Multi Story Edinburgh

Hannah - Class of 2020 - Being stranded in Australia, feeling supported and yearning for dinner parties.

March 25, 2021 The University of Edinburgh Season 1 Episode 25
Multi Story Edinburgh
Hannah - Class of 2020 - Being stranded in Australia, feeling supported and yearning for dinner parties.
Show Notes Transcript

Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode twenty five we meet MBChB graduate Hannah.

Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.

All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh. 

Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.

Music: Since When by Mise Darling. 

Sonia Mullineux (host)  0:07  
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one, class of 2020.

Hannah  0:18  
So I'm Hannah Douglas and I studied at Edinburgh medical school. So I studied medicine. And so that was for six years. So from 2014 to 2020. I am currently working in St. John's Hospital in Livingston as a junior doctor. And when we're junior doctors, you change jobs every four months for the first two years to sort of get a good base knowledge and base understanding, from an education point of view, while also it helps you decide what sort of jobs you might be interested in for the future. So even though I've not been working for that long, I've actually already had a couple of jobs. And then because of everything that's happened, I actually graduated a few months early and started working, last year. 

Hannah  1:05  
When everything kicked off, I was actually in Australia. So in the final year of medical school, we do something called our elective, where basically, you've got six weeks, and you can do whatever you want. So most people try and go as far away somewhere hot, if possible. So the most popular places are in the Caribbean or Australia. But then other people go to various other places - some stay in the UK, and just depending on our budgets and interests. But me and three of my best friends had been planning for over a year to go to Australia. And it's quite fast, that application, you've got to apply to all the sorts of different hospitals and affiliated universities individually. And then we finally get there, like the sixth, seventh of March, just when things are starting to sort of kick off. And we were over there having the best time and our mums started telling us to come home and we were like they're just jealous. And then eventually, I think it was the day before Boris announced lockdown. And we were like, We should probably leave. So we started trying to flee. And that proved very difficult. And I had to fly back the wrong way around the world. 

Hannah  2:16  
So yeah, in terms of what I missed out, on missed out on another four weeks, I think of that placement, and just sort of as much as it's a placement, everyone also has a great time and makes the most of evenings, off weekends off. We did a bit of travelling, but missed out on another four weeks of placement and four weeks of fun. And then we'd have had another six weeks of what's called our assistantship, which is basically that's when you learn how to be a junior doctor, that's when everyone says.  The rest of medical school is all the knowledge, all the sort of theory..... you do have a lot of practical, obviously, in the last three years are on the wards as much practical as possible. But really, the the six weeks at the end is when you're being a junior doctor, but you're obviously very heavily looked after very heavily supported. You're sort of buddied up with someone that's just graduated the year before. And everyone says, Oh, it's great. That's, that's when you learn everything. So we obviously didn't have that. But we were very grateful we'd already had our exams, like our big exams were before we went away, whereas a lot of other medical schools have them quite a bit later on. So then it ended up being that the medical school were like, you guys need to do something. One, you're sitting around doing nothing. And also the NHS is really struggling right now it seems silly. All you people who could work in two months, are just sitting at home. So Edinburgh I think was one of if not the first medical school in the UK to realise that and started going to our sort of professional body and was like, we need to graduate these people because that's the thing, since it's like a professional degree, we have to get our registration and there's all the like legality of it. This new job appeared called interim foundation year one doctors. So then we were basically doing what would have been our assistantship, but getting paid. And that ended up being amazing, because the whole thing about starting work for anyone but I think especially as a doctor is it's terrifying. And you're chucked in the deep end. As much as medical school tries to prepare us there's so much you don't really learn until you're actually working. So we were very grateful that us starting work in April instead of August, meant that it was a time when the NHS has never been so well staffed. And since our role didn't exist before, there was more levels of people above us than there would normally be to support us. 

