Thursday, February 6, 2014

Not so Emergency Rotation

This month, I am working in the emergency department. Most of us see this rotation as a sort of vacation - we only work 15 11-hour shifts in a month, plus our clinic days and didactics...which, for me, means I'll average about 55-60 hour work weeks (compared to my usual 70 hour work weeks). Those extra 10-15 hours off can make a huge difference!

The only downside of the emergency medicine month is that you're working in emergency medicine. While means in reality, I've seen about 10 cases of viral gastroenteritis, a few mild influenza, several people who fell on the ice and bruised their knee/wrist/back, and the random toothache and STD check. In short, not exactly anything I would label an emergency. In fact, I would be surprised to see most of these patients make a visit in to my clinic with these complaints - these are such mundane problems that they in all likelihood wouldn't even see their PCP for these problems. But they show up in the ED. It's so bizarre. I'd much prefer them to be in a clinic with their PCP, not only because of continuity of care and appropriate use of resources and savings of our healthcare dollars, but also because it would actually suit the patients best. The treatments I can give in the ED are vastly different than what I can do in the clinic, such as looking for underlying cause of problem and being able to treat that rather than just stick a bandaid over the wound, so to speak. It's hard to find much job satisfaction in this environment.

Only 3 days into this rotation and I'm already jaded. Despite being a "Vacation Month",  I can't wait to be back on the floors and doing what I love again.