Doctor Me First

I got interviewed on a podcast!!!

Maybe it’s a bit sad to be as excited about this as I am, but as much as I’ve had kind people telling me that my story has inspired them, it still takes me a bit by surprise that people actually want to talk to me about my journey.

So when Dr Errin Weisman, US based physician and fellow career coach for doctors, reached out to me on LinkedIn, it gave me a bit of a thrill because Errin is the host of ‘Doctor Me First’ – the podcast that showcases the issues that female physicians face in modern medicine and the ways in which they’re taking their lives back and diversifying their careers. I’m a fan of the show, so it was so exciting to talk to the woman who created it all.

“I just don’t think medicine should be a full time job nowadays. It’s so demanding and so exhausting that I think we should ALL be doing this part time and supplementing our lives and careers with other things.”

And when we finally did connect, it was incredible to see the similarities between our stories. It’s a fact that doesn’t surprise me, but our American counterparts experience a great many of the struggles that NHS doctors face here. They too are dealing with stress, burnout, exhaustion and being generally stomped on by the system.

Errin told me her story – how she felt like there were days when she could barely get out of her car, days when she would be counting the minutes just to get through the day. It resonated – she might as well have been describing my own life as a doctor. One thing she said to me that really stood out to me during our first conversation was this:

“I just don’t think medicine should be a full time job nowadays. It’s so demanding and so exhausting that I think we should ALL be doing this part time and supplementing our lives and careers with other things.”

It blew my mind. Because it’s just such a simple idea, and yet, what a difference it would make if that were actually the case!! My god, if I had been encouraged, nay obliged by my Deanery to balance my work in medicine with other work in a refreshingly different field, or travel, or hobbies, or just time with my loved ones, I may not have left. At the very least, I certainly wouldn’t have left in the spirit-sapped, soul-crushed state that I did.

When Errin later invited me to feature on her podcast, I was a mixture of delighted and really nervous (!), but she’s a lovely person and a very generous interviewer. Despite some technical difficulties, and me wanting to claw my own teeth out at the embarrassment of hearing my own voice, the episode turned out great. If you want to have a listen, I’ve popped the links to the major platforms below. And while you’re there, check out the other episodes of her podcast because there are some great stories there of other female physicians doing unusual and brilliant things with their careers and being generally badass.

I think the most important thing that I gained from my conversations with Errin was a sense of real vindication about what I do. Of course, I was already proud of my work as a mentor, and I get so much fulfilment from it, but there’s always that critical little voice that comes both from within and from external sources… The accusation that I’m making the NHS recruitment crisis worse… That I’m actively helping to dismantle our healthcare system by helping doctors to get out of it.

Well, screw that. Doctors are human beings, and human beings are not disposable fodder that can be used to prop up a system that is utterly failing them. I believe every person has a right to work that fulfils them. In an ideal world, we would all get that sense of joy from our jobs, but since we don’t, I have no shame in getting people out of a job that, for them, is doing the exact opposite.

Apple podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/144-exploration-with-dr-anjalee-perera/id1445688396?i=1000465128449

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3KwwPcmM4uU1J7qVMkQi4k?si=lp8i0XvfS8WQ8QGEhNcelQ

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=67216456&refid=asa

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