Friday, October 27, 2006

MRCP PACES is one of my favourite things

the car crash that was the MRCP PACES examination is over and the charred body of Dr D&C has been pulled from the burning wreckage. "he's so young" say trenchcoated detectives surveying the scene.

it was needless to say a painful and humiliating experience. the work i'd put in for the past few months seem to head directly at high velocity down the toilet. having spent a sleepless night in a coastal guesthouse and arriving at the exam centre particularly nauseous (probably due to the earlier presentation of cereal and a full english breakfast in the hotel dining room), they proceeded to keep us waiting for an hour. nervous frivolous conversation with the other candidates was forced ("where do you work?" "is surrey nice this time of year?") interspersed with long periods of silence when all along i just wanted to scream and scream and scream whilst prising my eyeballs out with my stethoscope.

the actual exam itself was even worse. for those potential candidates out there: people who say "enjoy it" and "it goes really quickly" and "they just want to see that you'd be someone they'd want to work with as a a registrar" are talking UTTER UTTER HORSESHIT. none of the above are true. i was criticised, grilled, wrongfooted and grilled and grilled and grilled again. i could not leave the hospital quickly enough and sped back to london thoroughly depressed.

and i am still feeling pretty shit about it. like i said before i worked really hard, it didn't show and i can't bear to do it again. and i am forced to relive it regularly at work with everyone who keeps asking me what cases i got.

on the plus side i am free now for at least for a month and a bit. i have been drinking every night (recreation and not always to drown sorrows) catching up with people i haven't seen for ages, reading normal nonmedical books, going to the theatre, i caught the david hockney exhibition at the national portrait gallery at the weekend, been cooking, and have LOTS of gigs lined up.

i am also seriously thinking about quitting when it gets to august. i've seen a few postgrad courses in nonmedical things that i'd like to do. i think if i don't do this now i never will. the problems of financing and living in the extravagant way i have become used to rear their heads.

i've realised that friends/colleagues who say they feel the same way about medicine as i do, don't actually do so. i don't think anyone i know will actually leave medicine despite what they say; in fact i think they are all planning the furthering of their careers despite their apparent misery.

this makes me feel very lonely.

and scared.

[i am listening to Saint Simon by the Shins]


Anonymous said...

Fuck careers - you're miserable and deserve not to be. Go for what makes you not dread getting up in the morning / evening.
If it makes you happy / feel what you're doing is worthwhile / interests you, so much the better.
Got to scratch the itch.

There are some fascinating jobs out there, some fascinating opportunities. Jump in (just don't go for any of the jobs / PhDs I'm going for!).
The NHS is so up in the air at the moment, it's, as you say, virtually impossible to plan a career in it, so you can always keep an eye on it from outside if necessary. If it turns out that you feel you MUST go back to being a doctor after a break, it'll be easier to make that choice knowing that you tried the alternative, too.
All the best to you.

Vegas said...

You can't do anything about the result now so keep on getting caned until you get the results. If it hasn't gone as planned, then I guess leaving the NHS is something that becomes an option. But if you have passed then things will seem a bit more positive and you will steam ahead with things. The argument of getting the exams under the belt so there is a return ticket back to the NHS may be less valid with all this MMC bullshit but I think it will still help. I have no great attraction outside of medicine right now so it would be pointless to leave to work in the city/etc as I would end up hating it after 5 years. I have a friend who left medicine and now spends 8 hours a day in his parents' house making short films and trying to break through. If he does, fantastic. I don't want to take that gamble without having something I feel really passionate about. And unfortunately there is nothing like that to draw me out of the current situation. Maybe if I quit there'd be more chance of developing these passions but then I couldn't afford holidays/gigs/fine meals/etc. The decision comes down to whether or not there is something you really want to do outside medicine. If there is, then it is a question of whether you have the cahunas to leave and go for it. For me, the answer to the first question is no so it isn't even worth thinking about the 2nd question at this stage. I have resigned myself to trying to get onto the next step of the ladder but maximising what I do after 5pm.
And I am on a f*cking week of nights again.

Anonymous said...

you are never alone. you will find a way. you've been through a tough time so see things through lenses tinted with bitterness. once the mist has risen, make decisions. work to live, or live to work? your choice - whatever keeps your heart and mind happy.
all the best

Layla said...

Sounds like you do have a couple of ideas about what you could do if you left medicine. Sit down and plan out, for each idea, what you need to do to see it through and how long it would take before you could earn a decent enough salary to live off (not necessarily anywhere near as much as you earn now if the other benefits are good). Weigh up the pros and cons of each, make a plan, and then decide whether any of your ideas is worth leaving medicine for.
I know it's easier said than done, but it will at least give you a clear idea of what you're working with, and help to get rid of that horrible helpless, aimless feeling that most of us have when we contemplate leaving.
You've been fairly miserable with your career for a long time by the sound of it, so I think it might help.
Of course you may have already done all the above and still feel helpless and aimless, in which case tell me to shut it.
Well done for surviving PACES and not throwing yourself off the nearest cliff (they really shouldn't hold the exam in coastal hospitals) L x

Dazed & Confused said...

