It’s already the 27th of April….wait, what?!?
April’s gone! We had exactly 5 rain-free days here in April, not to mention we’re under a tornado watch tonight. Y’know, if the old adage “April showers bring May flowers” holds true, we’re in for the world’s most beautiful May on record! This has been the rainiest Spring I’ve ever seen! Maybe I should invest in some cute galoshes?? Shoes are everything up here. Gotta have snow boots for the winter, or you’ll have a permanent salt ring around the bottom of your pants. Gotta have galoshes for spring, or you’ll have wet pants all day & you might ruin that new pair of suede boots (I may or may not have done this). Summer and Fall are nice here, so there’s about 4 months out of the year where you might get away with leaving the house without extra outerwear, but that’s about as good as it gets. It goes without saying, then, that my car is a mess…
Things are pretty quiet (at the moment) on the work front. I have one more day of Endocrinology left, and then I start another round of Internal Medicine on Sunday. I wish I had this full weekend off…I’ve worked 6 out of the last 8 weekends, and I’m gonna work at least 3 or 4 weekends in May. All of which means I am ready for a vacation. Even still, if I did have this full weekend off, my hubby is on call this weekend. We never see each other anymore 🙁 It makes me the saddest! I knew life would be busy with both of us being residents, but we haven’t had any days to ourselves since he started residency…none! He’s been a little down in the dumps about work, too, so we had to come up with some relaxation techniques at home. For example, Massage Mondays, Tip-toes Tuesdays (foot spa), Whirlpool Wednesdays, Time-Out Thursdays (meditation), and Facial Fridays. Lol. It was me putting together every relaxing thing I could think of, so it ended up on the girly side…but he’s loving it! Men love pampering, too! His moods are way better since he’s gotten “him” time! (He’s prolly gonna kill me for posting all this…but I’ve gotta remember those mnemonics somehow!)
Anyway, we’re working on focusing on life outside of work instead of work as life. It’s too easy to get caught up in that world, the never ending world of consults, admissions, and rounding. Life at the hospital never ends, it goes forever. Even when we go home, one thing is certain: the hospital never sleeps. Never. Medicine has always been a culture of “work is life,” but our generation of new physicians doesn’t feel the same way- we want lives outside of work. And we’re changing everything, from how many hours we are allowed to work in a week, to having separate hospitalists and outpatient doctors (so that the outpatient docs don’t have to round at the hospital, too).
As for the work hours, residents are not allowed to report any more than 80 work hours in a week, and we aren’t allowed to work more than 36 hours straight. (Note: that doesn’t mean that many residents don’t work more than 80 hours in a week, they’re just not allowed to report them.) Yes, we’ve been told that it’s not the way the older docs did things; the older generations say things were so much harder for them (i.e., they didn’t have the duty hour caps). But I argue that the world in which we’re doing our residencies in today is much different than it was 30 years ago when they did their residencies. Everything is electronic, for example, and therefore moves at a much faster pace than it did back then. Also, there is about 5 times as much information to learn now as compared to then because we’ve done more research. This means there is quite a bit of information that the older docs have had 30 years to learn, but we must master it in less than 4 years. So maybe we are reporting fewer hours now than they did then, but that hardly means we aren’t doing as much. Furthermore, I do honestly believe that beyond a certain point, doing that next admission/consult while you’re 24+ hours sleep deprived isn’t going to afford a lot of learning. The hour caps are in place to prevent any abuse of residents, and I am very thankful that the ACGME has recognized it as a problem and is working to address it continually.