Sunday, July 15, 2007

2 weeks down, 142 to go...

I can't believe it's only been 2 weeks since I started residency. I feel exhausted already. I was on call last night and I felt like such a zombie. Everything I did was in slow motion. I almost fell asleep walking downstairs to the nursery. And at one point, I thought to myself, "How am I going to do this for THREE YEARS??"

There's something wrong with the medical career field. Whoever thought doctors can pull 24-hour shifts and make good decisions was out of their mind. I can feel myself getting dumber and dumber the later the night gets. And the problem is, there's a whole cohort of doctors who have this philosophy that "because I went through it, everyone else should, too." There are older doctors who would probably be extremely annoyed by this blog because they'd say I have nothing to complain about. We have a new policy now, the so-called "80-hour work week." Old-school doctors scoff at this, thinking they've softened residency too much. But if we break it down, here's what we get. There are 168 hours in a week. If you work 80 of them, that leaves you with 88 hours. Studies have shown that most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep a night in order to be functional and avoid accumulating sleep debt. That means of the remaining 88 hours, 56 hours should be for sleeping. That leaves you with 32 hours to do anything else with your life. That's 4.5 hours a day. Plus if you add commute time to and from work, you probably only have about 3.5 or 4 hours.

There just aren't enough hours in the day. If you ever wonder why your doctor seems so rushed or perhaps isn't giving you the attention you think you deserve... well maybe this will help you understand a little better. It's such a demanding career field. And I'm only 2 weeks into it. Yikes!

1 comment:

g9ine said...

"The U.S. Department of Transportation governs work hours and other working conditions of truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce. A long-distance driver may drive for 11 hours and work for up to 14 hours—including driving and non-driving duties—after having 10 hours off-duty. A driver may not drive after having worked for 60 hours in the past 7 days or 70 hours in the past 8 days unless they have taken at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty."

I copied that from the U.S. Department of Labor website.

I find it interesting that the guy carting my produce around is required to get rest while the person caring for my health is allowed to "operate" (i.e., function) in a sleep deprived state.

Seems like the person giving the advice on how I should care for my body should also be modeling the behavior. Next time I'm sick I'm going to stop a truck driver and ask him for some medical attention. :-)