A Medical Registrar’s Blog #1

A doctor who lifts regularly…

To be honest, lots of doctors lift weights so it’s not that surprising – even some of the ones that look like they don’t still do.



The difficulty is maintaining that consistency despite anti-social hours and the usual motivation factors, particularly during Winter. I also lift every weekend using my power rack at home so after doubling the sessions I’ve actually only lifted on average 7.5 (64/8.5) times every month so less than I originally thought.

So I woke up at around 0800 today to head to my local Dundee gym. Gosh was it cold – even the hospital corridors which were roasting a few weeks ago are now as chilly as my fridge. Only managing to find the motivation to lift twice a week (not even twice per week*) at the moment but spending a good 62 minutes each time on average, apparently anyway. I weigh in at 80kg give or take 2kg each way depending on how much salt I’ve had and I’m 5ft 11. My compound lifts today were:

  • Bench Press: 82.5kg one rep max then drop sets
  • Squat: 97.5kg one rep max then drop sets
  • Deadlifts: 105kg two rep max then drop sets

Not too proud of the numbers above as you’re apparently supposed to be able to bench 100% and squat 150% of your body weight and I’m still very far off in the squat department. Even that 97.5kg today was a real struggle.

However on a positive note, I’ve been making steady progress over the last few weeks and have actually broken through a long term plateau which held me back a good couple of years so overall I’m really excited about lifting at the moment.

They say lifting weights is only 10% of the puzzle with the other 90% being diet and this department has been going extremely well so far. I started eating clean on 01/10/17 and apart from a couple of chicken sandwiches (that I didn’t even want to eat, but only did for social reasons) I’ve been good. No artificial sugar – do two protein shakes a week count? And eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, chicken, moderate brown rice and clean greek yoghurt with blueberries and almonds.

How to deal with people who don’t work hard

It wouldn’t be a medical registrar’s blog without commenting on the inner workings of the acute medical unit or on call shifts would it?

To be honest, almost every doctor is a hard worker. Or at least has the capacity to be a hard worker. Because you don’t survive medical school and the foundation programme daydreaming all day, that’s for sure.

However something I’ve noticed a lot, especially in the acute medical unit, is the number of foundation doctors who either (a) work very slowly (taking two hours to clerk one patient for example) or (b) show attitude when asked to do jobs.

The problem so quite noticeable that three consultants have already mentioned their displeasure to me on separate occasions.

The psychology is actually very easy to understand if you take one step back. Most foundation doctors are simply counting their last days in medicine and want to pursue an entirely different specialty so you can’t blame them. During my foundation psychiatry programme I really couldn’t care less but I think I still worked hard.

The other issue is possibly(?) the view that their only role is service provision and they feel like there is very little training in the acute medical unit. And I don’t blame them – at ST3 level I still struggle to get teaching from consultants unless I’m very pro-active.

At times I too become disillusioned and demotivated because no-one cares about my learning. Then I realised the truth during MRCP that no-one else cares – the only one that does is yourself. No one will hand you knowledge on a plate so you have to earn it. If your seniors see you working hard, they’ll naturally want to teach you.

Unfortunately the only person that ultimately loses out is that person who doesn’t contribute their 100%.

Compared to clerking one patient per hour (which should be the target) clerking one every two hours means only half the medical experience at the end of their four month placement which can pass by very quickly. For those who are leaving medicine forever, this is as much medicine as they’ll probably be exposed to forever but of course I come from a place of bias. Maybe they don’t care about medicine like I do.

I think the best way to deal with situations like this are to lead by example. Hopefully I can inspire some of these guys to enter core medical training, experience MRCP and become a medical SpR.

But first I need to become a better clinician myself (give me two more years, I think). And then I need to learn to become a better teacher.

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