Saturday, June 9, 2012

First night last night

Last night I did my first night shift down in the Emergency Department.  It was also my first shift of any kind in the ED.  So I was a bit tense beforehand about a new environment as well as a bit tense about the whole "stay up all night and deal with stuff when there's only a skeleton crew on in the hospital" thing.

But you know what?  It was actually fine.

It's still a bit intimidating knowing that not only could literally anything walk (or be pushed) through your door, but also that the triage screen details sometimes bear only a tangential relationship to what's actually going on.  Like the guy last night who was noted to have haematemesis and malaena (ie: bleeding from both ends) who actually had neither.  Thankfully.  But the saving grace is that the staff who work there are all incredibly supportive and helpful.

Astonishingly, you are expected to function in accordance with your experience and training.  So if you're an intern like me, they keep an eye on you and give you lots of help.  And if you're new to the ED like me, they also are happy to explain the processes that you're unfamiliar with, without all the harrumphing and sighing and implied dissatisfaction that I have become accustomed to in some of my other rotations.

As you have probably guessed by now, this was a great revelation to me.  If only other parts of the hospital were as good, I would probably have been good deal less stressed for the past couple of years, and I would probably be a better doctor as well since people would actually have bothered to give me a headstart on what I needed to know and do, rather than lay guilt trips on me and stomp off into the distance.

On the other hand, the staying up all night thing is a bit pants.  I had a master plan to get myself into sync.  I stayed up late the night before, intending to sleep in and get as much rest as I could.  Instead, my Smaller Half got sick and had to sleep in instead, I had to get up early with the Hatchling, so I went into my stretch of night shifts even more tired than if I'd done nothing at all.

I got home at about 0900 today, was in bed by 10, crashed out and slept until 3.30pm.  So five and a half hours sleep.  I'm feeling a bit ragged but I've already got that seedy "too much coffee" feeling in my eyes so I guess I'll just be staggering through the night and hoping to catch up on sleep tomorrow.

By the way, the phrase "I'll sleep when I'm dead" really annoys me. No you won't, you'll be dead.  And you will have been really tired and shitty when you were alive because you weren't sleeping.  Just get some sleep while you can, moron.


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