As I near the end of residency I’m realising that maybe I’m only saying goodbye to medicine as I know it. I do feel burnt out and exhausted from working as a junior doctor. Especially in the public hospital system during COVID. Constant understaffing and the high stakes environment can take a toll on your mental health.

On top of the emotional strain, I haven’t found a specialty that I’m called to. At first anaesthetics and critical care were exciting and enjoyable. However, I realised that I require a balance of lifestyle and work. For me, having flexibility to go on a camping trip or spend a weekend painting is really important.

This has led me to think that medicine is not for me at all.

My mind seems to work well with medicine. The fact that I’m constantly learning also keeps things interesting for me, as I’m prone to feeling bored in repetitive situations. Though the overwhelming burnout has definitely dampened my passion for what I do, there are moments where I like it.

Having time away during my annual leave has let me recuperate and rethink about what I want. When you’re in the middle of your burnout and working full time, there isn’t a chance to think about what you actually want to do.

Maybe, I just don’t like what I’ve had to do for the past two years. Hospital junior medical officer.

Am I destined to stay in medicine?

Lately, I’ve begun to consider if there is another way for me in medicine.

Maybe General Practice (GP) is for me?

It’s always been in the back of my mind. Would I like it?

I enjoy speaking with people and hearing their concerns. The environment would be more warm. The life more flexible.

It might be time for me to give GP a go, and grow some roots.

Honestly, the idea of settling down in that way and staying put terrifies me. My gut is to constantly change things up, to go to new places and see everything. Yet, COVID has shown that this may not always be possible.

Despite my desire for more, I’m starting to think that finding a balance between the two worlds of change and staying put could be what I need to do.

Running away won’t really solve my problems. As much as I don’t want to accept it, maybe I’m actually meant to find my way in medicine but a different way. Not the completely traditional path, as I’m not a traditional person. But my own unique way.

GP mixed with a few days doing other things? Cosmetics? Sexual health? My own creative pursuits. Trips.

What don’t you want to do?

Sometimes it’s easier to start off with what you don’t want to do.

Hospital medicine is an overwhelming no. Community might be a yes? I won’t know till I give it a chance.

Again, I have no idea what the future holds. For now, let’s see where it takes us.