It’s around this time of year that F2s start to really consider what they plan to do after F2. This is also the time in the year when specialty applications are submitted. Those that are lucky enough to have known exactly what they wanted to do since they were 12 don’t have any difficulties with choosing and applying for their specialties. For me, it’s never been that clear.
There were specialties that were a No from the get-go. There were specialties that I felt more drawn to like paediatrics but upon completing a placement I’d realise that they weren’t for me. So, by a process of elimination, I subconsciously and consciously whittled it down to a few options. A&E being one of the few, which is fortunate as I have this placement coming up.
To be honest, it’s beginning to feel like I’ve been holding out for A&E, like a sort of saving grace. I’m hoping for that eureka moment, the dawning realisation that I’ve found what I want from life, that missing puzzle piece that will sustain me until retirement. Obviously, the clouds will part, allowing a beam of sunshine to hit me like a spotlight. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think I’ll do the placement, I may even enjoy certain aspects of it, but eventually the mounting exhaustion of irregular shift patterns, manoeuvring the complicated bureaucracy of the four hour wait plus the incoming strain that winter always seems to surprise us with, will eventually tire me. I might be wrong. I’m just sceptical that any joy will be enough to squash the growing level of doubt and cynicism.
But now I’m at a crossroad and a decision needs to be made. Do I put an application forward or do I sit on my hands, allow the deadline to pass and ultimately choose to not go onto a training programme? A few people have suggested another option, option C, to put in an application, experience the process and then back out. I’m not keen on that idea.
I doubt I’ll be applying for specialty training as it stands, A&E or otherwise. And though initially that made me feel slightly nervous, attending the ACW 2017 event this past weekend has put me in a different headspace. Speaking to a whole range of medics who were experiencing varying levels of frustration was intense but it was also refreshing to listen to doctors who had created new careers for themselves.
Which makes me feel really hopeful for life after F2. The realisation that if I choose to not apply then I can pretty much do what I want. It sounds a lot like Freedom.