I’m writing this post Sunday night because when it publishes on Monday morning, I will still be at the hospital working. I work overnight from 11pm-8am. Does that sound as horrible to you reading it as it does to me writing it? I just can’t take any more night shifts! I hate feeling so off schedule, so tired, so groggy. I hate sleeping the day away, being awake in the evening, napping, and then waking up at 9 or 10pm to go into work. Emergency medicine is not the life for me.
I may be smiling here, but I am quite sleepy!
I am enjoying my actual shifts in the ED. We have a lot of autonomy and often I feel like I’m making decisions on my own and then running them by the consultant after the fact. “Oh, by the way, I sent this person down for an abdominal CT.”
All the upper level EM residents and EM consultants are SUPER nice and really fun to work with, so I guess that helps.
But, the most helpful of all? The nurses.
Seriously the nurses have saved my life about 100 times already. Two night ago I was working “backup” which means you cover one small corner of the ED with 5 beds. You are in charge of those 5 patients throughout the night as they come and go. That little corner of the ED only had one computer for a physician, so there are no other residents or consultants who hang out there- you are the only one. There are 3 nurses working back there, and you. When you want to staff your patient with a consultant, you go find them from another area of the ED.
You’re never completely on your own, and there is always plenty of backup if/when you need it. But, for the minute to minute stuff, and simple questions, you can’t just lean over and ask the senior resident sitting next to you… because no one is sitting next to you!!!!
Luckily, the 3 nurses working with me were all emergency nurses for 10+ years and they knew basically everything. When I had to give a patient with hyperkalemia (high potassium) bicarb, insulin, and dextrose, I had no idea how to order it, how much to give, etc. The nurse knew exactly how to do it and held my hand the whole time. I ran everything by the consultant (patient safety first!!) but without that nurse I would have been SO lost! Whenever I ordered something wrong, didn’t know the best pain med to give, etc, the nurse was there 🙂
Over my last few shifts I’ve seen kidney stones, perforated bowels that need to go to surgery ASAP, strokes, lots of older people falls, lots of influenza, overdoses, teeth pain, headaches, urinary catheter problems, and ONE eye problem- a corneal abrasion 🙂 I don’t dislike working in the ED, but I really dislike the shift-work schedule.
Okay confession time. You know how in my last post I said I would never be the one to not eat during a shift? Well now I know why people say you can’t eat during your ED rotation! In one wing of the ED (the north wing) there is a private doctor room with computers for you to write notes and put in orders. It’s so easy to bring your food in there and eat while you’re working. I never missed meals when I was working in that room (my first 4 shifts). But my last 3 shifts have been in other units of the ED. Those units have big center workstations for the doctors and nurses. These workstations are enclosed in glass, and sit right in the middle of all the patient rooms. It’s basically a front-row view into the doctors work area. So, you can’t eat in there! It’s too close to patient care and it’s not professional to bring food in there. HUGE BUMMER.
So that means that if you actually want to eat, you have to physically leave your workstation which is a problem when you have 5-6 patients who all need things and you have 3 notes to write on patients who already left and there are 4 new blinking room lights meaning new patients who haven’t been seen.
I managed to escape yesterday morning at 4 am to eat my yogurt in the locker room. Peace and quiet!!
After that overnight shift, I slept until about 2 pm and then woke up to have lunch. Soup and a tortilla with cheese for me!
Oh, and ice cream….
Kyle always buys ice cream and then doesn’t eat it. That drives me bananas because then I eat it, every day. Oh well. If someone has to eat the delicious ice cream I guess it can be me 🙂
In the afternoon I got on my treadmill for a nice 5 miles. I did 6 miles the day before! Woo!
I got the Veronica Mars movie on Redox and watched it while I jogged because I finished the 3 seasons on Amazon Prime. Does anyone else watch Veronica Mars? I can’t believe the show just ended with no conclusion!!! I was so mad! I had to watch the movie and see what happened to all the characters!
And then it was nap time before work. I read my new book, the Tiger’s Wife for a while before getting sleepy 🙂
And then I went back to work all over again.
Hope you have a great day! I’ll be napping 🙂