Friday, July 06, 2007

First call

So my first call night came off relatively well. Though in medical school I thought it the limits of my ability to follow four patients at one time, on this particular 30 hour shift I admitted five, learning all their complicated stories at one time, and without the safety net of an intern above me basically doing the work. I had honestly not realized that it was possible to remain in motion for 30 hours. Not even once did my head hit the pillow in my call room. But it wasn't as horrible as I had feared. The only patient who died was one whom we had transitioned to "comfort care," as the family had recognized the inevitable. And I was able to handle all the questions I was paged without needing to bother the senior. But nevertheless, at about 4am, I had pretty much decided that I picked the wrong field, or at least the wrong specialty. Very few laboratory chemists work 30 shifts as part of a group hazing ritual.

The uneasiness continued to morning rounds. I had not gotten a chance to do more than write down vitals and say "hi" to my patients, by no means getting a thorough exam on each of them, before it was time to start.

My fears were rapidly dispelled. About halfway through my first presentation, my attending stopped me and presented the most welcome piece of constructive criticism I've yet heard. He said "stop. I have no doubt that in three years, you're going to be one of the strongest residents in the program, but you're presenting like a medical student." He then proceeded to tell me exactly how to present as an intern. Noted. Afterwards though, the fear came back, as the fellow drew me aside as said "Dr. Ricker was complimentary, but just remember that your presentations were only acceptable for being the first week. If you are still presenting like that at the end of our weeks, we're going to have problems." Also noted.

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