Monday, January 23, 2012

Call Hierarchy of Needs

Now that I am not on call, all day, every day, I have found there is a certain behavioral pattern emerging on my call days. Something similar to Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs," if you will.

First Goal - Be able to leave the hospital. You may laugh, but some days it is d*mn near impossible to do. I am always figuring and re-figuring in my head if I am going to be able to go home that night, or if I will wind up being stuck until after office hours the next day.
*First goal bonus if I am able to leave the hospital before my children's bedtime, so much the better to actually *see* them.

Second Goal - Shower at home. This seems like an odd one, I know, but I *hate* to shower in the hospital call room bathroom. It just is not the same, and it also slightly squicks me out. So if I achieve the first goal, I proceed immediately to goal number 2 as soon as I step foot in the door.

Third Goal - Eat. This rule has stayed the same since residency, "eat when you can."
*Third goal bonus if I actually getting to eat with my family or if I am not eating something like Ramen noodles.

Fourth Goal - Spend (somewhat) quality time with family (while obsessively keeping one eye on the computer L&D and ER census for potential roadblocks to goal number five).
*Fourth goal bonus if I am able to tuck my children in for bedtime and maintain a normal evening routine before getting called back to the hospital.

Fifth Goal - Sleep in my own bed. This one is a bit more elusive, as you can imagine.
*Fifth goal bonus if I get to sleep in my own bed *all night long.* (HA HA! Almost never happens.)
**Extra bonus if I get no pages while I am sleeping in said own bed, and wake up the next day frantically checking my pager to be certain the battery hasn't expired. (Again, elusive.)

Let's face it 5/5 goals happens once in a blue (full) moon. If I am able to achieve 4/5 goals, I feel pretty good about my call night. Satisfaction with the night decreases exponentially with each goal not met, naturally. Before I am derided, of course my ultimate and overriding goal is to provide quality care to my patients...and to sleep in my own bed. :)

**Cross -posted at Ob/Gyn Kenobi


  1. You post made me smile. Si ture.I am a nurse... when I worked in hospitals, I worked closesly with Doctors on call. When I worked ICU and CCU we always had food around and made sure our Doc's on call had something to eat.

  2. All good goals, although not pertinent to me, since I take in-house call.
    I take the opposite approach on my late (but not overnight) call nights. I set worst case expectations so my night will feel okay in comparison. For example, if I would usually get home around midnight, I predict I will get home by 2 am. Then if I get out at 11 pm it's a great night, and if I get out at 8 pm, it's like a vacation. Otherwise I can find myself antsy to get out and not as focused as I should be on what I am doing.

  3. I love the extra bonus on the fifth goal! Its so true!!! I have even paged myself after the frantic checking to ensure that the pager is not broken!


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.