Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Hate My Schedule

"The only reason I'm coming out here tomorrow is the schedule says I have to."
-Sparky Anderson

This was my first week back in the ED, and I'd be lying if I said that I was sorry to be done with OB.  Yeah, ok, I have to admit that the OB rotation wasn't as bad as I expected.  But it still wasn't my idea of fun, either.  I also have to admit that working two weeks of night float wasn't as bad as I expected, and I even felt pretty well adjusted to the schedule by the end of last week.  So why, then, am I so annoyed about the fact that I had to work nights in the ED this whole week?

I don't really have a logical answer to that question.  On the surface, it seems like I should be happier with my schedule.  I am working fewer hours (11-12 hours per shift instead of 13-14 hours), and fewer days (4-5 days per week instead of 5-6 days).  But somehow, I'm grumpier about it anyway.  Maybe it's because the work is much more stressful and intense.  Maybe it's because I feel like I'm expected to love it.  Or maybe it's because I know that some other people aren't working as many overnights as I am.

Ah, yes, that is the key sticking point.  When everyone is working the same overnight schedule as a team, there is a sense of camaraderie born out of shared misery.  But when you know that you're working twice as many overnights as one of your fellow interns, suddenly it makes your schedule seem relatively a lot worse, even though it's better in absolute terms.  I do feel a little bad about almost biting someone's head off for commenting that it seems like I'm always working nights.  But really, I don't need anyone else's sympathy, because I feel sorry enough for myself.

The thing is, everyone hates their schedule.  We all feel like we work too many hours.  We all wish we had fewer night shifts or morning shifts or afternoon shifts, depending on which one is burning us out the most at the moment.  (Personally, I wish I had fewer of all three types of shifts!)  We all have a block or two where we get shafted, but other blocks where we come out ahead.  And in spite of my pity party about having so many night shifts, there is a significant bright side: I have two fewer shifts overall for the month than the other intern who is working fewer overnights has.  Well, when I look at it that way, maybe my schedule isn't quite so bad after all....


  1. Hey, I've enjoyed your blog, keep it up! I'm finishing up organic chemistry and will be applying in the spring... my ultimate goal is to do EM at Umass as well. I'd definitely be interested in a post about any advice for aspiring EM physicians. Thanks!

  2. I will be putting up some more posts soon, I promise! Just have had a lot going on. As for your question, I'm not sure I'm really qualified right now to give advice for aspiring EM physicians, but I'll see what I can come up with. Good luck with organic and with your apps.

  3. Like the blog! readily anticipating the next post!


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