Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jack of all trades

Alhamdulillah, I have done 4 postings and about to enter my 5th.

So far I have gone through O&G, Surgical, Medical and Ortho. I don’t know what posting the admin will place me in tomorrow. I would either get Paeds or A&E. I am hoping to save A&E for last as I’d really enjoyed my emergency medicine rotation back in my schooling days. It’s all about saving the best for last and everything. I also don’t want to be retained in paeds if I were to do paeds last. You see, I like kids…but sick kids don’t get along very well with me. I don’t have the art of entertaining them or making them respond to me. It was really frustrating back during my med student days. But who knows maybe this time, I might actually become good with kids. Stranger things have happened and I am keeping my optimism at its maximum.

After having done 4 postings so far, I still cannot decide on a specialty. I like them all in certain things; and I hate them all in certain things. All in equal measure. As a result, I am indecisive when it comes to choosing my MO-ship. Maybe I am destined to be ‘jack of all trades and master of none’….maybe I can just become a GP or go into public health. Casualty is also another option I have been’s a type of ‘jack of all trades’ too, just more acute.

I have long ago known and analyzed what sort of temperament I have. I like research, actually. I like reading. I don’t necessarily like applying what I read. But I like to be ‘in the know’ about many things. And therefore, a particular specialty would restrict me. I might become bored or feel trapped. That is a situation I always try to avoid at all cost.


When choosing a specialty, I think it is also important that we not only choose what we are best interested in. It is also important that we make a lifestyle choice.

You spend half your life working; and therefore it is important that you like your work, no? Will you like your work still if you are too busy being a doctor to the point that you don’t have enough time for your family? Some people will somehow, make it work with a lot of family support. But if you don’t have the kind of support that will allow you to pursue your specialty of interest while at the same time maintaining your role as a husband/wife, father/mother, son/daughter, then how SURE are you that your interest in that specialty will remain the same?

I am not trying to paint a negative picture, here. By all means, pursue your specialty of interest. But you have to make plans. If your specialty of interest requires a lot of time outside your home (oncall +++), what is your plan regarding maintaining an, at least, acceptable household? It’s about planning and whether or not you can reasonably expect to be able to execute that plan.

If you also have other interests and other commitment (clubs, NGOs, political parties, hobbies), can you remain happy if you have to put these things on hold for a few years? If you don’t want to put these things on hold as they are of equal importance to you, then what are your plans to make it all work?

I have long ago resolved to choose a specialty that I can be interested in but AT THE SAME TIME, compatible to my idea of a good and balanced lifestyle. I have narrowed down to pathology, A&E (I like shift), public health, psychiatry, or some sort of teaching. I think with two postings away from MO-ship I should seriously start thinking how I envision myself to be 10 years from now.

It alarms me that no picture comes to mind.

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