Clinical, Emergency Medicine, Featured, Housestaff Wellness
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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Or in my case:

Wake up, work, sleep.

Wake up, work, sleep.

This is my life now, as a second-year. The novelty of becoming an intern has worn off, the fresh sheen of excitement on each shift, the crampy belly pain as I walk into a critical patient’s room, the rush of adrenaline as I try to intervene on a patient slowly or rapidly dying in front of me. Get up, go work, and sleep. And not much more.

Each day as an intern as I walked in to work, I nearly skipped to each room. I was excited, I was energized, I was driven. I wanted to learn, and I wanted to grow. I skipped in and out of countless rooms on countless shifts, and slowly and surely my skips grew less bounding. My excitement at each case was replaced with the feeling of being trapped in Groundhog Day.

The nurses started chuckling when they saw me, “You were just here! Did you even go home?” With a grim smile, I realized, it felt like I never did. I saw the same patients over and over again, and they would peer at me, saying, “Didn’t you take care of me last week?” And I’d just smile, and lather, rinse, repeat.

I operate in a daze half the time, I operate in a feeling of déjà vu. I walk through these halls half asleep as I’m coming and going, and often I don’t know which to do.

All I can do, is lather, rinse, repeat.

All any of us can do is lather, rinse, repeat, and hope that the cycle is almost done.

Author’s note: This article was written on a string of shifts after reading that the American Council of Graduate Medical Education believes, on the basis of one study, that changing resident work limits in intern year to 28 hours is “non-inferior” to working 16 hours at a stretch.

Image credit: Wash Your Hands by jar [] licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Sarab Sodhi, MD Sarab Sodhi, MD (4 Posts)

Peer Reviewer Emeritus

Cooper University Hospital

I'm an Emergency Medicine Intern at Cooper University Hospital, having graduated with my MD and Masters in Urban Bioethics from Temple University School of Medicine in 2015. Medical school helped me realize that the only way for me to stay sane after seeing and doing what we do is to express it- and this is how I express the madness that is my life, and my life in medicine.