Friday, I got my first pager!! This marked an exciting time in my career because I will be living my lifelong dream working in the hospital taking care of patients and one step closer to becoming a doctor. I also know that this will mean more responsibilities and my actions will be instrumental because patients lives will be in my hands. Majority of the time, I will be the first person seeing the patient early in the morning (usually around 530am but on Surgery rotation can be as early as 415am) and then I will have to report and present to the head doctor (called the attending). This is what we called “Rounds” and a team of individuals ranging from nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and students get together and discuss our plans of the day for each patient. I will present on the patient that I examined earlier that morning and then participate in what we call “Pimping”. This is when the head doctors drill me with questions about my patients condition. This entails not only knowing your physical exam findings but also having some fond of knowledge of the patient disease process, etc. This can be a time to shine if you know your information or a time of embarrassment in front of all your superiors and colleagues if you get asked a question and dont know the answer.
We ended up having a full day of orientation which entailed receiving lectures from the Dean of the medical school, Clerkship directors and hospital personnel. The Vice-president of Medstar (healthcare network for DC and MD) then gave us a riveting lecture about a medical student who made a mistake and killed a patient. Apparently, the resident told the med student to remove a central line (a IV catheter used to monitor patients fluid status and also used to infuse large amounts of medications, fluids, etc) from a patient. When the med student went to remove the line, he didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent air from getting into the patients IV line. When he pulled the line out, the patient took a breath and breathed in air into his/her line. The patient died within 30 seconds. This resonated within each and every one of my classmates and I and made us realize that any mistake made in the hospital (as simple as removing an IV line from a patient) can be detrimental and may end up costing a patient his/her life.