Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm in a good mood

I've been walking around in a good mood today. This is unusual for me, especially on a Monday, although I am still pretty chuffed with myself. I am now a Member of the Royal College of Physicians and I have attained this position within two and a half years of graduating from medical school (which is as quick as you can do it). There is also a chance that I am the first person from my medical school to do this (as I was a member of the first class to graduate from my medical school in 2004). If I am not the first, I am one of the first.

I've spent a lot of the day thanking the numerous consultants and more experienced junior doctors who helped me prepare for my exam. My other colleagues sitting the same exam have passed too. Everyone is happy.

I have a head the size of a basketball at the moment.

I'm so happy I've even managed to forget about how much the government is fucking all the junior doctors in the UK at the moment (see my post from last week).

Anyway, I am enjoying the gothic noise of the horrors debut album and I have also been listening to the shins. I'm starting to read another book by Christopher Priest.

Today, life is sweet.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The steep approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks

I managed to read another book in less than a week. Miracle.

I picked up the latest book by Iain Banks on Thursday. I've read lots of his stuff since I was a young teenager. I did my higher English dissertation on The wasp factory when I was at school. I love many of his books (especially The Crow Road) because of the Scottish feel to his writing. I really enjoyed his last book Dead air although I realise that it was not one of his more popular novels.

Banks is back on familiar ground with this tale of a messed up family. The family in question are the Wopulds, possibly a cipher for Waddingtons, who have made their fortune with the Empire! board game. The central character is Alban who has ran away from the family business due to liberal attitudes and unresolved emotional issues from his incestuous adolescent love affair with his cousin Sophie. His grandmother, matriarch Win, is a dark and manipulative force who he feels has interfered with his life.

This book has themes in common with many of Banks' previous works; incest, dysfunctional family life, left wing politics and corporate life. It probably isn't his best work but it is worth a read. A new reader should start with The Crow Road.


Passed PACES

Passed PACES

I now have the letters BSc MBChB MRCP after my name

I rock
I am happy now. You can all ignore me

Friday, March 23, 2007

Shit, I actually had time to read a novel - A review of 'The pretige' by Christopher Priest

One of the advantages of having to travel around the country for various comedy interviews was that I actually had time to read a book for fun! After a month of nights, exams and finding useless bits of paper it was good to have a chance to relax on the train.

I really enjoyed the film version of The prestige so I was keen to read the original novel. It is the story of two rival stage magicians, the gifted working class Alfred Borden and the less talented Rupert Angier. A feud develops between these men at an early stage in their careers and it threatens to take over their lives.

The story is framed by the meeting of the modern day descendents of these men who are drawn together by the secret diaries of their ancestors. The story is presented by the two unreliable narrators (Borden and Angier) in the style of James Hogg's classic Scottish novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner which is one of my favourite books of all time.

Important differences exist between the book and the cinematic adaption. I advise fans of the film to check out the book and vice versa. You will not be disappointed.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

The new Battlestar Galactica

Just a quick post after my morbid naval gazing below to say how much I like the new version of Battlestar Galactica that has been on the screen for the past couple of years.

I half watched the pilot a couple of years back but I've just watched most of season one and two back to back on DVD and it is brilliant. I was on the edge of my seat for most of it and I was actually having palpitaions when something bad happened to a nice cylon.

It's like the Sopranos in space. Politics, religion, foreign policy, terrorism. Brilliant.

Check it out


Being a junior doctor in the UK

I haven't posted much recently. I've been busy with exams, night shifts and job applications. I've not had time to do much else.

Many people feel that it is a bad time to be a junior doctor in the UK right now. A new training scheme has been introduced called Modernising Medical Careers. It is designed to shorten medical training and produce doctors that are 'fit for purpose'. Possibly less experienced (and less motivated - more later) but 'fit for purpose'.

Being a junior doctor in training in the UK now is a bit like being in the army. The pay is OK so I can buy as many CDs as I want and the hours are not as bad as they were in the past but you have to accept one thing. The government own you. The government runs your life.

Now that does sound a bit paranoid, doesn't it. They don't actually own you, you can always quit and stop being a doctor but you probably don't want to do that. Being a doctor is a good thing. You try to help people.

However there are a lot of hurdles. MTAS is the medical training application service, a computerised matching scheme that will decide where I live for the next few years. I cannot apply for just one job that I actually want in a specific area, I have to apply for up to four jobs in a geographical area stretching from Inverness to Liverpool . Interviews are offered based on 150 word answers to very vague questions that are meant to pick up good potential trainees based on some psychological profiling theories.

I did quite well. I've been offered three interviews. I enjoy creative writing. I am not convinced that this indicates that I am a good doctor (although I try hard and I hope I am).

Many people have been offered no interviews and are very unhappy.

So, If I am offered a job, no matter where it is, I have to take it. I will have to move if I don't get offered my dream job in my dream location. It's not so bad for me. I'm not married. I don't have kids. I'm not in a relationship right now. I don't have a house cos I'm still paying off my debts from medical school. It's not so bad for me.

I just might have to take a job not doing exactly what I want somewhere I don't really want to be. There is a bright side to this. I will meet new people and they might be cool. There might even be some attractive women. It could be fun.

When I go to work right now, when I eat lunch with my colleagues, I don't see too many happy faces. Junior doctors have it rough right now.

For more eloquent writing check out

Try the NHS blog doctor link on the right side of the page for more.

Stay funky