Halfway through the morning: “Alice, what’s going on with this patient? Why don’t you know?” Alice mumbles something. “That’s no excuse. You’re filling the role of senior resident today. Take care of things.”

Uh, thanks. Thanks for mentioning the role change after I’m already in trouble. I knew I was the senior, I just didn’t realize how much the attendings count on the senior on an every day basis, which means how much they count on me, even when I’m not forewarned.

That was the beginning of the rest of the day. Back to as bad as life was in June, constantly behind, expectations on all hands – attendings, nurses, interns, medical students – that I’m not fulfilling. Patients that are not receiving the amount of care I want them to have. Jobs not getting done, because every time I pick one thing up, three other people call me about something else. And getting berated the whole time.

There’s something definitely broken inside my head. The more I get rebuked, the more I want to do better. Any rational person at this point would say, Who cares what the attendings think, their expectations are unreasonable and their comments are uncalled for, forget about them, I’ll do what I want, and let them deal with it. But no, all I can do is figure that, if they expect me to function as the chief, then I’ll come in earlier and plan to stay later, so I can do everything right. As frustrated as I am, I can’t stand not to beat this. I can be responsible for thirty+ patients, I can know everything about their labs and scans and current conditions, I can be in touch with a dozen different consulting teams whose residents understandably growl at me whenever I page them and change their answer whenever my attending asks; I can. Even if it means working fifteen hours a day all week. The chief does it, right? Why shouldn’t I?

Besides, that’s the only way life will get any better. The attendings sure won’t suddenly decide to leave me alone.

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