First week of being a doctor

I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.


– Are you Jasmine? No, Tenelle? No, Daniel? Ahhh, Anastasia.

– Here, have a cookie, dear, you look pekish.

– You can’t talk to me, I’m not even here! I’m on morning tea!

– Poor new doctors. They look like little lost puppies.

– You are so pretty and stylish. You must be from Melbourne.

– Can you re-chart Mr Smith’s meds ASAP? No, the next dose is not due for another 3 hrs. Yes, it’s still urgent.

– Yes, I can fax this for you. Yes, I will do the ECG. Yes, I will pass it on to the nurse who is looking after your patient. Yes, I will find the chart that you were carrying around and lost somewhere in the ward. No, I don’t do bloods.


– Hello, Mr Wendell. I’m one of the doctors who will be looking after you. Yes, all  female doctors in this hospital are attractive. It’s one of the application criteria.

– Mrs Smith, I’m going to put you on high flow oxygen to help with your breathing. Yes, I know you are feeling just fine but I just saw your blood gas. Your blood oxygen level is incompatible with life.

– Now let’s not be naughty, Mr Brown. You cannot put your hand on my knee while I’m flushing your drip.

– (inserting a cannula) Mr Randall, look out the window. Blue sky and sunshine are so invigorating, arent they?

– (inserting a cannula) Mrs Clayton, look out the window. The torrential rain is so soothing, isn’t it?

– (inserting a cannula) I’m sorry, Mr Randall, your veins are being a little tricky today. Not to worry, we will have another go. I think I saw a vein on your foot that looked promising. No, I’m not turning you into my pin-cushion, you naughty man.

– Do you know where you are, Mrs Forrester? The bowling club? Not quite. Do you know what year it is? 1986? No, we are a bit past that. May? You are way ahead of us, it’s still January.  I think you should just go back to your bed and have a nice little nap. Now if I can only remember what ward you are in…

The most time wasted:

– Um, how come this discharge summary doesn’t print? I’m hitting the print button. The other print button? Ok, what does this mean? Click draft? Not draft? Oh draft here, but not there? I think it’s coming out. Oh no, that’s the wrong one. How did that happen? Um, thanks you’ve been great help.

– What’s the name of this printer? Pin-jko-fjr9? Cool, thanks

– What’s the code for the doctors’ room? 02938#? Cool, thanks.

– What’s the code for this drug room? 94847#? Cool, thanks

– Does anybody know the code for this coffee machine?

– Excuse me, where can I find blood tubes? Tongue depressors? A flashlight?   Blood culture bottles? Imaging request form? The OTHER imaging request form?

– I can’t log onto to my computer.  I can’t log onto the patient system. I can’t log on to the radiology system. I can’t log onto the pathology system.  What do you mean, I can log on to check my emails?


– Hi, I need an add-on to the morning blood test. Sure, I can drop everything and run the request up to the second floor.

– Hi, I need to order a blood test. So I order online but you don’t get it online? You need a hard copy which you will personally enter into your separate data system? And there is no human error involved? Awesome.

– Hi, I have ordered a blood test. Will it be collected? The collectors are gone? Sure, I would love to stick this old lady with the needle, this paperwork is driving me mental.

– Hi, I’m sorry I know I asked you this before but I’m chasing a result for Mrs Smith. I’m sorry, my boss is hassling me. When will it be ready? Is it ok if I call in 30 mins? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be annoying. It’s ready? Thank you. I’m sorry. Thank you.

– Hi, I need an ultrasound on Mr Smith. Is it possible to get it done this afternoon? Really? What about a CT on Mr Brown? Cool. How about an MRI on Mr Collins? Yeah ok, I know I am pushing it.

Getting paged:

– Can you chart something for Mr Brown’s pain?

– Mr Smith is short of breath, can you come and see him?

– Mrs Lee has a temperature of 40, can you come and see her?

– Mr Clark is having chest pain, can you come and see him?

– Mrs Lang has a potassium of 2, can you come and see her?

– Mr Williams’s stool is really black, can you come and see him?

– Mrs Drake has passed away, can you come and see her?

– Mrs Wood is going home now. Is her discharge ready? What about Mr Williams? Mrs Nguyen? Mrs Tang? Is ANYBODY’s discharge ready?

– Can you talk to the patient’s family? The patient’s priest? The patient’s lover wants to talk to you separately from the patient’s wife?

– Can you insert a cannula? Or ten?

– Mrs Carmody’s sugar is 33mmols. Of course she had toast and margarine, and marmalade, and cornflakes, and skim milk, and apple juice for breakfast. It’s a standard diabetic diet.

Room 7. Certifying the death of Mrs Drake. Sitting down next to her bed is a luxury I cannot miss. I listen for her breath and heart sounds for way longer than the necessary one minute. For the first time today it’s very quiet. I close my eyes and keep listening. The pager beeps and gives me a jolt. Goodbye Mrs Drake. I have to go and see a patient.


17 thoughts on “First week of being a doctor

  1. Loved these, they made me laugh and think of today when I was telling a woman patient that “I promise I won’t let you leave the office with that giant needle poking out of the top of your head!” I work for an acupuncturist and believe it or not that is a common place for a needle to be. Soldier on!

  2. What an amazing picture of the beginning of this grand adventure. Thank you for taking the time to give it to us! (I ALWAYS look out the window).

  3. YOU’RE a doctor??

    I want to see a real doctor?

    I have underwear older than you.

    What’s your name again?

  4. Great post. Any one working as a clinician in a general hospital reading this will be smiling. Strange how quickly it becomes addictive despite all the stress.

  5. Thanks for sharing……I’m sure it will all become routine before too long.

    “The patient’s lover wants to talk to you separately from the patient’s wife?”

    Really? Silly me thought that only happens on the latest episode of House. Priceless!

  6. Thank you all. It’s a steep learning curve but I’m excited. I’ll try to catch up with you and blogging as soon as I come up for some air.

  7. Oh my, brings back memories of my clinical internships as an occupational therapist in a busy, intercity teaching hospital. What I learned on day one: Be VERY nice to the nurses. They can make your experience great or very miserable. They really run the show. Bring them chocolate, LOTS of chocolate (forget primal for once! Trust me!).

    PS, when do you come up for air? I think it’s going to be a few years. Post when you can, hang in there!

  8. “- Mrs Carmody’s sugar is 33mmols. Of course she had toast and margarine, and marmalade, and cornflakes, and skim milk, and apple juice for breakfast. It’s a standard diabetic diet.”

    Must be hard to witness that and not be able to do anything about it.

    • Sue, I feel like dumping that breakfast tray in the rubbish bin. In the meantime I advise people to have relatives bring food from home (not chocolates and treats though).

  9. Just stumbled in from over at Eat. Sleep. Move. Awesome blog!
    As an ex RN, my heart goes out to all junior doctors! I’ve tortured my fair share I’m sure. Your post reminded me why I couldn’t go back to the hospital. I’d be feeding all the patients bacon and eggs and neglecting the 0800 meds!

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