The Blackest Wednesday ever?
The first Wednesday in August is known in the UK medical world as Black Wednesday. This is the day that normally all newly minted medical students start their first official day working in their new careers. It is also the day that existing junior doctors (that meaning any doctor, not a consultant) may rotate into a new specialty or department or even hospital.
It is a lot of change that clearly needs planning and consideration. My own first day is recounted in my own version of Black Wednesday.
To support the new crop of medics joining the fold (and likely to help ease the lives of the other staff like nurses, ward clerks, porters and more), there is the annual #TipsForNewDocs hashtag which was expertly (and comically) listed by Dr Mike Farquhar last year here.
But this year is different.
The global COVID19 pandemic has seen a seismic shift in how the health service operates with many working in new ways, with NHS staff going the extra mile over and over again, and with many medical students already drafted in to support their local areas.
Additionally, in April, many doctors on training programmes would have rotated into new roles or areas, but this did not happen. Many had to continue in existing roles to reduce the disruption at the height of our pandemic.
So what does this mean for Black Wednesday?
What does it mean for those who are now changing their roles?
What does it mean for the new draft of doctors who may have already started in some areas?
“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power--Green Lantern’s light!”
The above quote is the Green Lanterns oath, a group of superheros from DC (Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman etc NOT the Avengers) who use the power of will to do amazing things.
Is this not what has happened in our NHS?
With the power of will, determination, and dedication our NHS staff have kept the country moving, with updates, policy changes, and the quickest modernisation of services in history we continue to provide care despite the challenges and the darkness.
And our trainees have joined us.
Many showed amazing drive and will with new methods of consulting (online, telephone and video), keeping up to date with the tsunami of updates. I know my own trainees have been invaluable to our practice over this crazy time.
To help further, I have offered my tips with a tech flair as #TechTipsForNewDocs. Have a look below for tech tips on communication, med tech, apps, wellbeing and learning.
However, our new peers walk into a new digital NHS striving to cope with unrelenting demand, top-down confusing guidance often based on a whim rather than substance, new methods of consulting and the prospect of the most challenging winter period the NHS has ever faced.
Will this be the blackest Wednesday ever?
I do not think so.
I hope many find their new roles supportive and understanding of the change.
I do not doubt the annual confusion off which patients can be admitted, do I write ‘GP to…..’ in the discharge notes (NEVER DO THIS!), and questions on what is AccuRx will prevail.
But for many these are teething steps that will become strides as we all move forward. Maybe a new oath is needed, one for our NHS?
“On Blackest Wednesday, I will start the day right
I will not cower, or give in to fright!
Nor doubt my skills even into the night,
Shine stong and bright, with a doctor’s light.“
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