Reflections of a medical intern on life after uni

In January this year I started my life ‘in the real world’ - as the life of a university graduate is often called. After 20 straight years in the education system, concluding with 6 years at university, my time had finally come to be released into the world and find my place in working society. This thought was as terrifying as it was liberating!

My name is Tim, I’m a medical graduate from UTAS. I completed my undergraduate training in Hobart and spent my last 2 years at the Rural Clinical School in Burnie. As of the beginning of 2014 I work as a medical intern, or “junior-most-doctor”, at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

I’ve been asked several times to describe my first few months of work. I the analogy of a rollercoaster seems most appropriate to describe my year so far. Along with the ascensions into feelings of empowerment, mastery and triumph that go with a position of medical influence, there has been no shortage of plummeting descents into uncertainty, doubt and powerlessness!

On Day 1, I was placed in a team of two more senior doctors and a variety of other allied health professionals responsible for looking after an ever changing list of patients. As an intern you are the initial port of call for most of matters concerning the patients under the care of your medical team. While not every decision rested solely upon my shoulders, I was often the one responsible for ensuring all the plans came to pass and all correspondence went smoothly. I didn't really have a proper opportunity to orient myself to the dynamic and often chaotic organism which is a hospital. So this was a challenging transition period and there were times where saying that I felt ‘out of my depth’ just wouldn't cut it!

Just on 4 months in now, there continues to be ups and downs. But every now and then I have a moment of reflection, often after a minor triumph, where I think about how far I have come from the beginning and this astonishes me.

One of the personal developments in my postgraduate life so far is my spiritual maturity and understanding of God’s calling. When I first got into medical school, I was thrilled because a future of being in a position to help people in a time of need seemed to align so closely with the practice of serving and glorifying God. What I’ve found over the year is that the experience of serving God in medicine did not come as ‘automatically’ as I first thought it might.

On numerous occasions at the end of the day I’ve been left wondering, ‘How did my works glorify God today?' What I am in the process of discovering is that practicing medicine does not put me in any better position to serve God than would any other vocation. And it certainly doesn’t provide a default means to fulfil God’s calling in my life.

Ultimately my purpose here on earth is to be a servant of God and it isn’t by merely 'doing medicine' that I can achieve this. Not by works but by honouring God and being a faithful servant will I discover the wonderful plans He has in store for me in medicine and in the rest of life.

Tim Andrewartha graduated in 2013 and is now a Medical Intern at the Royal Hobart Hospital