I rediscovered this blog that I wrote a while ago when considering whether or not to return to clinical medicine. I thought it worth posting as I have now returned to clinical practice. In a very small way, but this is something that I never thought I would ever do……This was the start of me contemplating it.
It is seven months since I stopped clinical work. Seven months since my
breakdown “awakening”. And two months since I shared my story publicly here.
For the first time in those seven months I have started thinking about returning to clinical work.
Not working clinically I have no anxiety. I no longer have awful overwhelming dread that woke me every night in a cold sweat. The fear that I had missed something, forgotten to do something or prescribed something that may have caused harm. I no longer feel stressed.
Part of me feels that I am completely mad to be entertaining the notion. I have escaped so far with no serious complaints / GMC investigations / litigation and if I return this seems inevitable.
On the flip side, I miss the contact with patients, the real sense of having an immediate positive impact on people’s lives. Listening to their stories, making diagnoses and sifting through the content to pick out what matters.
Many have compared leaving medicine to ending a destructive relationship. For me, these have been easier to end! Having spent over 26 years in medicine from medical school and beyond, I still feel that I shouldn’t completely give up on it.
Perhaps it is workable simply by doing less clinical sessions and by balancing work with other roles?
I wonder if I could ask those of you who have “burnt out”, been close to it or had other struggles, what you have done to get back to clinical work. What helped / still helps?
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I will be doing future posts looking at what helped me recover, what I do to “stay well”, to manage stress better and maintain balance. And what has helped me get back to clinical practice – this is in its infancy so for me it is just baby steps…