Saturday, 8 September 2007

Someone ate my chocolates

Contrary to what you've heard in the papers, there are loads of jobs for doctors. LOADS. I was lucky enough to see the job allocation process in the flesh. In the canteen.

Big boss consultant: "So, you're working here next month?"
Junior doctor: "No, I'm a locum"
Big boss: "No-one passed on the message that we wanted you to apply for the permanent post? You were a shoe-in."
Junior: {silence}
Big boss: "So do you have any friends that might be interested in the job?"
Junior: {dark clouds of despair make response inaudible}

This kind of thing isn't good for morale. I almost lost my appetite at the sight of a doctor's career being derailed next to the coffee shop. I had to keep eating, though, because the junior doctor's body needs near-constant energy intake. The perpetual stress of not being very good at your job burns up calories surprisingly fast. So when a patient brings in a box of Quality Street to say thank you, it's not a meaningless gesture. It's literally a lifesaver.

The Big boss making job offers in the cafeteria thinks otherwise - he says we need gratitude in writing, to the chief executive, thanking the hospital for the good care the team's provided. This "balances out the complaints". Is there a complex equation, or does one thank-you letter cancel out one complaint? We must be told.

I admit it's nice reading the letters on the ward noticeboard. You don't often get a pat on the back for doing your job, just a sharp telling off when you forget something. But it does make you realise how patients value totally different things to doctors.

No-one's written "Thank you for the inventive antibiotic regimen that saved my life despite my multiple allergies." That's the kind of thing that would make my colleagues glow with pride. What people actually write ("Thank you for your kindness") actually reflects more on the nursing care, and makes doctors feel small because it's something that requires 0 years of medical training.

So, whilst I wait for the first compliment on a job well done, I'm going to the canteen. For a coffee and a job interview.


steph said...

Aaah! It's such a hard life being a lowly worm (are you a Richard Scarry fan too?). Don't worry - I'm sure someone will give you a box of 'Heroes' soon!

HospitalPhoenix said...

I am a worm of humble means, I live in a hole and eat baked beans..?

HospitalPhoenix said...

Shit, I can't believe I remember that book. let me see...

Beans for supper and beans for tea, that's all we get my tail and me. So it's beans for supper and off to bed. Goodnight said tail, goodnight I said. But in the morning, surprise surprise, we could hardly believe our eyes. There was a letter addressed to me, open it quickly, what could it be?

Steph said...

HP - I'm so impressed!

Love to hear more. What was in the frigging letter anyway?

Jeanie said...

Do you know the name of this book. I am trying to get a copy of it.... the letter said they had inherited a can of baked beans

Jo said...

The book is by Roger Hargreeves, I am a supply teacher, I often use it in schools. It's called 'Once upon a worm' - it's a classic!

Plexia Brown said...

ARGH! HospitalPhoenix! That worm book!Sometimes when I'm drunk I recite that book from beginning to end in exchange for pints and attention.