. I've tried to use my experiences to help; by being there for my friends, by talking about my SJT experience, by meeting with the people on Part B this year and helping with the mock we ran for them. It was so gratifying to see so many people from the Part B mock having happily passed yesterday- and I intend to be around for those who sadly didn't make it, in the year to come.

Coming home and seeing my boyfriend last night helped me focus back on what's important to me right now.
I have achieved a goal that has been 7 years in the making, and challenged me greatly, but I've managed it.
I've secured my future, with a good degree under my belt and my top choice job lined up. I did what I wanted to do... It may have taken me a bit longer, and I haven't stood out academically, but I did it, and I get to enjoy that now! :)

Monday, 23 June 2014

I did it!

It's taken me seven years, but I finally did it.

As of today, you can call me Dr KingsMedStudent MBBS BSc DHMSA AKC!!

I'm so happy, and so relieved. I did it!

I'm also just so tired and burnt out from the tension right now. I kinda want to spend my first minutes of Doctorhood having a nap... But off out for champagne it is :-D

I have celebrated by ordering myself a shiny new #hellomynameis badge with proceeds going to Yorkshire Cancer Trust :-D