I'm back to elective life and maaaannn I most definitely needed this break from the daily grind!
I started my radiology elective last week and because most of it is virtual-based learning, I've been able to spend some more time at home than usual, which also means that I've been able to spend more time with my fiancée. This is the closest that I've gotten to working from home ever since the pandemic started last March. It has only been a week but I've already learned a good amount of practical information from the radiology modules that I've been assigned and I've been taking advantage of the virtual radiology rounds that I've been invited to. I also got the opportunity to go into the radiology reading room last week, where I interacted with radiology residents and attendings as they read images (chest/abdominal/joint x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, etc.) and performed radiologic procedures like VCUGs (voiding cystourethrogram) and SBFTs (small bowel follow throughs). I'll be going back to the reading room a few more times throughout the rotation, so I'll be sure to make the most of those experiences and will continue to elicit advice on how to maximize the use of their expertise as I continue my residency training.
Before starting my radiology elective, I had to power through two weeks of night shift on my pulmonology rotation. On those lone wolf night shifts, I was not only responsible for the patients on the pulmonology service, but also responsible for looking after all the patients on the heme/onc service. In addition to that, I was responsible for admitting patients to both services overnight. Sounds like a lot for one person to do, doesn't it? Well, that's because it is. Luckily, my night shifts were very manageable and although I did have a few nights where I felt like I was running around non-stop for hours at a time, I never felt overwhelmed at any given point, even when some of my patients required extra attention because of their teetering clinical status, when I had to admit adult patients to the pediatric hospital due to capacity issues on the adult side thanks to COVID, or when I had to post-call round the morning after my shift was technically over due to the increased number of patients on the heme/onc service. The experience reminded me of just how much I've grown and matured as a physician over the past year and a half. Just a year ago, those nights would have probably pushed me close to my breaking point. But after having rotated through my heme/onc rotation as well as multiple ICU and ED rotations, I have a much higher tolerance of what I can handle than I did at this point a year ago. That being said, I was very grateful for the assistance I received from the nursing staff every night, as well as from the fellows I interacted with and my co-residents who were covering other services throughout the night. My co-residents and I had some great, memorable times together those two weeks of night shift. 😊
Because I've had much more free time on this rotation than on the one I just completed, I've been able to spend more time doing other activities outside of the hospital because for whatever reason, I just can't seem to figure out how to chill the f- out and relax. However, the activities that I've been investing more time into bring me joy, so it's all good! For example, this past weekend I got the opportunity to participate in a mass vaccination effort in a nearby community that has been severely impacted by COVID. What made this opportunity to help even more significant was that this community was full of individuals identifying as Black/African-American, a population that has had its fair share of health disparities due to the underlying effects of systemic racism. As one of the clinical members of the “strike team”, I was one of the individuals responsible for entering the people who were being vaccinated into the state database, which is such a critical component of the vaccination process. The only thing more important than having one's vaccination accurately recorded in the database is actually receiving the vaccine. Let me tell you, my state does NOT make the process of entering someone in the vaccination database easy or intuitive. However, after I FINALLY figured out how to navigate the process, it pretty much became mechanical. I must have looked crazed to the people being vaccinated as they watched me furiously clicking and typing while hunched over my laptop at the end of our shared table. 😂 The experience was a day-long endeavor but it felt so good to have such a vital impact on a community who desperately needed these preventative measures against this deadly virus. All in all, my team vaccinated 100+ people that day! And my team was only one of 17 teams; we overall vaccinated 1800+ people that day across all our sites!
That's pretty much all I have to say for today. The only other exciting things that I did these past few weeks that I can think of at the moment are that I gave a virtual morning report to some of my colleagues and faculty in my program yesterday about mycobacteria, and I participated in a very engaging teaching bootcamp hosted by the UNC Academy of Educators (AOE) that was designed for residents and faculty members interested in being better educators. I'm looking forward to participating in the various sessions that the AOE will be hosting this semester as I enjoy the opportunities afforded to me as a participant of their TARHEEL (Teaching As A Resident: Highlighting the Evidence and Enthusiasm of Learning) program!
Thanks for reading! I hope that you have a fantastic rest of the week as well as a phenomenal Black History Month!! ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
“The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.” – Sydney Harris
– Black Man, M.D.