Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Hours Part 2

I'm on a Q 3 schedule right now and it absolutely killing me. Slowly, painfully. Death by a thousand sleepless nights. Or at least that's how I feel. I'm scheduled to be on call 10 times in the next 28 days. Let's think about that. Thirty hours a shift X 10 shifts and were talking three hundred hours. Now in the real world, the world of forty hour weeks, it would take me 7 and a half weeks to accumulate that many hours. But I'm an intern. My sole purpose is to serve as a cheap source of labor. So that means in 10 shifts, I will work as many hours as it takes a normal person to do in almost 2 months. Does no body else understand the absurdity of this. And during your two months, you will get to go home, get federally mandated lunch breaks, call in sick if you need to. And I will get none of that... not in my ten days.
Old school docs, those who don't support limiting hours will say it's not that bad, you can still get some sleep. I'm working in the trauma ICU. I'm in charge of 16 critically injured patients, by myself, all night long. I don't sleep. I not allowed to actually. This particular ICU was cited recently for not providing interns with a place to sleep at night. So they created one on the 7th floor. Little room that even says SICU intern on the door. Reality check. The ICU is on the third floor and the call room is on the seventh. I'm not allowed to leave the ICU. No matter what. If I leave I'll fail the rotation. So every night at my hospital there is an empty call room with a nice comfy bed and there is a SICU intern who badly needs to lay down. And next time the AMA comes by to evaluate working conditions, my program will point to the SICU call room, and the reps will nod their heads approvingly. But no one will notice the sad, exhausted, depressed intern who will never get to sleep there.