Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hope


Residency is tough.  I read posts from those of you still in the trenches and I can remember how overwhelmed I felt.  The schedule doesn’t allow adequate time for self or family.  Halfway through my intern year, our staff psychologist did a resident assessment and I remember writing that, while I was doing alright for now, the current level of activity was unsustainable in the long term.

To make matters worse, several of our attendings would often say helpful things like, “If you think this schedule is hard, wait until you’re an attending – it’s much worse.  AND there are no duty hour restrictions!”  I know I was not the only one wondering if the rest of my life was even going to be bearable.

Well, I have good news for all of you.  I have seen the future, and it is beautiful.

The first year and a half that I was an attending, I literally felt like I was on vacation.  I didn’t have to come in until 9 a.m.!  Five p.m. often meant I was leaving the office!  What, I’m off this weekend AGAIN?!   Also, I have time to work out, time to sleep, time to work on hobbies!

It’s true there are no duty hour restrictions for attendings, and every once in a while it’s an issue.  If I do a delivery at night, I still have to go to the office all the next day.  Some days are quite long, as I do take extra time to do the odd home visit, see some nursing home patients, and call patients personally with unexpected lab results.  I take my own call during the week, and do my own deliveries unless I'm out of town. 

The first weekend of call for our practice was fairly awful – in early to evaluate a sick patient, then rounding until afternoon, followed by pages every 15 minutes that made it impossible to catch a nap.  I remember thinking, “I can’t survive three days with no sleep!”  But the thing is, it’s always very temporary.  There is always a day off in my very near future.  I know I can catch up on sleep before I really develop a deficit.

I know every field is different, and there are docs around here that work every day until 8 p.m.  However, medicine has a lot of choices and I believe that if you try (and make it a priority) you can make some family-friendly ones.

- DoctorGrace

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. It's like the "it gets better" campaign, but for medical trainees

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    1. I've often that we do need a similar campaign in regards to residency...and also having a newborn. Residents and post-partum women need all the encouragement they can get. And yes, while being an attending CAN be hard work---the beauty is that you can choose a different kind of job (likely sacrificing $$, of course), but there IS a vast choice. Whereas with residency, there really isn't too much difference between programs from what I can tell.

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  2. As someone about to embark on a career in medicine (I am pre-med right now) I appreciate someone shining a light at the end of the tunnel. And how cool is it that you get to deliver a baby and see a nursing home patient on the same day!?

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    1. This is part of why I love family practice!!
      -DoctorGrace

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  3. Thanks DoctorGrace! This is going in my archive of things to read for encouragement during those times when residency seem impossible!

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    1. Awesome... that was the whole point. :-)

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  4. Things other than time off make post residency life better as well:

    1. not being at the bottom of the learning curve
    2. not being at the bottom of the totem pole
    3. having a better sense of self professionally

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  5. also, $. you can buy back more time with $. getting paid more = ability to have others help with chores that previously sucked any precious free time that did exist.

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    1. So true - I definitely have someone come & clean my house now, which is awesome every. single. time.
      - DoctorGrace

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  6. Its great that I found this blog :) I am doctor mom too.Ever since my second one is born I have been wondering if I did a bg mistake by studying medicine.she is two years now and I still dont see myself working succesfully.I do day clinic but residency seems like far away.We have 36 hours long call every fifth day.No leave,no vacations, no off.On em nights we had to do even 20 cesareans in the night time.We are not offered a day care in the hospital even :( I seriously dont know what to do :( I need some help and guidance in this.please

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