After 14 PICU day shifts, 7 PICU night shifts, 10 NICU day shifts, and 12 NICU night shifts, I've FINALLY arrived on the other side of my two month long ICU stretch!!
I'M ALIVE Y'ALL!!!
Like I said in my last post, doing two back-to-back ICU rotations is quite exhausting. Working 43 intensive care shifts within a two-month time frame is just as hard as it sounds, if not harder. While the experience was tiring, isolating (my social life was at an all-time low), and challenging in a variety of ways, it was also necessary to go through in order to continue evolving into the confident and competent physician-leader that I am striving to become. I must say though, it definitely feels great to be on the other side of that ICU stretch. My experience on my Allergy & Immunology elective rotation these past couple of days has been remarkably different from my ICU experiences. Y'all, it's literally like night and day. As a matter of fact, it took me a couple of days to unwind and calm my nerves for this rotation after having been in a constant state of uneasiness for the past couple months. Boooyyy, have I missed this elective life.
This past month in the NICU was demanding, but nowhere near as wild as my first month in the NICU was back in April. Granted, I did have the advantage of having had some prior experience in the unit, so things came easier to me this time around. In addition, the pandemic had just started to really kickoff during my first go-round in the NICU and I was taking care of some really complex patients, so I had those things going against me back then. My first two weeks this time around were full of day shifts where I worked as the senior resident alongside the attending physician, fellow, interns and medical students scheduled to work on the rotation with me. The work that I was performing on a daily basis was pretty similar to my workflow in April, where I would round on my patients with my team, write TPN (total parental nutrition), write all kinds of orders, go to deliveries, write an endless stream of notes, and sign-out to the night shift provider. However, I now also had the added responsibility of ensuring that the interns and medical students around me knew what they were doing and I served as a valuable resource for them to use for whatever questions or areas of concern they had. Being able to help guide them as they navigated through the NICU for the first time was a rewarding experience and it further underscored the substantial amount of growth I've gone through up to this point as a resident physician.
The last two weeks of my rotation consisted primarily of night shifts, where I worked alongside the fellow on call, the nurse practitioner, and all the other NICU nurses to keep the babies in the unit stable throughout the night. It was a bit strange to not have any residents or medical students working with me during the night, but I ended up getting used to it after a few shifts. The nights primarily consisted of us touching base with each of the nurses during “night rounds”, attending deliveries, and admitting patients either from the delivery room or from an outside hospital. In my opinion, the workflow at night was sooo much better than the workflow during the day. It was much more flexible, I wasn't spending a ton of time trying to perform an endless amount of tasks and write progress notes at the same time, I had more free time to think through the pathophysiology of my patients, and I was afforded more autonomy in making clinical decisions about the patients I was responsible for.
I also got to attend anywhere from 20-30 deliveries, with most of them being just myself and the charge nurse present for resuscitation purposes. Let me tell you, there is nothing more jolting than being handed a blue & limp baby and realizing that your only responsibility in that very moment is to make the baby breathe. That will wake you up faster than any amount of coffee could. It is incredible just how effective drying & stimulating the baby, suctioning the nose and mouth of the baby, and providing effective positive pressure ventilation to the baby is in forcing the baby to breathe on his/her own. On various occasions, I found myself being very thankful to have gone through the Neonatal Resuscitation Program earlier on in the rotation. Babies are cute and all…..until they decide that they don't want to breathe. However, the vast majority of the infants I witnessed being born into this world were overall healthy and were screaming their lungs out as soon as they hit the air. The reactions that the parents had to their children being born were priceless and heart-warming. It was a huge privilege to be an active participant of such a special moment in the lives of these families. 😊
With my NICU rotation having come to an end, I am now officially 1/3 of the way done with my second year of residency. How crazy is that?? Time is really zipping by. Before we know it, I'll be applying to fellowship programs and actively planning out my post-residency life!! 😮
That's all I got for this post! I hope that you all are having a magnificent week and I'm sending nothing but good vibes to you all as you finish out the month strong!
And if you still haven't voted yet for whatever reason, GO VOTE!!!
There are no excuses for you not to make your voice heard! Your vote is your voice, and both are very powerful tools for change. Voter suppression exists because there are people who understand the power of your vote. DO NOT let anybody take that power away from you or convince you that your vote doesn't matter!
DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE SILENCED!!!
“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” – Tony Robbins
– Black Man, M.D.