Being a doctor is one of the most rewarding careers there is, but it's also one of the most challenging. The first year after finishing college is a huge shock to most people because you are thrown in at the deep end and you have to learn to swim quickly or you'll sink. Many people struggle to make it through and they don't continue with their careers because they can't handle the stress. However, if you are prepared and you approach it in the right way, you can make your first year a huge success. Here are a few tips to help you make it through your first year as a doctor.
Be Sure About Your Decision
Being a doctor is a huge challenge and some people just aren't the right fit. So, before you start your first year, think carefully about your decision and whether this is really the career you want. Just because you have done a medical degree, that doesn't mean you automatically have to be a doctor. In fact, a lot of people decide during their degree that this isn't the career they want. That's absolutely fine and there are plenty of other things you can do with your degree instead. If you go into a career as a doctor when it's not really right for you, it's going to be a real struggle.
Find The Right Area To Work In
Before you start your first year, it's important that you do some research into the different areas of medicine. You may hear friends or family say that this or that area is better than another, but don't listen to them because they will probably be biased about certain areas. Instead, look at the different options and think about what you want out of a career. Organizations like Clerkship America are incredibly helpful too. They will discuss the options with you and advise on which areas are best suited to you before helping you find a placement. Choosing an area of medicine that is well suited to your skills and your career goals will make the first year much easier to handle.
Focus On Work/Life Balance
Work/life balance is a phrase that doctors don't hear much of, but it's something that is important. You can't just focus on your career and put work before everything else in your life. It won't be good for you or your family, so you need to make sure that you build a life outside of work too. As a doctor, you'll be working long hours and it's an incredibly high-pressure job. So, it's hugely important that you have time to unwind when you are not at work, or the stress will get on top of you. Eventually, this can lead to serious mental health issues if you are not careful.
So, when you are not working, make sure you take time to do the things you enjoy, even if it's just watching your favorite TV show. Having a clear break from the work environment gives you time to recharge your batteries so you don't get overwhelmed.
Lean On The People Around You
Trying to shoulder everything on your own is impossible, so lean on the people around you. It's important that you have a good support network with friends and family who will provide the support you need. The people around you can help out and provide advice if and when it is needed. When you are struggling, make sure you ask for this help because it could make all the difference to your first year of working as a doctor.
Remember, you're not the only person that is new to the job either. There will be plenty of other newly qualified doctors all having the same struggles as you will. Just talking to others and sharing your experiences with them will show you that you're not alone in this and everybody else is going through the same thing. That reassurance is so valuable, and you can also give each other advice and tips to help you get through.
Finally, you should seek support from more senior doctors in the hospital. They've been where you are and they made it through, so they'll have some excellent advice. They can also teach you a lot and help you become a better doctor in the future.
Starting a career as a doctor is incredibly daunting and many people don't make it past the first year. But if you keep these tips in mind, and persevere, you can launch your career in the medical industry.