Thursday, May 01, 2008

What I Have Learned So Far on the Wards

Four days of working at the inpatient pediatric ward at Parnassus (someone who works here a lot would be called "Little Miss Moffitt"!) and it feels like I've been here for TWO months!

Lessons learned from the wards so far:

1) Medical school may possibly be detrimental to your own health. A classmate observed that doctors spend so much time obsessing about other people (the patients) by talking about them for hours, measuring every mL of fluid that enters and leaves their bodies, writing about them, visiting them, that it's ironic how healthcare workers forgo the basic building blocks of life: eat, sleep, exercise, go outside for fresh air and sunlight.

2) Abbreviations are extremely annoying and yet irresistibly convenient. New one: EOMI. Still don't know what c/c/r means.

3) Patients complain that they never see the doctor, but the doctor spends 10 hours everyday thinking about the patient, talking about the patient during rounds, making phone calls about the patient, writing orders for the patient, and writing progress notes for the patient...and then they spend 10 minutes interviewing and examining the patient!

4) Doctors can lose perspective by working the hospital everyday. Last night, we admitted a patient at 8 p.m., and after working for more than 12 didn't seem like anything new or exciting. But the family was really anxious because the patient was spending the night and it was all so unfamiliar and scary for them. Working in a hospital can give you a strange sort of myopia about what is normal and what is not...because everything normal at Moffitt is abnormal in the "real world."

I am loving my pediatrics rotation so far. Pediatricians are perhaps one of the nicest species of doctors, they are usually very happy and nurturing with a good sense of humor. I think it's impossible to be angry or bitter when you are surrounded by little children and adorable babies sitting in red plastic wagons pulled around the hallways or sitting at the nurses' station. Seriously, where else am I going to find a ward filled with red plastic wagons bearing adorable smiling kids (err...hooked up to IV's).

Yesterday, we had a talk on sickle cell anemia given by Dr. Mentzer (of Mentzer Index fame!). He is a professor emeritus at UCSF, and he talked about how he just grafted his pinot noir plants in the backyard.

Random Amusing Quotes:

Me: I don't even know how UCare works!
Intern: It barely does.

Me: [An 11 year-old boy] urinated on himself this morning and he became really embarassed and started to cry.
Attending: Happens to the best of us.

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