On My Own

Facing the Onslaught

It’s very different being an attending.  Being the only one in the E.D.  Working alone for the first time.  I felt a little lonely.

My site director showed up at the beginning of my shift with a cup of coffee.  He hung around for about 30 minutes and then just disappeared.  No safety net.  No chance for me to second guess myself and ask him about a patient.  Just me making the decisions.

Today the hospital changed to a new tracking board and patient EMR system.  Luckily it was one I had worked with before.  The nurses were trying to learn the new system just as I was.  We were learning together.

Nurses really do help pull you out of yourself.  Just when you think you really suck and feel you are falling so far behind that you will have everyone leave due to long wait times, the charge nurse will stop and tell you that the flow is going great.  Another will pat you on the back and say, “Great First Day for all of us so far.”

Then you start to believe you can do it.  You pull from somewhere deep inside, and you jump in feet first and continue to face the deluge of patients.  You were thrown out into the water to sink or swim by someone who trusted you would start paddling…. and amazingly, you’re able to keep your head above water.  Guess you were ready after all.

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