Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On Being A Resident

All of my posts thus far have focused on the municipal understanding of the word resident, specifically in the City of New Haven. It's time for me to address the other side of the pun. I am a newly minted M.D. who works in the Yale hospitals in New Haven and Bridgeport. Therefore I am a New Haven Resident.

Most of my time occurs within the venue I've chosen to spend my career: the emergency department. I'll be rotating in other areas of the hospital as well, but for the next few months, I'll be an ER doc. The ED has a schedule not shared by other specialties. The emergency room is open 24 hours a day, therefore doctors must work around the clock. Few docs prefer to work nights all the time, so the shift schedule tends to cycle through the circadian cycle. This is why I am at my computer on a Tuesday morning typing away. And why you might see me jogging on the local high school track at 2:00 in the afternoon, and why I sometimes come home at 3:00 AM. The so-called "shift work" done by emergency physicians is often maligned by other specialties as making the field less serious. If those other specialties have a better idea about how to staff America's health care safety net, I'd love to hear them!

So far, I like having the flexibility of having free time during business hours, and so long as I have access to a little bit of caffeine, I think I'll be able to handle the schedule. The information however, is another story. If you can imagine a fire hose of information coming at you when you just want a sip from the drinking fountain, that's medical school. Residency is like a burst water main. Which brings me back around to the New Haven resident pun. Perhaps I need to report this hydraulic emergency to the City of New Haven. It's easy to find at the Northeast corner of York and Howard. Look for the sign that reads, "Emergency."

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