For the benefit of Teresa and her son, here’s a description of a day in the life. This may not be all medstudents on the surgical rotation, but at the moment it’s what I’m doing.
I wake up around 4AM, put on scrubs (usually, but on clinic day you dress nice), and go to work. I spend about an hour going over labs, checking vitals from overnight, in and outs as they say, and visiting with patients to ask them how their night was as well as performing a brief physical exam. I then round with my team for about half an hour, and for the patients I track, I try to present them to the residents without making a total hash of it. A historical note, several medical terms come from Johns Hopkins, including “rounding” and “residents”. Rounds came from the fact that their hospital was circular, so you literally did a round of each floor when you visited each patient. Resident came from the fact that the doctors-in-training were worked so hard they lived in the hospital during this period. Hooray for the new hours rules.
6AM – morning report, a hand-off from the night shift of the cases from the last evening. Usually a great learning experience as the residents’ presentation is an opportunity to see how experienced docs present cases, patient histories, and make diagnoses.
7AM – class, a clinician visits the medstudents and gives us a lecture on something they know a lot about. This is often my favorite part of the day since the professor teaching is usually describing their job, and since they tend to love their jobs, they love teaching us about their jobs. Also you can eat breakfast.
8AM – unless it’s a clinic day, you head to the OR for cases. You observe, help in any way you can, and see what surgery is all about.
3-7PM – usually I’ve been out by 7 at the latest, but it’s hard at first staying on your feet for so long. After about 10 days you’re acclimated though and don’t mind anymore. You find your team, see your patients again, prepare for the next day’s cases and then usually go home unless you’re on call. Any time you have to spare you read.
You can try to study when you get home but more often then not I just fall asleep immediately. I tried watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles this week. It was an error. I fell asleep during the first 15 minutes then had nightmares all night that I would never amount to anything because no one has bothered to send a robot back in time to kill me. How’s that for low self esteem?