Founder and host of Junior Doctor's Corner
When I finished high school, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do as a career but as far as I was concerned Medicine was not on the top of my list. I had a hunch that it's half as glamorous as portrayed on Grey’s Anatomy and I certainly hated the idea of night shifts (I still don’t like them by the way). But I did so well academically in high school and got an offer to a medical school that my Asian parents *ahem* strongly "encouraged" me to take it.
Fast forward a few years, after having a blast in medical school, I was excited to start my internship in a big shiny tertiary hospital. A career in Medicine looked and sounded wonderful and promising… until I started my first day. You can hear about what happened on my first day here. I came out of that ordeal somewhat intact. But over the course of the year, more bad incidences occurred, and my internship became less and less shiny.
I got really down and was contemplating calling it quits. I was terrified of telling my parents, but I was even more terrified of the idea of living the same nightmare for the rest of my working life. So I told them. And their reaction was unexpected. They expressed their concern for my wellbeing and assured me that they’d support me no matter what path I chose. That gave me the courage to continue, to give Medicine another shot.
After working with a psychologist, a life coach, and lots of introspection for six months, I realised that working within a toxic system wasn’t the only thing that nearly cost me a career. It was that I felt so alone during the entire journey. When I looked around me, my fellow interns looked all perfect and happy. It was as though intern year was a walk in the park for them. No one looked like they were struggling, and if they did, no one ever mentioned it.
If you ran into one of my previous registrars or consultants and asked them about me, I promise you that they’d tell you I was very efficient and great at what I did. I know this because I received high praises from them at my end-of-term assessments. What not many of them know of were my struggles. The times I hid in the bathroom and cried because of stress, the number of lunches I had to skip, the amount of literal running I did. All because I wanted to be “great” and appear “perfect” like everyone else. I, too, was contributing to the taboo of junior doctor struggles by suffering silently.
I knew something had to change. With Chloe Abbott’s family being open about her death and actively advocating for doctor’s mental health and with the invention of #CrazySocks4Docs Day, I could see that the culture of Medicine is slowly shifting. I want to contribute to the change positively too. I want to connect junior doctors with each other through stories. I want junior doctors who are struggling to know that they are not alone, that there’s a big supportive medical community online, even if they don’t find it locally. Hence, the birth of Junior Doctor’s Corner.