I think it’s important that I keep things real and share some of my fears and even vulnerabilities at times. I enjoy writing about topics and experiences I really care about. So let me share a fear—working nights. When you’re doing nights where I train in residency, you’re all alone. You’re the only psychiatrist in the hospital, and your attending is available by phone, but who really wants to call your attending at like 2 AM or even 4 AM? Of course, they are always there to help (of note—we do have a must call list), but this is the time where you really learn to be independent. You make the judgment calls.
Nights are also in house so you’re basically going to have to flip your entire sleep schedule. I’m a monster when I’m up all night. I’m more of a day person, definitely not a night person. So, I’m worried. I’m worried about feeling groggy all the time and feeling isolated. I’ll almost never see daylight. That’s another scary thing. It’s hard to be up alone, not seeing your family or friends, not being able to really engage in anything social. The extrovert in me is absolutely terrified of this social isolation and also fear of missing out.
Our schedule is also pretty intensive. Night shift is 12 hours (but always ends up being longer) 5 days a week, so you only get the weekends off. Anyone who has ever worked a 12-hour shift can tell you, it’s rough—let alone 5 days in a row with only 2 days off just to go back and do it again. Plus, it’s the holidays since it’s in December. Daylight savings doesn’t help either.
So, this is me sharing my stream of consciousness. I’m fearful. I know it will be a great learning experience, but it doesn’t mean I’m not anxious about it. I think that’s an important thing just to acknowledge how you’re feeling. That’s half the battle. Wish me luck!
Thoughts from a psychiatry resident physician,
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