It is the last week in August and I have two things on my mind. One, it is time for another installment of A Day In The Life where I chronicle what the doctors schedule looks like. Two, it's the end of August which means that Medical Mondays is on our doorstep as I write. It's the Happy Labor Day edition coming September 2, 2013.
Back to business. A few things have changed since moving out of the training phase and into the real world. Most notably is that the doctor doesn't have to be at the hospital so early. Most mornings he is home when we wake up. That hasn't happened in a long time. There is no one to report his cases to before the day starts. He doesn't have to round on all the patients before an attending comes in. He can round when his schedule allows it.
During training the hours were consistently bad. Now they are just extreme. Either extremely long, or extremely short, with an occasional "just right" thrown in for fun. I know that on his clinic days, if he isn't on call, he is done early. Like today. He left at 7:00 am and we have a meeting at 4:00 pm that he will be home for. Not so bad. It is making planning life when he isn't on call much easier than before. The flip side is that call is still call, and there is plenty of it.
He now bears the full responsibility for his patients. He sees the patients before, during, and after surgery. They are his. In training he would see them in the operating room but rarely in clinic, before or after. Whatever goes wrong is his problem, too. With this also comes stress that I wrote about here. It's intense. There is no one to blame, there is no one to soften the blow, there is no one checking in during your case to see how it is going and if you need some help. There aren't any excuses. It is a one-man show and he is it. His name is all over it.
And then there is the paycheck, day and night! That deserves it's own post, which I promise will be coming soon. Because he doesn't seem to be at the hospital as long, when you compare it to the last 7 years, I almost feel like we are getting paid too much. But then I remember they aren't paying him solely for the hours he works now, they are paying him for those last 16 years that he has been gathering knowledge and practicing. At this point I almost wish they just would have paid him then instead of now:-)
To read previous posts about a day in the life visit the page, and come back Monday for Medical Mondays.