While on neurology, I took overnight call during my two weeks on inpatient ward service. Since I had only ever done trauma and acute general surgery call in the past, I wasn’t sure how busy it would really be. I had already worked that entire day and thus, the prospect of staying at the hospital for more than 24 continuous hours wasn’t particularly enthralling, but I was up for the challenge.
As with the unpredictability of the hospital’s ebbs and flows, I ended up taking call on a particularly light night; even the night float resident was surprised, but exceedingly grateful for this period of quiet, however brief it may be. None of the ward patients were actively dying, thankfully, and most rested comfortably throughout the night. The consults we received were few and far in between and were mainly about patients who had headaches or about patients that other services wanted to transfer over to the neurology service for further management of their care. In a way, I was a little disappointed to not have the chance to observe or perhaps even do a lumbar puncture and get some critical CSF results…and I kinda did want to run a stroke alert on an actual patient using the NIH stroke scale.
Yet, the downtime was still well spent and maybe even more learning effective. I was able to benefit from some much needed teaching from the night float resident about seizures, anti-epileptic drugs, aphasias, and stroke lesions. As a third year student, I sometimes forget that learning something well doesn’t always equate to doing something in order to truly learn about that concept. All the procedures are pretty neat, but building a sense of mentorship with residents is pretty important too.