Tuesday, July 7, 2009


All right! 3rd year of med school officially started and with it, after another long orientation, I got my first patient. Unfortunately, because I showed up in the middle of the day, I had to pick up a patient who has already been in the hospital for weeks. This means going through a lot of charts (dozens per day, by various MDs, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, etc.) There are two problems with this: 1) I have no idea how to use the hospitals computer system and have to click around for several minutes before I can get to where I need to go. 2) So many abbreviations! I know that doctors like shorthand, but just with this one patient, there are a dozen abbreviations that I've never seen before. Some even have multiple meanings. I've figured a lot out from context: SBP = systolic blood pressure, but SBP treated with cefotaxime is spontaneous bacterial peritonitis... seems easy to figure out, but when your eyes are glazing over the 24th progress note, its easy to confuse the two. Others, I still have no idea... the google helps, but I'll just have to break down and ask someone about some of them tomorrow.

We were told that within 72 hours most of this will make sense, but I have a hard time believing that. We'll see. Meanwhile, I gotta figure out how I'm going to preround tomorrow morning (see the patient before the residents and attending physician does) and prepare myself to present my patient to the attending (focused, yet thorough - seems like an oxymoron to me).

mfp = my first patient


  1. I'm glad that internal med is going OK so far. I felt similarly way over my head yesterday on surgery, but the team is very cool and they let me out by 6, so that's nice. Although they round at 6, meaning I have to get in earlier to pre-round, so I guess it still spells at least 60-hour work weeks. Spent more time than that in the lab...

  2. Nice. I guess 12 hr days is pretty nice in surgery. I got out at 1:30 yesterday (PM!), that's about a 7 hour day... not bad (though I spent less time in the lab than that).

    ... and dude, up at 1:30 am and you gotta be in the hospital at 5:30!! You'll have to shift your sleeping schedule.

  3. 7 hour day! 60 hour work weeks?! Where do you guys go to medical school? Most of us were at least bumping up against the 80 hour limit on inpatient services. And it's uphill both ways! Always in the snow, even in july! /whine

    Admittedly, you guys are probably just working the whole time. We have downtime but the culture says "work long hours"

  4. Yeah, I'm on a "light" service, in the urology subspecialty of surgery. It's light because I only work 12-hour days and no weekends. That will change when I'm on general surgery, I'm sure (especially as I will have to be there every weekend).

  5. That 7 hr day will never happen again. I had a good 12 yesterday and am promised about 17 today.