• Self care strategies for doctors in training

    Working as a doctor in training is physically and emotionally draining. Many young doctors fear a loss of face, reputation and pride if they are seen to be suffering from fatigue, stress or any health condition whether it is caused by or exacerbated by their clinical work.

    However, it is up to you to have preventative strategies in place and to know when it is time to take action and get support. Prevention is better than cure and when help is needed it is important to know where to access it.

    Below we have outlined some of the fundamental things you need to have in place that go some way to helping you emerge unscathed from your training years.

    Adopt a mentor

    Some more mature or senior doctors take the role of mentor seriously and see it as a privilege. Mentoring is increasingly common in most businesses and industries so the same should apply in medicine. Think of someone you related to well as a student and make contact to see if you could catch up for coffee from time to time. Do it prophylactically and don't wait until you need it therapeutically! Ideally, intermittent contact can continue throughout your training years.

    Keep close relations with your peers

    Now that residents are no longer 'resident' (i.e. living in), it's very easy to become socially isolated from your peers. Yes, you bump into them constantly when you're on the wards or in the emergency department, but everyone seems to rush home at the end of their shift. It's important you get some time out with your peers and "chew the fat". Catch up in the hospital café or residents' quarters after finishing work. Debrief each other; lean on each other.

    Key contacts to have at hand

    Doctors' Health Advisory Services

    Know how to contact the Doctors' Health Advisory Service in your State: You may not need this service yourself, but it is a handy phone number to have to give to a colleague in distress.


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