I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’d narrowed down my options to a very select few, A&E being the frontrunner. Essentially the only runner, because when it comes to the two other options my feelings to them are at best lukewarm.

And for a while now, I’ve felt like my path in medicine rests on whether or not I’ll enjoy A&E. So much so, that since the fourth year of medicine, I’d been trying to arrange a placement in the emergency department. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

When the time came around to apply for foundation jobs, I made it a priority to have a placement in A&E. How it works is that I had an option of 10 ‘tracks’ to choose from. Each track was made up of 6 different placements: a mix of surgical, medical placements with the odd psychiatry, paediatrics and other specialties thrown in. 3 placements for F1 and 3 for F2. Not all the training tracks had A&E but I sought out the ones that did and ranked them highly. I still had to rank all the other tracks in order of preference which was a game in itself. I had a list of ones I wanted to avoid. Vascular surgery, for example, dropped to the bottom of the list like a dead weight.

I did this with the hope that A&E would be for me, and I would live happily ever after. Or at least till the point I became too exhausted with it and then became a GP who occasionally dipped their toe in the ED department whenever the mood struck. That was my plan.

So now that it’s drawing closer, it’s starting to feel really real. I’ve built up a level of expectation over the years and now it’s nearly here, all of a sudden I don’t feel ready. It’s like I’m edging towards a big realisation which might be hard to swallow. I flip between excitement and fear. No in-between. Just a light switch, from one to the other.

It doesn’t help that my friends that have been on A&E for the past 4 months never fail to tell me how fed up they are of the random shift patterns or how tired they always seem to be. Or when other colleagues retell how horrific an experience it was for them when they did it. Or the fact that I’ll be heading in at the worst time of the year: winter.

Whatever happens, it’ll definitely give me a lot to write about.

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