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Nick Hopkinson: “When you are young they assume you know nothing…” July 27, 2021 I can clearly remember forming the thought, on my first clinical attachment as a medical student, that I’d never know enough to be a medical registrar. These awesome figures, holding everything in the hospital together, seemed simply beyond my reach.

Source: The BMJ Opinion

Does "These awesome figures" refer to "These powerful people"?

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It refers to the medical registrars:

The medical registrar in the acute on-call and out-of-hours setting is usually considered to be one of the busiest and most challenging jobs in the entire hospital.

Nick thought he'd never know enough to be one of them, which he states he finds awesome because they hold everything together.

In that phrase, figure would be meaning 4 here (basically, a person). And meanings 1a or 1b of awesome would fit.

These awesome figures <=> These awesome people

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