These words seem to be a running theme lately. If you are newish medical student, or just starting off resident, chances our you know what I'm talking about.
Are these words of warning? Are you trying to save us? What makes other, older, wiser nurses, residents, attendings want to deflate the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Bambis' of their idealistic views? Why do you need to tell me it won't last? Why shouldn't we be as eager as a toddler to get a new toy?
-My friend Beth is one week from being done with her training and she has a job lined up to work as a PA in the ER. While rotating one day in her future ER, a nurse, and soon to be co-worker tells Beth that she will become like all the others soon enough, JADED. Beth denies this. The nurse insists. She has seen it happen, time and time again. It isn't clear why she is telling Beth this but it makes an impression.
-During my first week of surgery rotations I happened to work a long day. I arrived to the hospital around 4am and happened to talk to one of the nurses about a mutual patient of ours. The RN was working the night shift and remembered me, so 18 hours later when I was back on the floor checking on a patient before I left for the day she made sure to tell me that my enthusiasm was temporary. She also told me I should go home. And while she was right and maybe I did need to go home I remember in that moment thinking to myself, I hope this lasts, I hope I always care this much about each patient I take care of, this is my job to be devoted.
A classmate started her rotations this week and she is on my FM team. When she got her first patient to admit she did a celebratory dance, complete with clapping and jumping up and down, right in the middle of the ER. I laughed (I can recall my own enthusiasm and the joy one feels when she is finally seeing a patient, by herself.) The resident gave her a funny look as she skipped happily away. "What is up with her?" the resident asked me. "It is her FIRST patient!" I replied. The resident sighed, "I wish I was still so excited to admit a patient, I don't remember ever being that eager."
And yet, I am sure the resident was. At one time she was an idealistic, eager, enthusiastic doctor in training. Just like we all start out as... Bambis.
And I'm sure those nurses are right. Over time, in a few years, or maybe a decade my friend Beth may become jaded. The ER is a tough place to work. ER staff deals with sick, scared, patients. People can be at their worst and burnout in the ER field is real. But does that mean we have to try and take the idealism away before it wears off?
I did tire of 16 hour days. And note to self-seeing the same nurse separated by two shifts signals it is time to go home. But it will continue to happen. Even if I'm not always happy about it. And I should stay so devoted.
And yes, my classmate will stop dancing every time she gets assigned a new patient to admit. However my hope is that we continue to remember that feeling of enthusiasm from time to time.
Idealist, devoted, enthusiastic. Sure we all still Bambis but you know what, we wouldn't change it for the world, being a Bambi is a pretty cool thing! Go ahead, call me Bambi, I'm proud to be!
(Now where is my nurse like Carla?)
And because we all need some music in our day and not because this has ANYTHING to do with my post...