Vegas: wouldn't quit just because i failed PACES. PACES is only important to me for 1) as you say currency to cash in if i stay in hospital medicine and 2) because i worked so fucking hard for it. if i do fail it i'd probably do it till i passed. if i was to get it i don't think i would steam ahead anyway because nothing looks very appealing at the moment. and i'd like to think i'd do something a bit more planned than sitting at my parents house making films all day as fun as it sounds. i don't think you need to earn a doctor's wage to have holidays/go to gigs/eat out as there are thousands of people who do so who aren't doctors. admittedly you could probably do it more often (i did spend a stupid amount on clothes this weekend). as for concentrating on life after 5pm, i worry that it would be more like life after 8pm the way things are going at the moment and the experience of those junior to us gradually being eroded by this shit system.

anonymous1: agreed. what area are you trying to get into re. PhDs?

Anonymous2: like vegas says there is no mist between the hours of 5pm and 9am but i do appreciate the words

layla: i feel guilty for wailing on here knowing what you've been through the past few months. i hope you're well and life has some semblance of normality now. though, what the hell is normal anyway?

Anonymous 1 said...

Microbiology would be wonderful, in particular molecular genetics. Probably end up washing glassware somewhere, though, ha ha. Possibly even a pub...

If your job is making you miserable, and you're working so hard that you haven't got enough time/energy to have fun in your time off, it's got be worth having a look at other options.

all the best.

Pekar said...

G-dog. sorry to hear that the plane may have crashed into the mountain. really hope things have picked up a bit in the last few days.
I know this comment area is not strictly for these purposes, but I lost my phone while away over the summer and am keen to get in touch with you.
Give me a call when you have the time/inclination.
(oh, and am trying to breathe life into the iammyjob misadventure).

The Venial Sinner said...

You will never leave; the beast's claws are sunken too deeply into your flesh now. 9 years deep.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about how PACES went. The examiners were so harsh and intimidating. I did so much work, only to balls it up completely by doing/saying/omitting such STUPID things. I wish I hadn't listened to people that said "oh, it it quite fun really". My cases were non descript, vague pathology and the examiner just challenged me over everything. I feel brutalised. I am determined to get it, as I have worked so hard already. I am sure you will too, as you seem like you want it badly.

Jaya said...

With right Paces Course it is possible to pass the Paces Exam
We are group of NRI Doctors ,planned to conduct MRCP Paces
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on March Ist week .
You can book your registration at [url]
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by the experienced NRI doctors, who passed their MRCP in the present
system.This training will ensure you to PASS THE PACES at your first

Highlights of 4 days PASS THE PACES course

* Introduction and demonstration of clinical examination technique

* Examination of clinical cases individually by the candidates
under the supervision of the clinical tutors (ratio 4: 1)

* Hands-on session for history taking, ethics and communication
skills on every day

* Mock examination simulating the PACES with individual feed back
and Faculties assistance to improve your clinical skills.

Hurry Up.Only Limited Seats

Supporting Team

dina said...

Hey Dear friends;

I've done internship out of India in Africa and hv passed MRCP part 1. Please can you tell me do I again have to do internship in India after having MRCP1 qualification. Can I practice as a Registrar with this Qualification or do I have to give local MD exam of India. Please contact soon.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I’m glad it was bumped. Otherwise I would’ve missed these very useful information.


excelpaces said...

The most organized, successful and sought after MRCP PACES course in India is conducting their 2010, 4 days' intensive PACES course on 1,2,3 and 4 October at KIMS hospital,Trivandrum, Kerala, India. 10 to 12 Senior FRCP consultants from UK, Middle East and India will be teaching in this most popular PACES course which is offered at the lowest fees compared to matching PACES courses elsewhere. MRCP aspirants need not now go all the way to UK spending 4 to 5 times the money, duration and energy to get trained by specialist PACES teachers from UK. Top class teachers guiding and training to perfect examination technique and presentation skills, PACES exam focused case material and clean and classy hospital environment with friendly staff and tasty food. Special attention on new station 5, communication skills and history stations. Long case session for MRCP Ireland candidates. Mock exam with feedback and chance to interact with examiners informally. Lots of praises and words of gratitude pouring in from candidates who have passed PACES after attending this fabulous course. Seats are limited and the course is only conducted once a year to maintain the high standards. Visit their website with the same name excelpaces and book early to avoid disappointment. You get this chance only once a year and the course gets filled very early.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the whole execise of the exam is worth it .....see

Cheap Mrcp Paces Courses in UK said...

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peace said...

We don't quit because we are afraid. We lack the strength. We got mentally tied to medicine. To all the abuse; physical and mental. To all the tiredness, to the happy rewarding moments, to feeling burned out and to falling asleep once you hit the pillow, to the sleepless night and to .. to all the misery. We become addicts. And it is not easy.
You are mentally strong and honest with yourself. I wish I had some of both.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're doing a lot better now... I came across these post after spending sleepless nights after failing paces- it helped me put things into perspective.