Money On My Mind

My last placement was unbanded. No long days, no weekends and no nights meant more free time but less money. I started F1 on a rotation where I was on the on call rota and so moving from my first placement to my second placement meant I saw a huge drop in my income. As a result, I spent less. I shopped less and I kept my canteen lunches to a minimum. I didn’t cut back completely though because I started some art classes (I wanted to put all my free time to good use). But even with all the cutting back I realised by the time the next pay day arrived, I’d spent nearly all of the month’s salary.

I could have stopped the standing order I had to my savings account which was roughly 15% off my monthly income. The thought didn’t occur to me at the time, but I doubt I would have done it. I love saving. It makes me feel like I’m in control. At this point I don’t know whether it’s my rainy-day fund or whether it’s for a crazy gap year, I haven’t made up my mind. Whatever it is, it gives me options.

I don’t think I’d have been able to save as much if I’d moved out. Though, when people learn that I live at home, they’re always quick to assume that I’m saving loads more money. I imagine they must think I’m sitting on a growing pile of cash on the basis that I must not have to pay for anything. The truth is yes, I am saving money, but I’ve also got responsibilities that take a huge chunk of my salary. Initially it made me, not resentful but slightly envious of others who could actually live at home and didn’t have to pay for anything. But now I’m grateful that I can afford to help. I don’t try to explain my situation when people ask, I don’t feel like I really want to.

Not to mention the F1 salary isn’t great. The £500 drop from my first job to my second one was a little saddening. I don’t know how the other F1s managed with the drop. When people say don’t do medicine for the money, those four months were a great example of cutting back to pay for the necessary.

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Telephone Consultation

I had a telephone consultation with my GP recently. At one point during the conversation, she started explaining something in lay terms i.e. no medical jargon. She did it really well, if I wasn’t medically trained, I would have understood everything she was saying. Whilst she was talking I wondered whether I should let on that I was a medic as well so she that she wouldn’t need to make as much of an effort, but I didn’t.

I thought it’d make the situation awkward and I didn’t want to throw her off. If she’d known she was speaking to someone like me before she dialled my number, she probably would have communicated accordingly. I don’t know much about this GP so it’s possible she may not have even batted an eyelid. A few of my colleagues have been in situations where they’ve had to put in cannulas in consultants (who’ve been patients) and it’s made them extremely nervous. I can imagine feeling the same. It would feel like you’re being tested on your ability to perform, like being in an OSCE situation but instead of doing it on a dummy, you’re being asked to do it on the examiner. No pressure.

I also didn’t want judgement. I can imagine patients might feel like they’re being told off if they smoke or if they’re overweight. Now, I’m the one seeking someone else’s insight and following their instructions. I didn’t want her to think ‘you should know this, you’re a doctor’.

Once, I was speaking to a patient’s daughter and I was explaining the blood test result. I was trying to do it in really simple terms and half way through she told me she was a nurse. It threw me a bit. I felt slightly embarrassed like I’d been caught patronising her which wasn’t what I intended. I just assumed, like most of the people I come across, that they would have minimal medical knowledge.

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