A mentor once told me to document every special moment and positive words my patients would share with me. He told me that there will be times in my career and my journey where I will have rainy days. If I document the sunny days with rainbows, I’ll always be able to remind myself why I chose a career in medicine as a physician. This attending physician is one of the most special mentors to me and continues to be. He knows who he is, and I can tell you one thing—I am so blessed to have him in my life. He is one of the most kind-hearted, genuine people I know. Thank you for your investment in me.
If you’re reading this, then it means I have survived my Emergency Medicine rotation—a rotation I was dreading. It can be so anxiety-provoking, fast-paced, and no time for the weary. On my last night shift, we had several motor vehicle crashes. Patients were filling up rooms. My team was preoccupied with one patient who ended up needing a chest tube and was in the middle of being intubated. So here I am the psychiatry intern bouncing from room to room figuring out what’s wrong with these patients until my attending becomes available.
There was one patient with abdominal pain. At first, I thought, hmm, do I really need to be seeing this patient right now? I listened to his story—the history. I performed a physical exam. I knew this was bad. Between the history and physical exam, I knew this patient likely needed emergency surgery. His abdomen was peritonitic, and this patient likely had a bowel perforation. I start firing away at the computer getting orders ready until my attending became available. I questioned if I was over-reacting or if I really knew what I was talking about.
When my attending became available, I told her I truly believed this patient was sick. We got an upright chest x-ray and did a bedside ultrasound. Before I knew it, his pressure was tanking and he was very tachycardic. We gave him fluids and were ready to give emergency blood. Then before I knew it, the surgery team I consulted were in the room. The patient was headed to the OR. As he was being rolled away, he looked at me, reached his hand out, looking at me in distress, and mouthed thank you.
My attending told me I did a great job. She said I did the right thing. We saved that patient. I saved that patient. It was surreal. That’s why I went into medicine. I am so grateful for every physician and the work that they do. It’s easy to rely on imaging and labs. But it was neat to be able to diagnose this patient based on history and physical exam. This is what makes medicine so rewarding. I hope to save several more lives in the field of psychiatry. I hope to be able to provide quality of life to many people. This is what I love about medicine. What started out as a rainy day became a sunny one with a rainbow for me. I am grateful for my training, and I hope to be an amazing physician.
Thoughts from a psychiatry intern,