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Just like having ‘L’ plates

I’m not proud of it but when I was learning to drive I used to sweat profusely during every single lesson. I felt like I would never be able to grasp thinking about so many things at the same time whilst avoiding crashing into an oncoming (or even parked) vehicle.

Last week, on my first day of clinical medicine after a year studying for an intercalated BSc felt just like that. Asked to perform an abdominal examination on a patient in front of my peers and I genuinely wondered how I was going to keep it together. The reality of the next three years of study has hit me like a tonne of bricks but I realise that I must not allow ‘panic’ to be the operative word here.

I now operate in autopilot when driving a car, often getting from A to B and not even remembering changing gears once throughout the journey. I don’t expect my medical career to be quite that simple but I do expect that the sweating will subside and I’ll become more confident with every patient interaction I have. Until then, I think that my notepad and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine should indicate (much like my ‘L’ plates once did) that I am a ‘learner’ and therefore require a little care and patience to be taken around me.

Chantal Cox-George will blog from the perspective of a medical student interested in general practice. Use the hashtag #nextgenerationGP to join in the conversation and follow her @NextgenGP