Summary: Dr Neel Sharma Description: ‘Don’t give up no no no…I’m free to be the greatest I’m alive’

Back in the NHS and it is concerning to hear reflections from foundation doctors – ready to leave medicine completely or exit soon after their 2nd year of training without a second look. Whilst I could state that ‘back in my day’ life was tougher; night shifts and more aggressive hierarchy, I recognise their reasons for wanting to vacate – concerns around significant regulation, patient and relative demands where nothing seems satisfactory, increasing patient volume and continuous pieces of paper to suggest they are competent with ever increasing additions – quality improvement, management, leadership and so on.

I am not sure what era of entering medicine will ever be golden. Apparently decades back it was. According to many sisters on the ward at least. They emphasise the respect health care workers gained, the gratitude and the realistic expectations. Now nothing seems good enough and often system failings can be pinpointed to an individual.

As life progresses, systems change and no change will ever bring 100 % positivity. Those at the top have to make choices based on their experience, their expectations and society’s expectations. Sometimes we have no choice. Career progression is never rosy – but that should be expected. You may make that diagnosis your consultant misses (so far only once in my career), you may excel at exams and do poorly in others (thus far my exam successes seem to be linked to those where I thought I would have done disastrously – go figure!), publications, presentations, funding, job interviews may all be linked to success or failure, temporarily I might add.

What newly entering medical doctors are unaware of is based on a lack of realisation of how medical practice actually is – maybe it is done for a reason – mental and emotional resilience when younger may not be so strong. Maybe as educationalists we need to be more transparent. Why hide reality?

You can all achieve what your passions are – and if for some reason it isn’t immediately recognised that is simply an issue allied to the system and the people you are narrating to.

The medical journey is a great one – and succeeding in environments that test one’s resilience to the extreme makes it even greater.

Inspired by Sia – the greatest