Hannah  4:54  
And at that time, the hospitals were busy from a COVID point of view, but quiet on most other wards, and Scotland was nowhere near as bad as my friends that work down in England. So it was, it was a lot of time for us to learn and a lot of time for us to find our feet. I think it probably worked out being around 10 weeks, I was on that sort of interim job as it was called, and I was working with the renal department at the Royal Infirmary. They were so lovely, and they're such a nice team. But there was way less patients than there would normally be because a lot of their patient population would have been in the shielding category, and they weren't doing transplants - they did emergency transplants, obviously, but the workload was a lot less. So as much as I was well supported and stuff, there was also less opportunities for learning and education and all that sort of thing. I really enjoyed it. But I probably wouldn't say actually properly if I my feet until my first job in August, because that's when it felt real. We were now that role. And there was no longer the sort of extra layer on the hierarchy, let's say, of the medical profession. And that's when I was like, Okay, this is this is happening now. And that's when you definitely felt we had more responsibility.

Hannah  6:13  
I do feel like I've just sort of been going along, Okay, next week, next week, next week, like just go, go go. And then sometimes I think it's sort of the days that you've got a day off or a bit of annual leave, you're just sort of sad. They're like, Oh, my gosh, I live with my boyfriend. And we were talking about it saying like, Oh, my gosh, this time last year, we hadn't even sat our final exams, like we were, we were revising for our finals right now. Like, wow, like, just just think about the past year like.... So yeah, I have reflected a little bit. And it's just... it has been a bit crazy hasn't it?! 

Hannah  6:49  
I am someone that finds relaxing quite difficult! So yeah, a very stereotypical medical student....but I found that that's something that I really sort of learned out of the past year is, how to relax and how to slow down a bit more. And I definitely think that's been a good thing, I sort of felt less pressure to always be doing something and always, always have something on the go. And I realised there's like nothing wrong with just sort of chilling out for for an afternoon for an evening a day, whereas I used to have like quite a packed diary. So I feel I found a better balance now, for example, in my week off last week, I tried to just sort of do one thing a day. So like, see, one person - one cold, wet walk was was enough! You hope that myself as an individual and sort of everyone, as a collective will, will have slowed down and realise the importance of that little trip to the coffee shop or that hug with the family member or, or whatever. But I do have a worry that as soon as all systems go, do what you want, that everyone will just go mental, at least for the first, I don't know, month or so - I can see myself doing that to be quite honest. But I hope that after maybe that first couple of weeks or months of madness, that people go, okay, I've had my fill, I've reminded myself of what the before was like, and now let's try and find a happy medium.

Sonia Mullineux (host)  8:24  
We also asked our graduates to share a place somewhere special, somewhere we can get together. When all this has finished.

Hannah  8:31  
It seems silly to say this would be my place because it is the place that I have spent the vast majority of the time recently. But I would say my flat, like I love organising and hosting and all that sort of thing. And my group of friends, we loved a dinner party, a themed dinner party. And that was something we were all really looking forward to once we had a bit more money, sort of make those dinner parties even nicer. And it's just a good way to enjoy each others' company. And I just moved into this flat once I started working back in May. And it's a small flat, it's very cosy. And I've only had my friends over like a couple of times. I had one - we still talk about this! - one cheese and wine night back in August with some new friends I'd made at work. And we all got on so well. We had such a nice time. And we were like that's it, every month now, a different one of us is hosting a cheese and wine. And they were all like, Oh, this is so nice. We've got a group of girls. We've met some new work friends. Great. And then yeah, it was like the next day that the rules changed back. And we were like, oh, okay, I'm only thinking that would be on hold for a couple months rather than sort of another six or whatever. But yeah, I just want more of that like more people in my flat, me being able to sort of host and potter around and do another cheese and wine, do another dinner party or, or something like that. So you'd think I'd be sick of my flat, but I think I just, I just really enjoyed it as a space and I just think it's something that I want to share with my, my friends and my family a bit more because I've become so comfortable and so happy here that it seems weird that like some of my closest friends have only been here once or twice. So yeah, I just want a big dinner party.

Sonia Mullineux (host)  10:35  
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.

Kirsten Roche  10:50  
Wherever you always planning for your future, the Careers Service is here to support you. As a recent graduate, you can continue to use all of our services, including full access to My Career Hub, online appointments with our career consultants, our full calendar of employer events and support with the application process. Find out more at

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