It’s time to get Scrub’d up! Order now. 

by Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya 


If you follow my Instagram (@scribblingsofamedic), it is no secret that a change in my career was imminent. However, instead of leaving everyone guessing I thought I would write a little post about the big change in my career and my future plans.

This little paediatric pt from my intern days came to say bye to me! That’s his mother at the back laughing (she gave me permission for this picture).

After a year of going back and forth with numerous pro-con lists, I have heartbreakingly decided to resign from government service. It has most definitely NOT been an easy decision, I took a year to decide. There was no drama, I love the government sector – there is no better place to gain experience. The teaching in Sri Lanka is amazing, better than many countries and you get to do a lot of hands-on work. As a surgical intern, I was able to do a hernia repair and an appendicectomy. The gratitude you get from treating patients in rural areas is definitely unmatched. With the help of my pro-con list though I was able to determine whether staying in the government sector is a good option for me. Below I’ve listed a little bit of my career thus far along with the reasons behind me resigning.

A bit of my background

I was assigned to work in a District General Hospital about 4 hours outside Colombo for my internship. Internship was obviously and understandably tough, but I pushed through and absolutely loved it! I stayed on for post-internship as RHO (2nd year) despite the chance to mutually transfer with someone working closer to Colombo. The reason I stayed on then was because I was already was very comfortable at my current hospital – I knew all the consultants, doctors, nurses, and minor staff. I knew how the hospital functioned and I worked well with everyone. As mentioned in my previous blog, I ended up in the NICU against my will but ended up enjoying it so much despite the stress.

Listed below are some of the reasons why I made the choice to leave the government sector.

  • Reason number 1 – Postgraduate plans

As weird as it sounds, I have always loved studying, but realized that after internship my motivation was dwindling. I knew that if I waited any longer, then I would be too lazy to specialize and this was something I have always wanted to do. So during my RHO year, I went through every single prospectus available on the PGIM Sri Lanka website to decide what fits me best. I got a lot of advice (both solicited and unsolicited) from many people, but I finally found a subject that would fit the lifestyle I wanted. See as much as I love medicine, I also have other loves such as travelling – which I don’t have any time at all to do right now. It is really important to find a specialty that suits you. Whilst considering the entry requirements for the programme, it was clear that they wanted lesser years of service if you were a private candidate than if you were a candidate from the government sector. So it obviously made a lot of sense to do my postgraduate exams via the private sector despite the fact that they take very few candidates through the private sector.

  • Reason number 2 – Distance

Travelling up and down between Colombo and my peripheral appointment, more than 4 hours each way, was EXHAUSTING and it did get to me. It was like I was living two very different lives and I hated having to leave my family weeks on end just to finish my shifts for the month. It came to a point that the road travelling was more exhausting to me than work itself and so I would have to leave half a day earlier just to make sure I get some rest before the shift. Not to mention all the crazy maniac road drivers and narrow bendy roads – motion sickness inducing!

  • Reason number 3 – A life outside medicine

From the beginning of my blog, I have always wanted to make it clear that doctors do have a life outside of medicine. Seeing a doctor at the grocery store, a dance class or even a party should not be that shocking. We are still human and we still have a life outside of work. With the constant travelling, I really had to give up most of my hobbies which isn’t the greatest when you work in a stressful environment. Spinning (exercise) to me has really become therapeutic which is why you will see me run for a class any chance I get. Even though Sri Lankan doctors work endless hours with no rest, that wasn’t a lifestyle I ever wanted. Doctors in the UK definitely have a more balanced work-home life and this is something I am determined to achieve despite juggling 150 projects! Don’t get me wrong I like being busy, I just wish I had more time to do things I enjoy though instead of just watching my life pass me by.

It is also important to me to let junior doctors and medical students know that they should have a life outside of medicine. When your job is stressful as hell, it consumes you and you need a distraction, you need other hobbies. It’s cheaper than therapy!

  • Reason number 4 – Getting my mental health in check

I tend to take on a lot of work on my plate just by habit and so balancing it all started becoming more than just a juggling act. My job at the NICU is very stressful and I didn’t look forward to going to work anymore. Despite my usual bubbly persona, I think my close family started to realise this. So I basically realised that I need to take a few weeks to get my headspace right again.

So, all in all, that’s my story! Obviously, I will still be working (just in a private practice setting) and this blog will still continue. I just need a small break from work to start focusing on studying for the selection exam – my postgraduate will be revealed all in due course don’t worry. My final piece of advice is to start looking at the postgraduate prospectuses if you plan on specializing in Sri Lanka, as soon as you finish medical school. The further along your training you go the more you will refine your list of postgraduate choices so just have a look after you finish medical school. I’ve included the PGIM link above so take a look!

I will still be uploading and sharing my clinical/personal adventures on Instagram and this blog, so please do give it a follow and spread the word!

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Hi there!

Hi there! Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a medical doctor in Sri Lanka, currently training in Family Medicine. Navigating the healthcare system in Sri Lanka is no easy task and this website was created to help guide other foreign medical graduates and junior doctors. This website also helps demystify life as a doctor in Sri Lanka and also combats medical misinformation circulating amongst the general public!