My goal of surviving my first month in the NICU is working so far. I made it to my golden weekend relatively unscathed, except for being really tired.
First of all, I have to day that there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision in leaving pathology. The past few weeks have been really hard in some ways, but I am so much happier. It is like night and day, and the people in my life have all noticed.
So what has been going on for the past few weeks? I survived a *really* long period of orientation. It was much longer and more tedious than that at my previous program. Much of it was not all that useful, but it did allow me some good time for bonding with my intern class and some of the others in my program. That was probably the best part. I like my intern class--they're good people, and I think we will definitely have some fun in the next three years. We did get to do some fun stuff during orientation, like hiking, being taken out to dinner, BBQs, etc. My program has also given us some very useful sessions with orientations to different rotations and is taking some time to get us set up on the hospital's EMR. All of this is really helpful and a nice change from the "here you go, figure it out" mentality that I have encountered elsewhere.
I started in the NICU July 1. While I was expecting to be lost and useless, I was not really sure what it would look like. By the time rounds started that day, I had figured it out: I did not even speak the language. That first day I understood maybe 20% of the words being said. That is slowly getting better, but I am still pretty lost on the details of feedings and ventilators, which is the bulk of NICU. My basic function is to collect tons of data each morning on the babies and to read it out during rounds in a somewhat systems-based manner. Formulating a plan for my babies is a work in progress, and usually goes something like, "Baby A is a 24 day old male infant who is...uhhh... doing well on his current feeding regimen... I think we should, uhhh.. continue this." Overall, I think it is going about as well as it can, and everyone tells me that the 2nd month of NICU that I will do later this year is where a lot of things will start to seem much clearer.
I have had 2 call nights so far. They were polar opposites of each other. One was very calm and light, and we actually slept 4-5 hours. The other was really busy with sick-baby chaos erupting from every which way, and I felt lucky to get to lie down for an hour or so. It is definitely going to take some getting used to the q4 schedule again, and I have yet to figure out the best way to deal with the post-call day. Not sleeping at all during the next day seemed not to work well, and napping for a few hours was okay but made it harder for me to sleep early that night. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.
Well, I am off to enjoy my 2 days off. The 2nd half of this month is going to be much harder for me, since I have the bulk of days off early on. But hopefully by then I will be a little more comfortable with the work so it will flow a bit better.