Interviewing Yvonne

Writing this blog and reaching out to the people I was fortunate to meet while they were in Finland, is an amazing way of realizing that being international for me hasn’t always meant necessarily traveling abroad. I bet there is an international community in most places these days. The questions is just how to reach it. Nowadays social media is helpful as there are groups you can easily join and start “emeeting” (a term I first learned in the blogging world and found it quite an accurate one for meeting others only via internet) people.  Also there are so many organizations that are international, for example the previously mentioned CISV that operates world wide.

When I was messaging with Yvonne about the interview she said seems we are all grown ups now. Time does fly and here we can see how some of us end up saving lives! Read my interview with doctor Yvonne. She also taps into the similarities/differences between TV hospitals and the real ones.. 😉

What is your job title?

I am a doctor. Or more specifically: an Anesthesiologist.

Where do you work?

In one of the university hospitals in Germany.

How did you get in to the line of work?

I remember wanting to be a doctor since I was about 15 years old. It was a mixture between being interested in biology (the human body is a quite fascinating thing) and thinking it would be a “cool“ job, influenced by personal medical experiences and maybe some TV series.

Did you feel lucky landing your job?

I found the department I wanted to work in during my last year of studies. It was my only real job application ever, which was actually prewritten on a beer mat late at night in my favorite pub. After receiving the phone call saying they wanted me to work for them, I did multiple, quite embarrassing, dances of joy for the rest of the day telling everyone I got THE JOB.

What qualifications are needed?

To be a doctor in general, you need to somehow get into med school and make your way through a minimum of 5-6 years of quite hard studies. After graduation, you are free to choose your specialty. What it takes to become an anesthesiologist? Well, prejudices say a high caffeine tolerance… In the moments between drinking coffee, sitting around and being the most laid-back person in the whole hospital, you need a profound understanding of the human physiology, pharmacology, some manual skills and the ability to stay calm and focus on your work in critical situations.

Are you striven by the work you do or your paycheck?

Definitely by the work itself. I won’t lie – the money is nice, I like to spend it and financial security feels great after years of multiple side jobs. But as my paycheck is not as big as everyone thinks and it is hard-earned in many stressful late night hours with a lot of responsibility, I would suggest another job if you’re only interested in the money.

Does your work match your expectations?

It exceeds my expectations in many ways. I have learned more – about medicine, other people and myself. I have seen more fascinating and horrible things. I have had more fun and more fear. All in all, I still think I made the right choice.

Describe a basic day at work. Does it vary day by day?

It varies a lot, which is one of the things I like most about my job. You never know what the day, or the next patient, will bring. I work in the ICU, the OR and in emergency medicine. My shift starts at 7am, 2pm or 10pm. There’s some routine work for every shift, but the patients are always different, so it rarely gets boring.

What is the most exciting thing about your work and why?

Performing a manual anesthesiological skill for the first time, being part of a big or challenging surgery, finding out what the cause of a patients bad condition is, successfully dealing with critical situations… A lot of excitement can be found!

What do you get asked about your job by friends and family?

When is your next free evening/weekend? Is there ever any?- Well, there is a free Wednesday this week and also Sunday morning before work…
Is there as much kissing colleagues in the supply closet and/or the on call room as shown on TV? – Sadly, no. How does it feel to be awake for 24 hours on call/ to work several night shifts in a row? – It feels like shit. You fall asleep in your garage because you are too tired to get out of the car. You misspell your own name after paying for your breakfast with credit card. You forget your mother’s birthday because you have no clue what day it is at the moment. Could you have a quick look on this super disgusting rash/ingrown toenail/… – No!

What is the best part of your job?

Saving lives for a living 😉
Or, a little less heroically spoken, helping people get better, being part of a patient’s recovery or managing to get them safely through their surgery. An honest “thank you” feels like the best reward ever.

Do you have bad days or moments? Why?

People spit/shit/bleed/puke/piss on us. We are beaten, bitten and screamed at. There is a lot of suffering, tragedy and pain to be seen. And sometimes we can’t help, even if we do our best.

Do you have any advice for people considering your line of work?

In my opinion, your best chance to stay happy and mentally sane in this job is to find some kind of passion for a certain specialty. Your job will be a big part of your life, it’s best you enjoy doing it. (That might be my advice for any line of work, actually…) Sometimes even at 3 am or for 24 hours straight.

Thank you Yvonne!

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