Doctor Who?

(EDIT:  HURRAY it’s my 100th post!!!)

(Hurr dee hurr, it’s a fandom joke.)

But it does accurately sum up the general feel of this first week of residency.

Because, let’s be honest, the difference between the end of 4th year and the beginning of PGY1 is a piece of paper with my name on it.  And nothing else.  I haven’t magically conjured more confidence or clinical acumen in my time off.

It’s actually quite the opposite.  It’s been about 3 months since I’ve had any clinical experience, and I’m definitely a little rusty.  Every time I go on vacation, I seem to lose a handful of techniques and knowledge details that I’m sure I knew before.  Here’s the short list:

  • Shoulder dislocation reductions
  • Treatment of acute decompensated heart failure (specifically, mortality benefit vs. symptomatic)
  • Well’s criteria for pulmonary embolism
  • Casting technique (note to self: need more toilet paper rolls for practice)
  • Algorithm for hyponatremia
  • Dosing for pretty much everything from antibiotics to tamsulosin
  • How to deal with those people who are fine, but you can’t tell them they’re fine because they’re absolutely convinced that they’re so not okay that they’ve worked themselves into a panic and now they’ll completely dismiss you if you even suggest that everything’s gonna be fine so you have to work into the subject backwards and help them feel heard because if they don’t, they’ll storm out and feel terrible and God knows if that bloodwork actually comes back okay…

It’s been a challenging few days.  Never mind missing my friends dreadfully while trying to make new ones.  (If you’re reading this, new rural residents, you guys are awesome.  What up.)  And travelling back and forth to other cities is gonna be exhausting, if this most recent trip was any indicator.

What in the hell did I sign up for?

That being said… sure, it’s been a rough week, but whose first week of residency isn’t?  The new responsibilities weigh heavily on all of us; we’re not used to being the go-to person for care, and we’re not used to making these decisions on our own.  Sometimes it’s a real luxury not to have to drag a preceptor into every room, but sometimes I still feel like I’m in over my head.  (Sometimes?  Most times?)

And honestly?  I think I’ve missed this.  Sure, it’s been great to have all the time in the world to travel and read and play Diablo III (on normal, I’m a wussy player).  But having this weekend off has clarified things a bit.  Those things are just filling the time until I get to put on my stethoscope again.  The work is exhausting, but it sure beats that low-energy boredom that comes with an empty schedule.

So, to my other new residents out there – how was your first week?

 – Atalanta

Photo courtesy of: Jeroen van Oostrom |


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