Sifting Through Chaos

Working overnight shifts are tough as hell man. I really don’t know how my mom did it all those years as a night-shift trauma RN. Thing is, it’s not even the actual shift that makes it hard. Once you’re working, it feels like any other shift that you would usually work. It’s the preparation and recovery from the shift that makes it challenging…I just woke up from a 5-hour recovery nap from my 11 PM – 7 AM shift last night/this morning and I’m still here sipping on some coffee to make sure I make it through the rest of my day. I also took a 4-hour nap before my shift which helped a ton, especially since I had spent half of my day yesterday helping mold the minds of young high school students. More on that later. Because of this shift, my weekend has been flipped upside-down, and my nap this morning could potentially affect my sleep tonight as well. It’s wild how much of an impact the timing of a shift can have on the days surrounding it. It reminds me of my overnight shifts during Ob/Gyn, where I had a four-day stretch of night shifts. Now THAT was hard. At least with this rotation I only have one night shift scheduled.

The night shift actually went by pretty fast though and I’m glad I got the opportunity to do one because I saw some WILD stuff bruh. The moment I arrived, we got hit with a couple of trauma cases and from there we sustained a level of activity in the ED that kept pretty much everyone busy. With the vast majority of the trauma patients we treated being victims of either gun violence or burns, it was hugely important that we treated them in a very efficient and effective manner. With so much movement and activity going on during these cases, I felt like I was in the way of everyone half of the time. But during the other half, I felt like I was peforming meaningful tasks for the patient, which was a great feeling. I almost felt like I was in one of those medical dramas lol. Although we were kept busy most of the night, there were a couple of lulls where the team could catch their breath and do some learning with the attending physician. I also got the opportunity to help repair a laceration right before my shift ended! Although I moved pretty slow, I think that I did a good job stitching up the patient’s wound. There’s always room for improvement though. 😅

The day before my shift, I got the opportunity to participate in a Trauma Simulation Lab at the school with EMS and Nurse volunteers. In this lab, my rotation group was split into two separate groups and we rotated through three different trauma scenarios while switching between the various roles of the trauma team (airway management, secondary survey, recorder, & team leader). The three roles I played were the recorder, the physician who performed the secondary survey of the patient, and the team leader. The team leader was by far the hardest role to play because with the limited knowledge I had about these situations, I was literally calling all of the shots in the scenario. It was pretty uncomfortable to say the least, but I feigned confidence and managed to get everyone through the scenario with some much appreciated help from the EM physician observing us. This simulation lab gave me the knowledge and insight to appreciate what was going on around me in the trauma cases last night. Talk about perfect timing. Instead of viewing everything as chaos, I was able to figure out what everyone’s role on the team was and why they were doing what they were doing. As chaotic as the trauma cases last night seemed, the communication and activity between the healthcare providers were actually very organized once you got down to the core of everything. Being able to dissect the organized chaos around me was pretty neat, to say the least.

With my only other shift this past week being an evening shift in the Pediatric ED, it was a light week in regards to shift work. However, I was kept very busy with lectures, bedside teaching sessions, simulation labs, meetings and studying. The Peds ED was a great learning experience overall, where I played an important part in both assessing the patients after gathering information about them and helping ease the many worries of the parents. In the other simulation lab I participated in earlier in the week, we learned how to perform Advanced Cardiac Life Support by running a code on a dummy patient. I helped perform CPR on the patient, which is EXHAUSTING if you didn’t already know. You gotta really press down hard to effectively pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body. No wonder people’s ribs get shattered during CPR.

dave chapelle what GIF

I also led one of the codes in this simulation, which was actually more uncomfortable than the simulation I led later in the week. But I figured that I might as well get this experience now, where screwing up would be much more forgiven than in a real-life scenario. I have to give props to the physicians who lead these situations man. Having to manage life-and-death situations on the spot produces such a significant amount of stress, which makes it all the more incredible how well the doctors I’ve seen lead these codes do so. But I was also told that leading these situations are never easy, no matter how experienced you are as a physician. That’s not hard to believe though; it’s literally a matter of life and death.

