As I almost finish my 6 month rotation in stroke, I start to reflect upon my time there. It has definitely been a whirlwind experience…but needless to say I did learn a lot, on a clinical level and on a personal level.
One of the jobs junior doctors are required to do are discharge letters, where we write a summary of a patient’s admission, on the day we send them home. For some reason, everybody gets so worked up about them. One day when I walked onto the ward, not two seconds into washing my hands at the entrance, did the ward clerk ask me..
‘Has the eDAN been done?’ (aka electronic discharge summary)
I replied politely and informed her that I’ll do it today. The patient was going home in the afternoon, so I had time to do a ward round and see some sick patients I was alerted off overnight (which was MY priority). After washing my hands, I join the ‘safety-bundle’ meeting with the nurses, where one of them asked me the same question. I just gave her the same answer (so that’s two people in 15 minutes). Halfway through the morning, after seeing the patients I wanted to review, I wrote my letter. As I was about to make my way to let the nurse know that I’d done it, she came up to me to ask if it was done, to which I replied yes (that’s three people, and I thought that would be it).
After lunch, an occupational therapist asked me if the letter was done. I was somewhat baffled at this, because number one, I hadn’t realised that they are involved in the discharge letter, they don’t write them and they don’t sort out the medications. Number two-I already did it! And told someone that I did it! I was getting frustrated inside and I replied ‘yep’, and that was it. That was 4 people. You would think that would be the end of it (well actually you would that would be it after I told the nurse before lunch) but believe it or not, I was approached by the discharge coordinator, asking if it had been done. Are you kidding me?? I felt myself about to lose my temper, at something so trivial. I think I said something along the lines of ‘it’s been done’, and I walked out of the office.
FIVE people came up to me, all demanding the same thing. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that there’s no trust in the organisation. If working on this ward for 6 months hadn’t earned their trust, what did? The CEO of the cosmetics company LUSH, Mark Constantine, came up with a wishlist for his employees, where they can request one thing from him. One employee asked if he could pay for their wedding in Italy…and he did.
You can trust your employees to work for you, recognise how hard they work and reward them. No I’m not requesting a wedding in Italy! But to have that level of trust in a company, or any sort of organisation is invaluable, yet at the same time you feel valued. That day I felt undervalued more so (which is unfortunately not uncommon for junior doctors). In my previous rotation, I was a victim of bullying…where for the first time I raised this sort of issue with senior colleagues. It’s all sorted out now (and according to my trainers, the department was genuinely terrified of me afterwards!). Following another similar incident in this rotation, I didn’t raise it until much later (because though it was really bad, when comparing to the first incident, it wasn’t that bad…if that makes any sense?!).
I’ve started to believe that if you can love yourself and cherish yourself, give yourself some sort of worth, you don’t allow people to treat you in any other way, except in a way that is loving and healthy. I realised that in the future, if I was to start some sort of organisation, I would only have people who I would want to be my bosses, work with me. We would keep the trust, because how else can you work in harmony?