Layla's space

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Working in the sticks

I moved jobs a few months ago (or 'rotated' as the Deanery would have it) and am currently working in a District General Hospital just outside London. When I told a few friends and colleagues where I was going to be working, there were a few sniggers (including from me) and jokes about local yokels, chavs etc and generally about the contrast between this place and the large London teaching hospital I was working at previously.

Actually, I much prefer it here. In my (relatively limited) experience, large teaching hospitals are rather dysfunctional. The administration side of things at my previous place of work was a nightmare - the secretaries were off sick half the time (and they were pretty piss poor when they were there). There are far too many people with their heads up their arses in a lot of these big places, who are only out to puff up their own over-inflated egos. More 'lowly' staff are demoralised and bored, and have no incentive to do a good job. They therefore tend to be monumentally unhelpful and trying to get anything done/ordered/chased up is a major drama. If you need to order a slightly unusual test, or get something done urgently, you get put on hold umpteen times and pushed from pillar to post, department to department, because it's not anybody's responsibility. 'That's not my job' is a favourite phrase.

Here, however, I have found almost everyone to be incredibly friendly and helpful. There is more of a sense of community I suppose, everyone knows everyone else (or it seems that way, though it's not that small a hospital) and therefore seems more inclined to help you and point you in the right direction. If you need an echocardiogram result, for example, you just call up Maureen in Cardiology and she'll fax it to you. My old teaching hospital? Forget it - there was never anyone to answer the phone in the echo department, they refused to fax results and tended to lose most of them anyway. I used to go to the department myself and look through their (useless) filing system until I found the result I needed.

In the Oncology Department, people are generally a bit saner. In my (again, rather limited) experience, Oncology Consultants in teaching hospitals are generally mad. Usually very good at their jobs, but mad as a bag of cats. Mad, and they all hate each other, which results in a horrible, snidey, competitive atmosphere in the department. Here, amazingly, they all seem to get on. They seem to actually care about their trainees (ie us), and seem to be relatively sane (there are, of course, exceptions).

There are downsides to working in a DGH, of course - mainly lack of resources. So for example, getting urgent scans can be difficult due to staff shortages, machines breaking down, etc. There is a 'longer than there should be' wait for treatment in the Radiotherapy department at the moment as they've just laid off a few radiographers (yeah, smart move Mr Chief Executive - you've saved money on their salaries but now we're going to get fined millions for not hitting cancer treatment targets - well done you).

But anyway, all in all, I feel less stressed out (now I've said that I'm undoubtedly going to have a really stressful day today), more appreciated and generally happier at work. Oh, and did I mention that I usually leave work on time these days?

Just call me Dr Local Yokel - I'm a total convert.