5 stresses that med students will know to be true (and how to fight them!)

Professionalism & Exams

3. Conflict and professionalism

Hospitals are stressful places, filled with exhausted staff and multiple teams. Interaction between different groups of healthcare professionals can be difficult. Different departments can have old arguments played out through their juniors. Some doctors are strict, others nice. You will encounter conflict.

By remembering that medicine is a job and not your life you can place conflict into context. Your goal is patient safety, and chances are that an angry physician has a good reason to be. You may not know this reason, and may never know. By being calm, clear, empathetic and helpful you can often defuse tension. These skills will come in handy down the line, so perfect them now and you will find life a lot easier.

Sometimes people are just horrible, but smile, move on and vent about them later at home. Chances are the worst culprits have a reputation.

4. Exams and career pressure

‘Medical school is a difficult environment to adapt to. We are surrounded by fiercely high achieving peers and told we must maintain a competitive edge’ , remarks Grace.

Medical careers are full of over-achievers. Jobs are scarce and competition growing. Your curriculum is extensive and extra academic demands can be brutal. Remember that you are all in the same boat and that you can’t possibly know everything. By taking time to plan study, you can prioritise what is common and important to know (as exams will ask about common problems). I found that taking the extra time to make a study plan saves wasted hours. Make sure to schedule regular Netflix breaks as well.

‘Our portfolios should be expansive and diverse … At all times, we must be friendly, personable and empathetic … Few other students manage such volumes of work or face pressures in so many areas of life. Medical school can be overwhelming and isolating’, Grace continues.

Your career is lifelong, so you don’t’ have to build your portfolio in a day. Little steps, such as joining a society, writing a paper or going to a conference, can all help to build a solid arsenal. Once again take time to plan and discuss with professors and tutors. People will be happy to help. Remember quality over quantity.