So, if you read Part One of my First Month of Intern Year, then you’ll know I started on Psychiatry Emergency Services—12-hr shifts Monday through Friday. One of the hardest parts about that was not having time to do real-life things, especially during the pandemic. By the time I left the hospital, everything was closed. By the time I would leave for the hospital, nothing was open. That made things really difficult. It left only the weekends which ended up being the fastest 48 hours ever. I was always exhausted catching up on sleep and trying to take a stab at my mountain list of to-dos.
That being said, this was such an incredible month. I had good days and bad days. The interesting thing about psychiatry is that there’s not a day that goes by that is boring. We have a very colorful patient population and unfortunately very, very sick patients—patients who really need help.
Special shout out to my upper level who was my buddy for the first two weeks. Extra special thanks to all of the attendings who taught me much and who trusted me and helped me learn throughout this process. One thing I pride myself on is my honesty, genuine attitude, and authenticity. I found that it goes a long way with not only the people you work with but also my patients.
The toughest week was probably my first—not just because I was starting out but because it was July 4thweekend. What an eventful time. I caught COVID-19 in a patient that the ED missed. Granted, her rapid test was negative, but there was additional historical information and imaging that really had me and my attending worried. That was prior to the July 4th holiday weekend.
When I came back the Monday after July 4th, my upper level and I walked into 8 patients waiting in the ED. Our hospital’s and the entire state of Mississippi’s psychiatric beds were full that day. Meanwhile, we had several agitated and aggressive patients who were trying to flee. What a day that was. But we managed to get 7 out of 8 patients a bed on our psychiatric floor or transferred by the time the day was over. That day was hard. ED physicians were tired; we didn’t have enough beds of any time; people were piling up on stretchers in the hallways.
I will say the next day, one of the ED attending physicians stopped me and told me I did a great job and “not just for an intern, but just as a physician—great work, doctor!” If he only knew how much that meant to me.
That was a memorable few days. There was always something that needed to be done. The list of to-do’s continued to pile up. I was so grateful to have help! And I couldn’t imagine not having my upper level after the first two weeks, but stay tuned for part three as I share more of this adventure!