Wow what a great question. Hmm. I think what has surprised me the most was probably the amount of paperwork we have to do, and because the NHS is so vast it can sometimes feel like you’re just a cog in a massive wheel and that it will be impossible to change things. That can be frustrating, especially if you went into Medicine as one of the top of your year group, quite used to getting on with things! When you start at medical school you are almost like the bottom rung of a ladder and it’s many years for you to work your way up, and I didn’t quite realise how true that was!
Having said that, I don’t think I realised until I graduated just how much you feel like one big family – we are all in it together, from nurses to doctors to porters to lab staff to GP receptionists. We all want the best for our patients and we will fiercely stand up for patients if needed. You will feel incredibly proud even when the hours are long and you’re tired and stressed.
I also wish someone had told me before that looking after yourself is important. When you’re dealing with stressful situations it can sometimes be hard to separate work from home life, so it’s important to have ways of relaxing and unwinding. Otherwise you’ll simply burnout and not be able to do anything! I love walking my dog and binge-watching trash TV on Netflix, and it keeps me from being constantly worried about work!