Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peds EM: The experience

I don't even know where to start. This week has been one of the most challenging, exciting, and wonderful experiences I have had while in med school. I have never been so sure that Emergency Medicine is exactly where I belong and where I will be the happiest. In my first four 10 hour shifts, I haven't seen the same thing twice. The variety is unbelievable and I have already learned so much.
The thing about this experience is that it is so different for me. On most of my rotations, my role as the medical student is to see patients and present my ideas to the attending physician(the boss doctor) based off of the information that I collected. The attendings put in for medications and tests and are the main provider for patients. They talk to the other specialties like surgery or admit the patient. My role is to learn from what they do with the information that I collected. On this rotation it is very different. I act as the provider. I put in for medications and tests. I am the main person who talks with the patient and families. It is my job to call surgery or the admitting team to discuss a patient. As well as do all of the charting and paperwork. It is a challenging experience as I start to really learn the dosing on medications, the tests to order, and the art of talking to other specialties. I am taking on a new set of responsibilities which is exciting and scary all at the same time.
My very first day, I was paged overhead and I remember thinking "who the heck wants to talk to me? I'm just a medical student." But that wasn't my last page of the day and most certainly not the last page for the month. When something happens, the nurses come to look for me. All of a sudden I have so much more autonomy and responsibility as I step into this new role.
Some days are easier than others emotionally. Seeing kids who are sick can be very challenging, but I love knowing that I can help them feel better and get well. Keeping that in mind allows me to love what I'm doing and keep moving forward even when a child is very sick or I have to make them cry, most of the time. Sometimes we see terrible things and children who are in excruciating pain which can be very heartbreaking. Thursday was one of those days for almost everyone staffing the ER. I think everyone was emotionally and physically exhausted when the walked out on Thursday. In medicine, some days are bad days.

After 4 solid days of 10(more like 11-12) hour shifts and actually 16 hours on Monday if you count orientation, I was ready for a couple of days away. The key to a happy and successful life is balance. Medicine is my life and I love that, but I still have to get away for a few days to recuperate. I spent my first day off in my normal fashion, going 100 mph. I had 2 different family get-togethers on different sides of the family. My baby brother is in town visiting from Arizona and my cousin has joined the Marines and leaves for California on Monday. After a couple of different cookouts, catching up with some family on both sides, and running around town, I settled at my grandparents for cards. Playing pitch is a family tradition on my dad's side of the family and I learned to play when I was 9ish. A visit to the grandparent's is never complete without a game of pitch. My family is very complicated, but I am the only child that my parents had together. Typically I spend time with each side of the family individually, but yesterday my younger sister(my mom's daughter) joined us at my grandparents and learned how to play pitch. She was a natural! It was the perfect way to end a perfect Saturday. Tomorrow it is back to the ER and I can't wait. I've gotten some rest and giggling in and I'm ready to go!

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