Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rusty

his was one of the first entries I wrote for the Chronicles. I've changed much of it to reflect how I would have written it today

I’m re-reading, for the fourth time, the algorithm of a code. I remember nothing now. The churning of the metal in my brain slowly creaking as it comes to life again. My neurotransmitters begin to form as the body retrieves their original chemical formula; I realize I am facing an uphill battle.

Wish me luck my friends. Over the next 2 weeks my supra-tentorium should return to life, and who knows, maybe my blogging will be slightly more interesting

While for the last three months I’ve come to think of myself along the same lines as a Hula hoop instructor (I just finished three months of “Kick back” rotations), tomorrow, I become a real doctor again. Not just a real doctor in any old place, tomorrow, I’m the resident in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit (CICU).

Of course there is some good news involved. Although my first rotation is in the CICU, it’s one of the two rotations every year that we spend at a private hospital. And while rotating in the CICU is usually misery personified, serving in this Unit is nothing short of pure pleasure.

And I’ll tell you why.

The nurses are still motivated and practically run the place. Residents get to sleep (if we’re nice enough to them) and when we wake up they tell us everything they did, all by themselves. God bless their souls.

The nurses in the Mad House, on the other hand, are overworked and underpaid. Sometimes it feels that they’ve resigned themselves to mediocre work, just to protest the situation. Of course the residents are stuck in the middle, more specifically, the interns. Someone has to do the job correctly. And the patients don’t benefit greatly either. Sometimes we feel that the only thing watching our patient is the wall.

But all that is behind me now, at least for the next two weeks.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Bill said...

Doctor,
Hope you enjoy your new rotation. I'm an RN in a large academic cardiothoracic icu. Even though we have an excellent, driven group of nurses on my unit , I can certainly relate your observations of nursing staff. You're right: most nurses are overworked and underpaid. Just a personal example I gleamed from a billboard on my way to work today: bus mechanics start at ~$30/hour in my city, work great hours, good benefits, retirement etc. Certainly an important job and by no means overvalued. Meanwhile I'm responble for keeping someone alive, acting as a middleman b/w multiple services, completing mounds of paperwork, dealing with families, ensuring safe practice etc....
while making 50% less than a bus mechanic. He screws up.... busses run late or not at all.
I screw up... people are injured or die all while under the pervasive threat of legal action.
I love my work.... wouldnt do anything else. Its just interesting to note careers on which society places monetary value.
Thanks for noticing (and for letting me vent!) Keep up the great posts.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

good luck, scary times in the cicu... nurses seem to be fairly well paid these days, aren't they? it takes all kinds of doctors, 'real' or 'more real'.

10:08 AM  
Blogger incidental findings said...

What I love about critical care is that good nurses are about twice as reliable as the interns. I belittled my intern the other day when I had the nurse correct several aspects of the patient's care. "Oh, still on dopamine? Failed a weaning trial? Still full code? Spiking fevers? I see."

2:17 PM  
Anonymous About Medicine Blog said...

Although my first rotation is in the CICU, it’s one of the two
rotations every year that we spend at a private hospital.

6:43 AM  

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