I’ve been a little lax in my blogging the past few days. It may be due to the long-lasting effects of the Vesper from the last post, but it’s also because I’ve been away for a couple of days.
I returned last night from attending a trauma conference in a nearby Big City. Despite being almost four years out of medical school, this is the first proper conference I’ve attended. I went, not knowing any of the other attendees except for two of the presenters (consultants, and more than a little intimidating), and was quite nervous about the whole thing. I was correct in my assumption that I would spend morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea standing around awkwardly, not talking to anyone. But what made up for that, and for being away from my beloved and snuggly S, were the brilliant, amazing, exciting and exhilarating talks.
The faculty was composed of a generous number of international faculty as well as Australian, with a mix of trauma, vascular, and plastic surgeons, anaesthetists, intensivists, ED physicians, and nurses (all senior trauma coordinators). There were several military surgeons with experience in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of war, as well as a trauma surgeon from New Orleans, and our very own Prof. Fiona Wood – plastic surgeon and Burns specialist extraordinaire.
There were so many standout presentations, case presentation and debates that I can’t really pick a favourite. The thing that really made an impact was Prof Wood’s emphasis that our research and our aim in everyday medical practice is not just to live up to current standards of best practice, but to strive to improve the standards themselves. In her practice this means her goal is not just minimising scar tissue following burns, but in fact, to aim for normal tissue, NO scar at all.
I’ve felt for a while now like all my enthusiasm for medicine has dried up, and during the difficult days before I quit I spent a fair bit of time completing “Are You Burnt Out?” questionnaires online, knowing full well that the answer was “Yes, you idiot.” But sitting through all those presentations on one of the few subjects that has really captured my interest since medical school (namely, trauma), and hearing about all the exciting developments in trauma care, management and rehabilitation (gosh this is a long sentence) was exactly what I needed to reignite the Medical Love Spark again.
I suppose that’s the point of medical conferences. Well, I guess the point is to bring together professionals and enable the sharing of knowledge and debate, but listening to all the inspiring things that are happening on the frontier of field has the effect of getting you fired up, and of refreshing your interest. They allow you to meet the people who are doing the research and to realise that they are, at the same time, both venerable and eminent, but also human beings who have been through the same struggles with careers ladders and other woes.
I hope this doesn’t sound too gushing or wishy-washy, but it’s so nice to be excited about medicine again.
It’s just as well because otherwise the prospect of filling out the mountains of paperwork for locum agencies and back-up job applications for next year would be insurmountable.