One of the things which I had taken for granted were “free” weekends when I was in graduate school. By “free,” I mean my ability to pop into lab for a few hours and then leave to actually enjoy the city. Now that I have fully entered into third year, I miss these “free” weekends.
For the past few weeks, I have been on my surgery rotation.
When I am not in the hospital, I am either sleeping or in the library. Even though I have been enjoying what I am learning (there is SO much to learn), I have missed just not thinking or being on the go, and I have definitely missed just taking a weekend off.
It did not help that one of the aspects of this rotation included taking a weekend and night call. What this entails is doing a 12hr shift on a weekend and another one during the evening. It is done so that we get a better idea of the specialty and so that we get to see more- especially more trauma.
Weekend and night calls are fun for the most part.
On the weekends, there was a lot to do and a lot to learn. I actually got to see a few patients and participate in their plan of care. In fact, I also got to practice putting stitches in, which was quite the experience especially since I was really nervous.
The most exciting and scary thing was triaging the trauma patients with the surgery team. Seeing people come in after car crashes or other trauma full of blood and seeing how organized the trauma triage is, was great for me in terms of learning. Being able to participate in it, made me feel like my medical education was getting pretty real! In fact, it made me think a lot about the fact that I will be a resident in 2019 (but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves). Overall, despite being exhausted from working all week and then having to work during the weekend, I learned a lot.
Overnight calls were a bit more challenging. Changing my schedule so that I became a night owl was hard for me. I managed to get through it, but was I tired (this is an understatement). Nights were much calmer and there was less to do, which kind of sucked, but I did get to scrub into a procedure I had not seen before. Unfortunately, my lack of sleep also made me forget how to put in stitches which did not go over well with the resident 😳.
When I had finished my shift, I felt delirious. Since I was at an away hospital in Queens, I managed to haul an Uber to get back into the city. When I got home, I passed out. I am sure that residents are used to this by now, but my overnight call was hard for me in terms of keeping up my energy and sharpness levels. Hats off to the residents who are on overnight!
The good thing about being on call at Queens was that I got to leave the city for a bit. Even though I have not gotten to see much of the city lately (I literally get to hospital before the sun comes up and leave after the sun sets), being away gave me a different perspective of what being a doctor entails in different communities, in how diverse patients are, and was a breath of fresh air. I think for the most part, I take for granted that I am at an institution that has so many resources for our patients. It was good for me to remember that it is not this way everywhere and that being a good physician is paramount in taking care of patients and that knowledge eventually trumps all.
How are you doing?