Health warning to a young clinician

Rebecca Quinn is an inner-city GP, who occasionally encounters the sublime amongst the daily grind of people that she had the privilege of calling her patients


Even our ‘fresher’ GP colleagues can be bemused when receiving an angry telephone call resulting from an inaccessible service. It can be discouraging and confusing when a hitherto positive therapeutic relationship over several years is reduced to nothing or generates a complaint, a consequence of failing to meet a patient’s expectations. My heart goes out to all of us, who have been ‘set up to fail’. Take heart and glove up – the work must go on…

Health warning to a young clinician:

in our profession, we must beware
of what might come through the door,
what might be waiting on the other end of the line
what we summon up with a push of the button.

masquerading as innocent,
posing bright as soft blossom,
waiting with hands outstretched:
smiling, nodding,
Self obsessed.

And when you reach out to take those hands
And offer to ease those burdens,
Dress the hurt, and pill away the pain,
Wear gloves.

For sharper than the flick of a neon switch

The bond can dissect;
A searing rip that tears
right the way down to the root of the heart
driving out breath with pain.

That traitor unseen,
That lurking aneurysm
and floods the room, hot anger
that pulses
and sucks
and burns wild..

We are not allowed to move,
Just to stand.

And after the rage, we
desperate for air
Clawing for equilibrium;
upsetting the layers of discarded words
and the charred ash of good intentions.

Beware the thorns.

The scars make for tougher hands.
But still, my friend
Glove the heart, before you call.

Featured photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

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