Not My Hill

The journey through second year of residency is an interesting one. As I’ve mentioned before, we are tasked with two major, new responsibilities: performing most procedures and seeing a much greater volume of patients. We’ve all gone through a substantial adjustment period. It’s been hard.

One of these journeys is toward two, or greater, patients per hour. I hit this milestone rather infrequently. In fact, it is about as likely for me to achieve this as I am to win a game of Oregon Trail. It is far more likely that I will die of dysentery, or make it no further than Fort Collins before my oxen quit on me. Continue reading

Of NARH and NARS

The title will make sense later. Trust me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I split most of my residency training time between two hospitals: a large tertiary care center that has all the bells and whistles, and an understaffed county hospital that on occasion struggles to perform basic functions of a healthcare facility, such as checking routine vital signs or (spoiler alert) admitting patients.

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The Nights Watch

Hi. I have just completed a stint of night shifts – twelve in the last fourteen days – and I feel like a moldy, rotted potato.

As I write this, I’m trying to “flip back to days” for a regular day shift tomorrow, as the cruel scheduling gods have elected to grant me one day of work during normal people hours (albeit on a Saturday) before switching back to a third week of uninterrupted nights. Continue reading

Intern Year is Over

The new interns started their orientation this week.

I say this mostly because it means I am just a few short days away from no longer being “the intern.” This is fantastic news, mostly because it relieves me of the duty of explaining to non-medical people the vestigial and archaic distinction between an intern and a resident. Just so everyone (grandma) remembers:

I made that diagram. Aren’t you impressed?

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Night Float

I am back in the Cardiac Care Unit this rotation. If you recall my earlier tribulations from my previous CCU block, this means I am once again forced to Constantly Replete Potassium. I have never really forgotten how much I hated the CCU – all other rotations are judged in relative fractions of CCU terribleness – but I had, at least, airbrushed out the violent rage induced by being interrupted every eleven seconds about electrolytes.

(This post is, in fact, not about electrolyte repletion, although there will be frequent references. You may all breathe a sigh of relief.) Continue reading

The Fourth Year Lexicon

I’ve written twice before about funky medical words – once in first year, with Commonest Erythematous Palpation, and once at the end of second year with A Lexical Update. As I hit the big orange “CERTIFY” button on the rank list page last week, I realized that there is a completely different dictionary for the fourth year medical student.

As useless extra hands in the hospital go, we have basically completed our penance and have become experts in the Med Student Daily Apologia For Being An Idiot. In celebration, many of us – yours truly included – took huge chunks of time off to apply for and interview at residency programs. The process, while fun and exhausting and replete with enormous amounts of Netflix binge-watching, also generated a lexicon all on its own. Continue reading

The Coming Reckoning

Two things right up front:

With that said, I write this post while experiencing a fairly complex, ebbing and flowing mix of trepidation, desperation, apathy, and outright nihilism. These are the emotions of a compromised fourth year student with a willpower wellspring shallower than a lunchbox. When you do nothing for almost three months, your brain atrophies; at this point, all I’m really capable of doing is following the smells of free food and clicking “Yes, I’m Still Watching” on the Netflix popup. This bodes poorly for my ICU rotation starting tomorrow. Continue reading

How The Match Works

As I wrote in PANIC! At the ERAS, the final step in obtaining a spot in a residency program is the Match. Like I mentioned, after all the interviews everyone’s preferences – and the preferences of all of the programs – go into a big computer and get processed through some algorithm, which somehow pops out a “best match.” This process is administered by one central service, called the National Resident Matching Program, or NRMP, so they control everything from start to finish. Continue reading