Done! Done with this ridiculously long stretch of working and finally have several days off (although I’m working today), which is perfect for getting all those little details taken care of before the wedding.
My last night (Wednesday) in the ER…..BUSY!! I said in my last post how I actually really enjoy working in the ER (i.e. ER radiology), but when it gets that busy, you kind of turn on your robot-mode of working, stop analyzing as much, and just plow through the studies. More stressful than it is fun.
It’s like running, figure skating or training for any sport. Obviously the days you feel the best, enjoy it the most, and perform the best are those days when all circumstances are perfect: you’re rested, your legs feel loose, the weather is perfect, etc….but part of becoming a good athlete is learning how to still perform well when you’re tired, sick, it’s windy and cold, you’re legs feel like bricks, you didn’t eat right, etc. What do you do in those circumstances? You fall back on the habits you developed with your training, don’t overanalyze, focus on the goal, and just get it done.
It’s hard but on busy days like Wednesday night. The CT scans get done faster than you can read the studies. You’re trying to keep up, but then they start scanning people on TWO different CT scans, so now DOUBLE the amount of what is already a lot of cases are getting done in the same amount of time. Then two traumas come in, and the trauma team comes in watches over your shoulder as you look over some 1000 images from the scan that they just did for the trauma patient. Then you try to go back and finish the other study you were looking at, but someone calls every 5-10 minutes wanting you to look at a study done on an inpatient…One other resident and I are the only radiologists in the hospital at night and are responsible for fully dictating all ER cases as well as dealing with any inpatient issues that come.
It’s stressful and annoying, but I know it’s good training…
-mentally: learning how to stay focused, block out the stresses around you…..to just focus on following your “check-list”
-being efficient: again, you rely on the habitual search pattern you have developed. You focus on what’s important. You don’t overthink: find what’s important and move on…..you don’t need to spend extra time looking up a more extensive differential or finding the exact name of some incidental finding you made. If you want to look it up later, fine, but not when you have several other cases to get to.
-Learning to triage/prioritize: I try to open every scan as they get done and at least preview it to make sure nothing is lifethreatening. If not, then I go back to what I am doing and work on plowing through some other studies before tackling that one. If there’s something urgent, then I immediately call the ED team to at least let them know what is going on so that they can do their jobs and get the ball rolling.
-patience and kindness: training in patience and kindess? Trust me, busy hospital nights when you’re exhausted will test your patience with other people, but they are your colleagues. They are consulting you for your advice. They don’t know how busy you are and whether or not you’re dealing with a trauma or some other urgent issue. You have to remember that and be respectful, always, not just to your colleagues but to the radiology technicians who are instrumental in helping you get your job done.
After my last night of nightfloat, I try to stay up all day the following day to switch back as quick as possible to a normal day schedule, so I usually try to keep my day busy with running errands and other little things that don’t require a lot of thinking but keep me awake, so Thursday, I scheduled to get my hair done.
Then, that evening, Dean and I had a “free” dinner at Gibsons. Free? Yup, but that’s because it was for marketing purposes for the business providing the dinner.
The business providing the dinner and marketing their services was a financial advising company. Yes, I was tempted by the free meal, but this is a topic I am actually starting to think about seriously in light of getting married and with finishing residency fairly soon. I am really nervous about all the student loans I have and have no idea what the best strategy is to go about paying these off, so we are starting to seriously look into working with a financial advisor NOW.
Working with an advisor will be good, because there’s sooooo much I don’t know or understand about business and finances….we as doctors spend all of our time learning about medicine that we don’t learn about the important and practical things about managing a practice, paying off loans, managing your money, appropriate insurance plans to buy into, how to analyze and negotiate a contract, etc.
Getting ready to head out to Gibsons with Dean. This was the first time I put effort into looking nice and went out with Dean since I was in DC with Dean ~ a month ago. As a girl, after a month of throwing on scrubs or other work clothes, not blow drying my hair, barely wearing any makeup….it was nice to finally feel pretty.