Yeah, ladies and gentleman, that's me.
I spent most of my year as an ED resident, which hasn't been too bad to me in terms of working hours, as you're typically rostered for 76 hours a fortnight. Given the high intensity of the work, this is understandable... You wouldn't be able to function very well in a cardiac arrest if you've worked 140 hours a fortnight as you sometimes do as a specialty resident. Sleep deprivation results in your brain cells committing suicide and the last place you'd want to be working in with that kind of mental reserve is the Emergency Department.
ED has been fun. I've even taken up the Emergency Medicine Certificate this year because I've enjoyed it so much, and I wanted to get something out of it. Probably the only thing I would change about my year in ED is that the year has been mostly unsupervised, given that night shifts are only covered by 2 residents. There are no consultants on overnight and there are no ED registrars ever.
As an ED resident, I've had the opportunity to cover specialty wards after hours and overnight, which adds a bit of variety to the work. But again, you're pretty much the senior on-site. Don't get me wrong, I've loved the experience and I've gained plenty of new skills... I just feel like on the flip side, I've missed out on opportunities to learn from a mentor, which is really what being a junior medical officer is all about. To me, the lack of supervision is a pretty big deal... Especially at this stage of my career. Sure, I'm qualified to do the job... That doesn't mean that I wouldn't love the opportunity to learn from someone who's done the job for far longer than I have.
My last month at the hospital involves me working as both the Hospital Redesign HMO (a position I've held for most of 2014) while working full time as the Paediatric Resident. As expected, Paediatrics has been fun. There's been a lot of learning and mentoring opportunities, as the treating team consists of just me and the 4 rotating Paediatricians. As we do not have Paediatric Registrars, I'm pretty much performing that role... Except I'm paid as a junior medical officer. There have been plenty of opportunities for procedures and I've even gone to doing the last few unsupervised as my skill and confidence have grown.
As much as I love the work, the days are long and fairly busy. It takes a lot out of you. I've been rostered for seven 14-hour days a fortnight, which include cover shifts where I'm also responsible for the O&G and Psychiatry wards as well, including admissions and discharges. I was on the phone with one of the Paediatric Infectious Disease Consultant in a metropolitan hospital a couple of weeks ago and at the end of the discussion she asked, "I've spoken to you quite a few times this week... What are you still doing in the hospital at this hour of day on a weekend?" After I explained what my rostered fortnight to her looked like, she exclaimed in disgust, "That is just ghastly!"
Indeed, it is... But, hey... Somebody has to do it.
It certainly didn't help that all the other residents decided to take their annual leave all at the same time, followed by a couple of them being off sick. When it came down to it, there were so few of us left that we needed to take on extra shifts but even then, everyone agreed that I have the worst roster by far. I really does feel like I'm residing in the hospital. The good of it is that it's great for experiential learning, the bad of it is that I'm exhausted... And that's not very conducive to learning.
However, I'm on the home stretch. I've done the hard yards and I'm almost at the finish line. After today, it's just one more day and I'll be done. So that's what I keep telling myself.
Just one more day... And then I'll get my rest.