A year ago I was in Vegas attending ACEP SA and looking forward to starting my new career as an attending physician.  Now I am an attending physician looking forward to attending ACEP SA in San Francisco.  It’s been quite the year, with a LOT of things learned along the way…

– With a good supporting staff you can run two codes at the same time.

– It’s never easy when a patient dies… it’s even harder when they come back to life after you’ve pronounced them.

– Suddenly the painful bread and butter patients become your bread and butter.

– Nights and weekends,  you’re the central line, intubation and OB specialist.

– Draining an abscess is still satisfying.

– I hate dictating.

– I realized one day about six months in, that I will probably be here to see some of my pediatric patients grow up, some of my elderly frequent fliers die, and I will end up with some “private” patients.

– The surgeon who yelled at you one day will be the one who comes in and places a chest tube and central line for you the next when you’ve got a major trauma and a full board and growing rack.

– The Darwin Awards exist for a reason as exemplified by the girl with the C2 unstable fracture that left AMA because I wouldn’t “schedule” her a neurosurgery appointment and who “had too much to do” to be transferred to the other hospital up the road.  She ended up driving herself about 2 hours later to the hospital and couldn’t be taken to surgery until later that night because she’d stopped at McDonald’s for a full meal… while wearing her C-collar at least…

– Really sick peds patients still scare me.

– Necessity really is the Mother of Invention

A year ago when I became an attending at this small rural hospital,  I posted a blog about being thrown into the water not sure if I would sink or swim.  A year later, I think I’ve mastered dog-paddling; this next year I will probably be learning some simple strokes.  Just keep swimmin’ Just keep swimmin’…  I look forward to seeing you in San Fran!!

  1. #1 by Jay Kaplan, M.D., FACEP - October 13th, 2011 at 17:53

    Thank you for your sensitivity, candor, and commitment. I am certain that you are an outstanding physician who cares deeply and well for your patients. Come share your poetic words at the open mic night sponsored by the Medical Humanities section.

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