My perspective on time in the hospital has certainly changed in the last two and a half years. I remember, even as recently as the end of my intern year, watching the clock intently as the end of a shift got closer, and being very antsy if something came up at the last minute to prevent me from leaving. I also used to spend a good deal of time pondering my days off for the month, and exactly when they fell, and how far apart they were.

I don’t pay as much attention to those specific times any more. I come in as early as I need to so that I can round on patients to my satisfaction. (To me, that means reviewing all the drips on ICU patients, reviewing and correcting all labs, and reviewing the most important consultants’ notes [for me, infectious diseases], before signing in with the team.) I stay as late as necessary to tuck my patients in for the night, and make sure that I’ve checked the intern’s orders from the day. If a case is running late, I expect to stay late with the chief, and don’t pay too much attention to the time. The work is becoming more important, and the time less important.

Which is actually less stressful. It’s almost more peaceful, not thinking so much about time of day. Of course, the corollary is that I’m so busy I scarcely look at the time except when I need to date a note, or in terms of figuring out how cases are running in the OR (usually not that important; our OR is so chronically slow and late, there’s always time to do another chore before the next case starts).

As for days off, after pulling a couple stretches of four weeks straight (between one month and another), working two or three weeks straight through isn’t such a big deal anymore. Four weeks, though – I was definitely getting pretty crazy by the end of those. That was more definitely dangerous for patients than working 30hrs straight.

You get acclimated to anything, I guess.

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