I experienced my very first switch call this block. And firsts always call for a blog post.
Ah, but what is switch call, the uninitiated may ask? Switch call is almost as bad as in-house call (i.e. being stuck in hospital for 26 hours). Switch call begins at home call (i.e. cozied up with a book and a blanket) and then you spend enough time at the hospital after midnight (i.e. cold and hungry in your rattiest hoodie and scrubs) for it to count as a “switch.” Like in-house, switch call gives you the benefit of a post-call day, yay!
So yes. The switch.
Here’s a rundown of how it goes. (Times changed to protect the patients.)
I’m finally post-call after my first 26-hour stint on obstetrics call. It’s a weird sensation for sure, especially since I came back to my apartment and slept for a few hours. Now, mid-afternoon, it feels like late morning and late evening at the same time.
That doesn’t really make sense.
This entire week has been a bit weird – for 3 months I’ve barely seen one or two of my classmates and have been immersed in family medicine almost exclusively. Now I’m hanging with half a dozen of us on a daily basis, dealing with ornery pregnant ladies, lots of surgery, an awful lot of vaginas, and happy newborn babies. I still can’t quite believe I’m actually working in hospital (mostly).
Anyway. Back to the topic at hand. For those who aren’t aware, being “on-call” as a medical student on obstetrics means you’re essentially seeing everyone labouring, needing assessment, or who might be labouring from 6:00am one morning until 8:00am the next. And given that it’s obs, that generally means a sleepless night.
I wanted to give those who’ve never experienced call a sense of what goes through your mind as the day (and night) carries on…