I have not properly spent my New year’s Eve meaningfully for a long time now. For the past few years i have been treating it like any other day, sleeping as per an ordinary day and waking to another day, but apparently one that has automatically made me age another year.
This year was the same thing. I wanted to do something more adventurous, more exciting, but the ex-boyfriend was a bland lazy guy; and i was so annoyed by his lack of motivation that i picked up a friend’s on call shift. I was scheduled to be on call on New Year’s day, but i decided that hell, if i am already stuck with no plans, i might as well take my friend’s on call on New Year’s Eve and let him have a good time.
Which led me to my current predicament. With a twist of fate, one of the other interns scheduled to work has fallen ill to a surgical condition and we are unable to find a doctor to work the overnight shift. Guess who was the lucky one? Ahem…
Anyway, there was a lot of fuss about it because i was very afraid. I have not done any emergency shifts in this country hospital at all, and i heard it is a frightening experience. And to make matters most, there is only one doctor overnight. That’s right, one doctor to cover the emergency department and the 3 wards. One junior doctor to cover a town and its surrounding suburbs of 100,000. On New Year’s Eve, the busiest night of the year. A town where the city folks flock to for their holiday break. Incredibly sick people who can’t afford any overseas travel but decided that a country town is safer, if they ever fall sick. Hah.
And i am IT. The one intern who has never clocked an emergency shift in this hospital. The one intern who has never done an overnight shift in her life.
It was illegal of course. This arrangement, made at the eleventh hour. And the fact that so much pressure was placed on a junior doctor. The first was compensated with a triple increase in hourly wage for that shift. And the second is slowly and painfully being rectified, but will only benefit the interns of next year, and not the current lot.
Fortunately for the powers who screwed our rosters up, i was intrigued and up for the challenge for several reasons. Firstly, i am going to Guatemala, and i had better get my shit together and consolidate my emergency medicine skills. Next year i want to scratch a couple more locum shifts, which inevitably will tend to be in emergency departments since apparently it is not a very popular specialty, hence the constant lack of doctors. And i need to get more experience. Lastly, i know that there are couple of stuff i have been psyching myself out over, simply because i have never done them before and thus have a lack of confidence – such as plastering (i know, how did i manage to get through an entire year without plastering someone’s broken limb??) and CPR (again how did that happen? Really all the codes i have attended have been pretty frivolous). So when i hear my friends talk about the stuff they do, i feel incredibly worried about my own depth of experience.
Anyway, the medical director has tried to make amends, and have dangled much increased hourly wages to the emergency consultants should i need them to come in. In fact, one of them was happy to take my place because of the increased rate of pay. But for the reasons above, both of us were happy for me to pick up the shift and call them in when i am in strife.
I reckon this will be the most memorable New Year’s Eve for me. I just hope that it will not break me and ruin my spirit in this profession. THAT is my biggest fear.