In the Life of a Fickle Intern

February 18, 2013

American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:43

I recently went to Las Vegas for the annual AAEM conference. As one of the many perks of my residency program, my classmates and I get to go to an academic conference together annually. AAEM was founded in the 1960s when Emergency Medicine became it’s own field. In the past, ERs were staffed by anyone who wanted to work there, whether you were trained in surgery or neurology or psychiatry. Because of that, there was no universal standard of care for patients coming through the ED. From what I understand, AAEM was established to ensure that EM was recognized as its own entity with its own board certification and hence, my current residency. So much politics.

Nonetheless, the conference was great! The majority of the lectures were on uptodate/current research/new treatment of common ED complaints. With the rising health care cost and the changing healthcare laws in addition to the current overuse of the ED, there were also a lot of discussions on how all of these changes would affect my job in the future. Not surprisingly, AAEM is still very male dominated and very political. As the nerd that I am, I deliberately chose to go to the more clinical lectures over the political ones, though one of these days, I may have to learn how the whole health system actually works. For now, as an underpaid, overworked resident, I will take every opportunity to learn as much medicine as possible.

Best of all, for five days straight, I got to hang out and catch up with my long-lost classmates. As second year residents, we get scattered to five different hospitals all over the area so our schedules rarely overlap. Such is life as a resident. Either way, it was really fun!

Now, to pay the price of getting to skip 5 days of work, I am on a q3d schedule, meaning that for the next two and a half weeks, I am on call (in hospital, 30 hrs) every third day in the Burn ICU with no more days off. It was worth it…or so I keep telling myself. My goal is simple: don’t let anyone die.  It’s much harder than it sounds!

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