Work Hours

I made the mistake of calculating how many hours I worked this year. 

I worked 48 out of 52 weeks this year. 

I worked a total of 3789.76 hours - that equates to an average of 78.95 hours a week… every week… for 48 weeks this year. 

(Also not counting into that is the shifts I’m working now and the shift I’m doing Saturday). 

The most hours I ever worked in one week? 99 hours (vascular surgery). The fewest? 44 (SICU). 

Surgery residency is no joke friends. 

60 hours from now I will never be an intern again. 

Third year, In review

My third year of medical school was the hardest, longest, and best year of my academic life. When i look back on it, a couple gems of memories stand out.

On my first hour in OBGYN, I saw a crash c-section. I couldn’t keep up with what was happening but I remember the blur of excitement, the frantic pulling of the surgeons, and the sudden wail of a new baby. I remember hands holding each other tight during labors, and stolen soft kisses behind a blue drape during c -sections

I remember the child in pediatric clinic, who was between life and death: a beating heart, lungs kept alive by a ventilator, and a brain stem flickering along. I was scared of that child for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate.

Then there was the day my horribly depressed patient smiled at me in the morning when I went to pre-round. I gasped and dropped my notebook. I didn’t think she would ever recover, and to see such change in a short period was miraculous. I think about her still and I hope she’s doing okay.

I remember the volume of the family medicine clinic. I remember how I would get into the flow of the day, I would fall into this rhythm of patients and presentations and medications and plans and suddenly it’d be 630 and it was past time to go home but I felt like it was just lunchtime.

It’s the beeping I remember most from internal medicine. The beeping of the pagers, of the heart rate monitors, of the drips telling us they needed to be refilled. I remember the man whose bed alarm would beep every hour because, dang it, he wanted to go home and get some privacy! But we all knew that his dementia had become too bad, that he would never again live alone.

In pediatric surgery, I watched my attending and chief perform a bedside ex-lap with hemi-colectomy during a code blue. I will never forget their calm precision as they tore open this boy’s belly, and I’ll never forget the sounds of his mother’s screams in the background.

I’ll carry around my memories of third year for a long time. I had a hard time of it this year. But I got to see and do things that most people will never ever get to do or see. I met people whose everyday job was to perform miracles of nature. I saw patients arise from deaths’ door and walk back out into the sunshine of the world. I saw people die. I saw myself grow from a timid and worried student to a woman who’s been tested, and come out stronger.

This is going to be a really personal post, but I need to do some reflecting.

After completing third year of medical school, I feel amazing. I feel like I’ve developed a competence for my training level that I haven’t felt in so long. This is going to sound really cocky, but I’m so proud. I can’t explain it. I’ve come to the realization that medicine comes naturally to me. My clinical grades and comments have been outstanding and exceptional, and I’m truly very proud of myself for coming this far.

Now that I’ve made an ass of myself, let me tell you the whole story. I went to a very prestigious university. After high school, I was used to being called smart and being “the best”. Whatever that means. Well, after attending a university where everyone else was “the best”, I had to face reality. My grades were ok, not amazing. My MCAT was average. I only interviewed at 3 medical schools Don’t get me wrong, I’ve very fortunate I got 3 interviews to MD schools, but I watched most of my friends get dozens and felt incompetent even though I now know I was fine. And for the first time in my life, I struggled with truly crippling anxiety and sought out help.

I came to medical school eager for new beginnings. Wow, I was hit with harsh reality again. Medical school is freaking hard, and everyone is more impressive. I struggled to keep up. In second year, I had a second run with crippling anxiety, but this time was far worse and my physical health also declined as a result. I failed several midterms and barely scrapped by on several finals. Now that I’m looking back retrospectively, I once again realized that I was extremely fortunate because I never had to remediate, but I know many who did. Medical school sucks. It just does.

Once again, I got help, just in time for Step 1, and thank god I did. I was able to push through and actually do better on Step 1 than I could’ve imagined after my mediocre preclinical performance.

