Most doctors are drawn to the profession because they want to use their skills and expertise to care for people. Often however, the demands of the job means they neglect to take care of themselves.For Dr Kavya Kudithipudi, locum work helped her rediscover her mojo after a stressful year working as an Obstetric and Gynaecology Registrar in 2017.
“I worked between 50 and 80 hours a week and just got really, really burnt out,” recalls Dr Kavya. “I was exhausted and I needed to rest and recharge. It took me a while to get over the burnout. That’s when I discovered locum work.”
“As a locum I worked for one week out of every four and I was making roughly the same money as I did when I was working 80 hours a week. The pay was really nice but the flexibility was a huge part of it. I was offered different jobs and the agencies I worked for were happy for me to pick and choose the ones I wanted.”
Dr Kavya is currently doing her GP training in Sydney and appreciates the fact that it is less hectic than hospital work.
“It's still busy but general practice is busy in a different way. You’re not on call and you don’t have to work night shifts so it’s much easier to live a normal life. In saying that, working full-time as a GP is mentally draining. You have 15 minute consults back-to-back and that is all day, every day. People come in to see you with not one but three or four problems. To try and understand their medical history, do an exam, make a plan for the medical issues they have, give them some reassurance, educate them about how to look after themselves better, and get them out the door in 15 minutes is challenging.”
Social media savvy
Dr Kavya has turned to social media as a platform to educate people about health and wellness.
“I spend a lot of time in my GP practice educating patients about various health conditions and discussing preventative measures but there is so much misinformation out there. There are lots of health and wellness influencers on social media giving all kinds of exercise advice or quoting research studies but not interpreting that research correctly. The worrying thing is it’s one of the main ways people are consuming health information. I thought it would be good for doctors to engage with people on social media platforms to help counter some of the misinformation with the facts.”
Dr Kavya and her husband Dr Raja Chaganti, a medical oncology registrar, post regularly on social media as @TwoAussieDoctors.
“We are still working out what people engage with online but we’ve had so much good feedback saying how helpful our posts are,” says Dr Kavya. “We use plain English and avoid using too much jargon. Our goal is to make health information more accessible.”