14 Oct 2020

my august 2019 - august 2020 work notebook by katie leamon

In the UK, junior doctors rotate every August. From August 2019 - August 2020, I decided not to do, what we call, a 'training job'. This meant that the year did not count towards my future training in whatever specialty I choose (which happens to be urology). This was fine with me and this 'year out' was intentional. I applied for a clinical fellow role which had a large educational chunk to it and it was an amazing year. The highlights were the people I met during the year, the projects I got involved in and started personally and just seeing the difference I had made with the things I had done.

The educational element was something I had never encountered before; being a junior doctor here in the UK is very much 100% clinical time. This role gave me 60% educational time. To try and stay organised, I cracked out this Katie Leamon notebook. With its 300 pages, I was confident it would be enough for this year. Famous last words, eh? It was just enough for the year. You can see how battered it was after constant use... Just look at that spine!

I used post-it notes and Avery note tabs to separate out the different sections that were often referenced. By the end, this is what the top of the notebook looked like.

Every week, I would write at least two to-do lists. The one thing with education was I realised how much slower things can be. As someone who likes to see instant results (hence my choice to go into surgical training), I struggled with this a bit initially. However, over time, I began to sit back a bit and let things run their course.

My to-do lists were often long (usually longer than the one below but this was the one which had the fewest points with identifiable/confidential information on it). You can see that I almost used a bullet journal-esque key to denote a completed or cancelled task.

Below, I've taken a picture of a project I did outside of this role. I did some reading about renal and ureteric stones and these were the notes I took. Unfortunately, I can't show you something from the educational side as some of it is still a work in progress or is in the process of (hopefully) being published.

So this was the notebook which got me through a year of many projects and a lot of educational work. What I really loved about the year was how concentrating on things outside of clinical work made me want to go back into training; and how my clinical days made me miss my educational work!

I think it'll mean that I will always have an element of educational-related activities to my career at every stage and I'm curious to see what the future holds for me in this regard.

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