Third year: 1 Confidence: Getting There

Hello my lovely people!

It is Saturday morning and I just finished my first 30 hour trauma surgery shift. I am slowly becoming less zombie-ish and becoming more human. That was an adventure. Before I jump into details, I wanted to update you on what stage of schooling I am at as I have gotten a couple emails about that and how I am handling third year of medical school.

It is Oct 1st tomorrow, which means only 12 more days of trauma surgery, and which makes it half way of third year. I have almost done six months of core rotations already, and with 6 more months to go, third year has completely hit me by surprise with how fast it has gone. I am slowly becoming more familiar with standard protocols, understanding the different orders of fluids and which patients get what, how each attending likes to be presented to, and making my way around the different hospitals. Third year is honestly just trial and error, and you can't be afraid of making mistakes and asking questions. 

Surgery is a whole other world that I never thought I would have liked. In my previous post, I talk about how I was nervous for this rotation and that I was not looking forward to it. I have definitely learned my lesson to never have preconceived notions about a rotation and to keep an open mind when starting something new. I have absolutely loved it so far and with my first week in trauma surgery down, it is safe to say I would never do trauma as a career, the experience has been unreal. Here is an example of a day shift and night shift in my current rotation:

4:30am-get up
5:30am-at hospital rounding on my patient and writing a note (by myself)
6:30am- trauma surgery lecture with whole team
7:00am-sign out-where the night team hands over the night admissions to day team
8:00am- ICU rounds, where we go to each patient's room and chat about them, this is where I would present my patient in front of everyone [can be more than 15 ppl] and chat about if they had any acute events overnight, their labs, if they are scheduled for any surgeries that day, etc. 
9:30am/10am-6:30pm-the rest of the day is filled with trauma calls [mind you trauma calls can happen at any time, and there have been days where we would not finish rounding or lecture as a trauma would come in] and helping the residents with procedures at the bedside, ex: central lines, A-lines, suturing wounds, etc. And if your attending is in the OR, you must scrub in to each case with him/her, so we have to check the OR board frequently. 
6:30pm-night team arrives and you STAY all night. This is exhausting as traumas seem to happen more at night, and you have been up since 4:30am that day and you stay throughout the night. The med student's job is to help the intern on call (the first year resident) with little procedures, helping with notes and trauma admissions. This can be so tiring. If there is absolutely nothing to do, no trauma calls, nothing the intern wants you to do, you can try and get some sleep on the fifth floor, but as soon as you put your head down, the trauma bell will go off! It always seems to happen to me lol
6:30am that next morning-lecture again with whole team
7:00am-sign out (we hand over our new admissions to the day team)
8:00am-9:30am/10am- ICU rounds- I would present one of the new admissions overnight
Total hours: 30. 

Whew! It is quite the experience, folks! There is no other feeling that being up for a total of 30 hours and running to the trauma bay when the bell goes off. I didn't drink any coffee as the adrenaline just keeps you awake. The injuries included multiple motor vehicle collisions, gun shot wounds, drunk driver on a moped who crashed himself into a tree, transfers from another hospital as we are a level 1 trauma center with more resources, and more. It was an experience like none other and even though I know I don't want to do this for a living, it has given me the perspective I needed to confirm that trauma surgeons are pretty badass. Holy moly. The level of knowledge that these surgeons have and the residents blows me away. 

All in all, third year has been a whirlwind of an experience. It has taught me to be confident in the times a question comes along and everyone is waiting for an answer. It has taught me that I CAN do this, and it has taught me that I would not want to do anything else with my life. Have I missed birthdays, holidays, weddings, the birth of one of my best friends babies? Yes. But the people I have in my life understand my commitment, they understand that I am putting my life on hold to help the lives of others. I am in school at age 29 when a majority of my friends have houses, full time jobs they have had since graduating college, kids, even multiple children, and I am here getting over a 30 hour shift knowing that I am going in tomorrow for a 14 hour shift [4:30am-6:30pm remember!?]. Life in med school is such an indescribable experience that you have to be here to follow me around to really get a grasp of how taxing it is, but with every passing day, my confidence builds, my answers get stronger, my critical thinking improves, and my vision as a doctor gets closer and closer. 

Thank you all for being on this journey with me, and thank you all for believing in me since day 1. I am so happy to take the time to update you all on my adventures, and when I walk across that stage in a little over a year and a half, May 2019, you know I will be thinking of you. 

Get after it today, even if that means doing the long days, the dirty stuff, the hard stuff. 

It will be worth it. 

Bye for now,

-E xo


Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.
- Henry Ford