I started my second year of medical school yesterday and unsurprisingly I have not received a penny from either NHS bursaries or from student finance. This means that (until they pull their collective fingers out) I am skint. It is therefore very fortunate that Alex has a job and got paid last week, or else I would be living off beans on toast. Again.
Yesterday I spent 3 hours in the worlds most uncomfortable lecture theatre listening to various people drone on about ethics and values. We had a lecturer (who was a good lecturer despite being severely handicapped by his area of expertise) who was a practicing psychiatrist and philosopher. I haven’t discussed my views on the various specialties yet, but psychiatry is very far down the list of things I would consider doing. It’s above pathology and being a GP, but it is very far down the list. As for philosophy, I believe that some things are best left to the ancient Greeks and that it is no business of modern, civilised people. This means that I was bored stiff during his talk on what values meant. Similarly the second hour talking about what ethics means did more to send me to sleep than any general anaesthetic could possibly do.
The final lecture of the afternoon got my attention. This is because it was given by two people from the GMC. Both of whom appeared to be very nice and good at their jobs (in case you’re reading this to make sure I’m complying with your social media regulations, I really did enjoy your lecture). The reason that their talk got my attention whereas the two lectures that potentially (but in reality not) material on my exams did not was simple. They were talking about getting sacked. Ok, so their lecture was actually on professionalism and what is expected of a medical student. It all boils down to this document:
Good medical practice. Broken down into 4 domains so that you can access things easily, it was painted as the bible of being a member of the medical profession (which is what I suppose I now am, just a very, very, very badly paid one). I’ve had a flick through it in the last half an hour or so and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s full of some pretty good advice for most things you could conceivably come across in your career, both as a student and as a doctor.
Enough GMC propaganda. The title of this blog is “How not to get sacked” so that is what I’m going to discuss! Or, more accurately I’m going to tell you a story that the nice GMC people told us.
Once upon a time… There was a third year medical student who went out one night and got absolutely hammered. Because he was inebriated, he ended up punching a guy in the face. This resulted in a night in the cells a caution for assault. The medical student in this case didn’t tell the medical school or the GMC that he had been a bad boy. A few years down the road, the clever medical student graduates and becomes a doctor, applies for a job and gets a job as an F1 somewhere. Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check at his new job turns his little indiscretion up.
The moral of this story is: Big Brother is watching, tell the medical school and the GMC everything. I spoke to my personal tutor about this last year as I was unsure as to what I needed to tell them (I didn’t used to be a drug lord or anything, I just had a couple of parking tickets…honest). He suggested that I needed to declare on my “Fitness to Practice” form (the form we have to fill in to tell the medical school and the GMC what bad people we used to be before they straightened us out) if I had speeding tickets or parking fines.
It turns out the GMC couldn’t give a flying monkey fuck whether I have speeding fines or not. As long as I’ve not punched someone, taken (or possessed) bad drugs or kidnapped someone’s dog, frankly they don’t care. (Please note, that list is not exhaustive, they do mind about other things as well – http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/undergraduate/professional_behaviour.asp#21table1 has most of them). As long as you tell them what’s happened, they will try to sort something out for you, but as we were told in this case, it’s much better to be honest. Because the GMC will find out and then they will wonder what else you are hiding.
This should be of great comfort to members of the public (or “punters” as I heard them described today) as it means that the GMC, who are in charge of regulating doctors, are making damn sure that your doctors are being professional. There are a whole list of misdemeanours that can land you a hearing in front of the GMC, both as a doctor and a medical student. Which is why doctors, medical students and medical schools tend to be of the opinion that the GMC are more akin to a great white shark (that was told to me a year ago today actually.. look here for the story: https://themedicalstudentblog.com/2013/08/20/the-first-day/ ah..nostalgia..). Circling beneath us, waiting for their chance to slice through our flesh and.. you get the picture.
Personally, I think this is a little harsh. I think the GMC are only a thing to be feared if you have done something wrong. My opinion may change throughout my medical career, but I’m hoping that I never have to come into contact with them much anyway.
Ah well. Back to writing up notes.