I mentioned earlier that I spent my Saturday helping mold the minds of young high school students. Now I bet you’re asking how did I go about doing that. Or maybe you’re not. Lol, I don’t really care. These students are a part of Wake Forest’s College LAUNCH program, a year-long program that introduces them to various career options and leadership activities via monthly Saturday summits while expanding their professional networks. The summit I was helping out with was one that introduced them to careers in the STEM field, with my session specifically talking about the roles that physicians play in effective patient care and how we navigate through the healthcare system on behalf of our patients. It was such an awesome experience to be able to meet these young, surprisingly inquisitive minds and to allow them to engage in conversation with the standardized patient and I about real issues that affect patients and their families on an everyday basis. I was also able to sit in on a panel with other healthcare professional students and answer the many questions that the high school students had about college and how we got to where we’re at. I’m honored to have been asked to help out with this initiative! 😁

Now that I’ve typed much more than I had anticipated in this post (as I frequently do smh), allow me to bring this post to a close as I focus on getting my life together before going to FINALLY watch Avengers: The Infinity War!!! I’m so pumped man!! 😄😆🤩

Have a MARVELOUS week!

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe

– Black Man, M.D.

Demystifying The Unexposed

It has been quite an interesting week so far…and my time throughout Ob/Gyn is only going to get even more interesting.

Orientation for this rotation was about four days long and I had my first clinic day on Friday afternoon. Although each day during orientation was long and packed with information and modules, I found myself really engaged in everything that I was learning and I was very appreciative of the modules and workshops/simulations that we participated in. However, these long days have forced me to play a balancing act with keeping up with my outside studying, since I only have six weeks (now five 😭) to prepare for my upcoming shelf exam. As a matter of fact, I’m already feeling a bit crunched for time, especially since a lot of the material that I’m studying is new to me…but on the bright side, I don’t have to cover anywhere near as much information as I had to cover in the broad clerkship of Internal Medicine!

Like I just said, we were able to participate in some very informative modules, simulations and workshops during our time in orientation. These great learning opportunities included a cervix dilation and effacement palpation activity with plastic models, vaginal delivery simulations with plastic models, videos on incontinence, uterine & cervical cancer, bimanual & breast exams on some more plastic models, tying surgical knots, stitching a wound on pig feet, and performing a very thorough pelvic & breast exam on an actual person who was specially trained to help coach aspiring health professionals in performing these exams (this was quite a strange experience, but she was very good at keeping the atmosphere light and also made sure that none of us felt awkward about performing our exams! I learned so much from this particular activity!)

The hands-on approach of these learning opportunities made the information stick with me so much better than if I had to learn it all by simply reading a textbook. It also gave me more confidence (not a lot though) in performing breast and pelvic exams, exams that I’ll be having to perform on actual patients very, very soon.

 community donald nervous donald glover troy barnes GIF

My experience in an outpatient Ob/Gyn clinic on Friday afternoon was pretty chill overall. I had a fantastic attending who had patients that absolutely loved him, and whose appointments consisted mainly of quick prenatal checkups and pap smears. I was given multiple opportunities to use a doppler fetal monitor to listen for fetal heartbeats, which was a pretty neat experience! I interacted with patients who ranged from being early on in their first pregnancy to being about a couple of weeks from giving birth to their third child. The emotions emitted by all of the mothers I interacted with were fascinating and mainly consisted of excitement, concern and joy of having the blessed opportunity to give this world another human being. One other thing that gave me pause while at the clinic was the number of women around my age or younger who were pregnant with their second or third child. Unlike in high school where having a baby as a teenager was viewed in a stigmatizing manner, I’m at the age where starting a family is actually pretty common and widely viewed as normal. However even with that said, I couldn’t even begin to imagine becoming a father right now. I definitely couldn’t handle being completely responsible for another human being at this stage in my life, let alone financially afford it. It has always been intriguing to see how different the lives of others who are around my age are from my own, and I’m sure that this observation will only continue to get even more intriguing as I grow older. Interacting with these young patients also reminded me of just how much older I’m becoming. With my 24th birthday coming up next week, I’ll officially be in my mid-20s. That’s preeeeetty bewildering to me. It means that I really have to seriously think about some of the critical details concerning my future, because it’s no longer some distant time period that I can deal with later. Now is the “later” that I’ve been telling myself for years. Gulp.

Well like I said earlier, I’ve been feeling a bit crunched for time lately, so I’m going to end this post now. I got videos to watch, questions to answer, text to read, and a week of outpatient care to prepare for. Sigh. Thankfully, my girl visited me this weekend and has made my weekend work more bearable! 😄

Make sure to have a stellar week!

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

– Black Man, M.D.