Then came clinical years. I finally hit my stride somewhere. I don’t know when, and I don’t know how. But I’ve somehow racked up a series of grades and experiences that I could never have imagined all while enjoying myself along the way. After reading through my MSPE, I’ve realized that yes, medicine comes naturally to me, and this is where I’m supposed to be. I’m not trying to boast or one-up anyone or even prove that anyone can do what I did and overcome anxiety. I’m just sharing my experience and for once in my life, I can finally say that I’m damn proud of myself. I’m sure residency will bring it’s own set of hardships and feelings of incompetence, but I want to remember this feeling and that it does get better. I may not have many amazing accomplishments in my life, but I can say that I’ll be a great doctor. To me, that’s all that matters.

Talking to a heart surgeon

So today I got the chance to talk to a heart surgeon. I already know her from lectures and I have somehow always looked up to her. #girlcrush

How many hours are you working as a heart surgeon per week?
“80 - 100 hours”

Is a good dexterity a must-have for becoming a heart surgeon?
“At the beginning you will struggle because those with lots of talent are doing great from the start. But you will improve and at the end you won’t see any huge difference between the hard working one or the gifted one.” (What gives me personally some hope, since another heart surgeon told me the same)

How does your chief think about you starting your own family?
“Heart surgery is run by males. Females are still a rarity. I say he (her chief) is  scared of me being pregnant. It is possible - but only having like one child will stretch you to your limits.”

Would you do heart surgery again?
“When I started 10 years ago, everyone I’ve asked said that heart surgery is the best and everything is just awesome. But I wished they would have told me the truth: how time consuming it can be, and how difficult it’ll be to find the right time to start a family. But I still love my profession.”

What would you recommend any med student who wants to pursue a career as a heart surgeon?
“Do a clerkship/rotation at a heart surgery department. Get a little overview about this profession.”

anonymous asked:

what do you think of health care assistants/clinical support workers? do you think they're vital to the team or glorified poop scoopers

I think that I couldn’t do my job without them! I have so many tasks and calls and things to do and it would honestly be overwhelming without health care assistants. The amount of times they’ve grabbed me something I needed, helped me with tasks, held a crying baby, called a billion people just to get a bed or a pillow, I can’t even imagine work without them. I think health care assistants are the glue that holds a unit together. Nurses and doctors often have laser focus but we forget things and I have seen assistants pick up on the slack and keep us on track countless times. Never considered them “poop scoopers” ever.


Aka that thing you get at the end of rotations, 
where they assess your work performance. 

I just finished a rotation in something I both tolerate barely and is not my strong suit (which makes me barely tolerate it even more, i’m legit terrible at this type of medicine). I still freak out about doing badly in it on an almost daily basis. 

And the end result comes back as:

Never have been so happy to be told I’m average, the one flying under the radar, the forgettable middle of the bell curve. where no one can remember my name. 


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Haegarda, the first C1 Esterase Inhibitor (Human) for subcutaneous (under the skin) administration to prevent Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) attacks in adolescent and adult patients. The subcutaneous route of administration allows for easier at-home self-injection by the patient or caregiver, once proper training is received.

Sometimes you need to get real with yourself. Don’t pretend those tabs of youtube videos and fanfiction take precedence over that maths homework you need to get done. Don’t tell yourself you’ll get up early and do it, because chances are, your alarms will go off and you’ll snooze it automatically. Then right before the dreaded fourth period you will be stressed to no end and you’ll feel the feeling. You know, the feeling. When you can genuinely feel the list of tasks and responsibilities build up on your shoulders. That stationery will do nothing to save your grades if you don’t actually use it to make your revision materials. Don’t click onto youtube as a study break and find that 3 hours and only 4 pages of reading later, the glare of the screen gets a little blurry when you look at the time and look at your to do list with your priorities highlighted. I don’t care how much self control you think you have, or how much discipline you think you’ve honed, because when you make the decision to put of work that needs to get done and you’re relying on this new found immense self discipline that future you will just suddenly obtain, you know you’ve already lost. And it’s a double loss because not only have you lost to laziness and short term ‘happiness’, future you has lost to stress and possibly even not getting the grades or the qualifications you could’ve gotten that would’ve led you to take the path you’ve wanted to take. So please, for the love of your future self, get it done now.