First day on the Consultation-Liaison (“C/L” or “Consult” for short) service last week: a surprisingly manageable easing-in for me and my co-resident, with our chief resident and multiple attending physicians (i.e. our supervising physicians, “attendings” for short) orienting us to the service. Started getting familiar with the long patient list. Spent significant time getting lost in this hospital, where I’ve only worked for a week in the past.
Second day: Long and overwhelming. This was in part because I was still getting physically lost and didn’t know my patients well yet, but also because I hadn’t yet learned to titrate the number of follow-ups seen in the morning before getting some of their corresponding progress notes done (this is key so I’m not super behind come mid-afternoon).
Thanks to the July 4 holiday I had some time to recover before my third day, a weekend call shift, during which I was covering the Consult pager (albeit at the very familiar hospital where I worked the prior four months), as well as supporting new interns who were getting used to covering the inpatient psychiatry pager. It was a packed day but ultimately felt manageable, and made me appreciate the growth that happens over the course of one year of residency. Knowing I needed to periodically check in with an intern and review some how-tos with them actually helped me stay focused on my tasks and try to be as efficient as possible. As a bonus, it was wonderful to watch the interns give a clear and organized sign-out to each other at 8:00pm.
4th through 8th days: Varying degrees of “busy” ranging from comfortably busy to “we just got six new consults in two hours, yikes!!” but ultimately doable with the support of our attendings, senior residents, fourth-year medical student, and nurse practitioner. We were getting lost far less frequently, and managed to eat lunch more days than not. As the cognitive load of finding the right room numbers and simply keeping track of my to-dos lessened just a tiny bit, I found myself again able to recognize some moments of satisfaction and even joy in the work. My co-resident and I are alternating weeks of holding the pager, and he did a great job this past week. It is also heartening that when one of our consult patients gets admitted to inpatient psychiatry, one of our residency classmates often becomes the primary physician.
Looking ahead at the coming weeks, in addition to my work-related goals and psychiatry learning goals, my secondary goals include:
- staying hydrated as much as possible
- remembering to pack a snack every day
- aiming for 10+ minutes of strength- or mobility-targeted exercise most days, in addition to my 12-min daily walking commutes
- continue to keep my houseplants alive
- continuing with music and non-psychiatry reading, even if sporadic.
- Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns”: I started this while on vacation three weeks ago and it is such a gorgeously written and overall epic book. It also feels particularly timely and thought-provoking now.
- Ibram Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist”: Almost finished listening to the audiobook (read by the author), though I expect to return to it later as well. Part of my self-assigned educational curriculum as it is for many others.
- Anna Solomon’s “The Book of V”: audiobook, I’m 30% of the way into it, but I think it might be better read in a couple longer sittings instead of listening in short spurts.
- Kevin Kwan’s “Sex and Vanity”: fluffy fun, though unsurprisingly, not as good as the “Crazy Rich Asian” series.