This is an important and busy day for all academic hospitals. The day that all of the residents who finally figured out how things work move up and on to other things and you get stuck with the interns, fresh out of medical school (or in my case, dental school). I realized today that even though I am finally a 2nd year with some clout, I am treated as an intern on other rotations. So maybe I haven’t really moved up in the world yet. Ha ha!
Here is a little info about my transition/sampling into the life of a general surgeon.
I arrived at 5:25 am for my first day in pediatric surgery. I was nervous as I had no idea what to really expect. I get nervous even about simple things like presenting in rounds, even after 2 years, and especially in front of my MD colleagues. I don’t want to stick out too much. Sometimes I feel like I’m an imposter! or a spy. I don’t want to be caught (especially by patients) pretending to be an MD. I want to just blend in.
We made up our list of patients (16) and gathered the data. Then, we rounded as a big group. I felt like a dentist when I needed a stethoscope and didn’t have one. I have used Abe’s until now but he is back in clinics so took it back for his own use. Luckily, my mother-in-law is amazing and when I couldn’t borrow one from my physician father-in-law, she bought me this and delivered it right to the pediatric floor at about 10:30 am without me even saying anything. So nice! I guess Abe asked if they had an extra and since they didn’t, she took the initiative. A late birthday present? And so nice to see a friendly face when you are feeling out of your element.
12:00 noon: Not so nice: mean nurses. Had a particularly bad run-in with one who was very rude and unprofessional when she accused us of joking around and walked out on us when we in fact where being quite serious about our patient’s condition. That’s all I’ll say on that.
1:00 It took all morning to write up the notes because I didn’t know much initially about the patients. We fielded some nursing questions and a few new consults, including to the NICU (which is fun to see all the cute little babies). I realize I know nothing about guts (a lot of pediatric surgery has to do with colon and stomach problems), baby formula (Marci, can you help with this?), and babies in general. I should learn a lot this month. Also reaffirmed how many people die, are mangled, maimed on ATVs.
3:00 Finally, about 3:00 I made it to the OR for a laproscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). I got to maneuver the video-scope and suture a 1 cm wound. I know, be impressed! I was feeling very tired and sore at this point (residual effects from a long day in the OR yesterday I suppose). The child had a very loose baby tooth that I helped wiggle out (with my fingers) so she wouldn’t aspirate (swallow it into her lungs). Finally, something I know!
About 5:30 we finally rounded again with our staff doctor. By then we probably had 20 patients. I have a headache. My masseters hurt (the muscles on the angle of your jaw).
6:45 “Erin you can go home.” I don’t question. I don’t linger. I say, “OK!” and leave.
I survived my first day. I think it will be okay. I also think it will be very busy. And I will definitely be humbled.
Duty Hours logged: 5:30 am – 6:45 pm
Time off between shifts: 11 hours 15 minutes