Finally, Something I Like!

16 12 2011

Discovery of the week: I like this internal medicine gig.  Like, a lot.

I really like taking care of patients.  I like that as long as you have time, you can always spend a few extra minutes with them (it’s not like the ones in the hospital are going anywhere, after all).  I like being able to look at all of their problems and do something about almost all of them (unlike in family, when you can really only address 1 or 2 complaints per visit).  I love being able to look at all of the data about the patient and really sit down and think through how everything fits together.  I really like working with a team, because even though the residents often pull me in different directions, there is something to be learned from each approach.  I even like how the day is structured, and there’s flexibility in the schedule working in a hospital—again, unlike outpatient, when you’re crazy structured and seem to do exactly the same thing every day.

Now let’s keep in mind that I’m still a student and make a total of zero real patient care decisions, and that I have significantly less paperwork to deal with than the residents and attendings do.  My life is also seems to be significantly less miserable, and I am significantly less jaded.  Sure, there have been some long days when I’m on call, but the seniors (residents in their 2nd and 3rd year) still do real call at this hospital.  Real call (not like most places where they have night teams and call lasts until maybe 8 or 9 pm) is 30-hour call, when they stay and see patients all night long.  At the tiny suburban hospital where I currently am, there is only one resident on each night, meaning that they are the only doctors there.  If 2 patients crash at once, it’s game over.

I digress.  The point here is that the residents seem to be, overall, a solidly unhappy bunch.  Almost everyone mostly hates their lives, and from what I gather in talking to people is that, at least in this program, a little more joy gets stomped out of them with each passing year.  Two of the residents I’ve worked with at this hospital have decided that after they graduate and serve their time in the military, they are hanging up their stethoscopes and quitting medicine altogether.  It’s not that they hate the idea of being a doctor and taking care of patients, but from what I understand it’s that they hate what the profession has turned into.  The golden age of medicine ended in the 1990’s.  Now, it’s a whole different ball game.

So we adjust and move on, and hopefully when I figure out what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, the field won’t change too drastically while I’m in it.  Either way, I’m seriously relieved that I actually like this stuff.  I was getting worried for a while there, after a massive lack of patient care experience in Family Med, Cardio, and, to a lesser degree, on night team, left me miserable and wondering why the heck I was doing this to myself for about 10 straight weeks.  Needless to say, doing my hospital month of internal has been a giant sigh of relief.   And even though I feel like a moron most of the time, I know that I’m improving in my presentations, interview and physical exam skills, and in my confidence that I have the ability to one day be a decent physician.  I needed that boost like no other (especially heading into another outpatient month in January, and while I try to go in without bias, my last two stints in outpatient medicine have left me bored to tears).

Right now, I work hard and I’m sleep-deprived, but every day I look forward to going to the hospital and taking fake-care of patients.  For the most part, it’s fun, and I’m going to take what I can get.  🙂

Doesn't have much to do with the post, but it's still funny.

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One response

1 05 2012
Dorette Goldie

Please write a book. You have a wonderful writing style and I have enjoyed your blog very much. I do not normally read blogs but stumbled upon your blog via an image search for a pregnancy cartoon.

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