Black Wednesday

Thinking of getting ill tomorrow, or having some sort of accident? Well my advice is don’t. It’s Black Wednesday, and all right thinking people should avoid hospital like, well, like the plague. The reason is that on this, the day most feared by patients, nurses and senior doctors alike, all junior doctors change jobs. All of them. On the same day. Imagine if the entire staff at your work all started on the same day, and had to work out to make the company run. This is quite literally what happens. Nobody has any idea what they are doing. And there’s nobody else to ask.

We roll up to hospital, all shiny and nervous, clutching our stethescopes in a somewhat sweaty grip. We try to remember to wear smart clothes, and nothing below our elbows, and put on our best “Trust me, I’m a doctor” smiles. But underneath this exterior we are all pretty much shitting ourselves. And by the end of the day, it’s likely that our shiny new shoes will have at least one body effluent on them. And it might be our own.

Some of us will have had a cursory “induction session”. This involves being fed ridiculous amounts of information about your new hospitals and it’s policies, and being harangued about the amount of money your hospital owes, and being told only to order tests that are absolutely necessary. All of which you forget as soon as you turn up at your ward, and you have no idea what you’re doing. And you blindly order a battery of tests on the patients, in the hope that one will come back and give the magic answer. Which almost never happens.

Induction also involves learning how to use the IT systems. All of which are archaic and out of date, and were ordered 20 years ago, when the hospital was trying to lamely catch up with the modern world. No two hospitals have the same IT system, or database, and therefore no patient information can be shared between hospitals. And every year it takes you most of that year to learn the idiosyncracies of whatever clunky, continually crashing system, that some IT manager installed in the 90s. And then promptly (and rightly) left to fend for itself, as he decided life is much easier if you just raise chickens and collect blackberries from bramble bushes.

Anyway, I digress. The most important part of induction (other than learning the fire escape routes and the location of the loo) is to check out your colleagues. These 30 or so guys and girls are going to be your lifeline. They are your brother, your sister, your best friend, your counsellor, your drinking buddy, and your cardiac arrest partner. Without them, you are nothing. Also, there’s always the very slim chance that some of them might be hot (unlikely). And unmarried (even less likely). So, if this was Holby City, they might end up being a lot more. But it isn’t, and they won’t. And believe me, once you’ve seen them chewing on a cold piece of toast, at the end of a night shift, covered in human faeces, that whole ‘sexy doctor’ schtick goes right out the window.

Anyway, the moral of this story is STAY AWAY FROM HOSPITAL TOMORROW. It’s for your own good.

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