Thursday, May 7, 2009

Home Call, Take 2

So I tempted fate blogging about home call while I was on call. It has been a really busy week. We've just been swamped. And I am really ready for a day off after working for days and days in a row. Luckily, I get my last week of vacation next week. I am SO excited.

Anyway, back to home call. Basically, you're sitting around waiting for the pager to go off. Depending on how heavy your home call tends to be, it can be a quiet night at home answering a couple of random pages here and there, or a total nightmare where you are basically working non-stop from home or going back into the hospital. When you have the heavy nights where you are up all night, there is no "post-call" day to recover. You go into work and work another full day. And if your program does long blocks of home call, you might be on call again that night and the next and the next.

Another thing I have discovered about call from home is that it makes it harder to get things done. There's something about paging someone back to a number outside of the hospital that seems to make it take longer for your pages to get answered, if they ever are. Computer access can be a nightmare depending on your hospital's system. You have no back-up nearby. If you do not know what to do, or just want to run a plan by someone, you have to call someone else, most likely your attendings. At 3 am you may not want to call them because as much as they say they are there anytime, they will not be happy to hear from you then.


Resident Anesthesiologist Guy (RAG) said...

I think the NSGY residents have to take home call as well, which means they're at the hospital all day and night. Basically they are q2 call for the entire 7 year residency and work 100 hours or more a week, but they skirt the ACGME rules with "home call" designation. I'm glad that my program doesn't do a lot of home call, but we do have designated residents to be 1st, 2nd (these two are inhouse), 3rd, and 4th call residents. R3 and R4 are usually at home, but can be called in at any time - so it's essentially home call as well.

Just under 2 months for internship to be over and done. Can you believe it?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I'm an attending, in practice for 10 years, and love being at home with my family.

BUT- what you have written here still holds true. I HATE being dragged back in to the hospital from home. As a result, when I'm, on call, I will hang out in the doc lounge and surf, or go to my office (next door to the hospital) and do paperwork, to keep from going home.

My house is quite close to the hospital, but drives me crazy to have to go back to work from there.

The Lone Coyote said...

RAG - it seems that here too the surgical subspecialties have it the worst with home call. Ophtho especially gets slammed at most places from what I hear. I cannot believe this year is about over.

Grumpy - I'm not surprised to hear that going back in still hurts as an attending. I would imagine it might be even worse in a way. At least as residents we have come to expect our outside lives to be continually disrupted during our training.