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Don’t talk to me about resilience …

22 January 2020 British Medical Association

Hollow words about coping and resilience are not only patronising but make doctors who face unsustainable pressures feel it is their fault if they are struggling, says emergency medicine consultant Shewli Rahman.

I arrived for my on-call, parked, sat in my car and realised I couldn’t get out. This wasn’t a bad day, bad week, or even a bad month. I simply didn’t want to be a doctor any more.

I wanted it all to stop. I had been an emergency medicine consultant for nearly seven years. As with my colleagues, I was willing to work hard, to put in the long hours and to sacrifice time with friends and family. My father, a first-generation Bangladeshi immigrant, had instilled in me the belief that every problem could be overcome if you put in the right amount of time and effort.

However, after 20 years as a doctor, I had had enough; enough of the hostile conversations, the unrelenting pressure, the unsafe and chaotic working environment. I got through the day, hanging on by my fingernails. A few weeks later I resigned my consultant post and walked away from my job.

Read Dr Rahman’s observations on resilience here.