I go home angry almost every night. Tonight as I walked home, I asked myself why. For starters, it was 3 AM. My shift was done at midnight. It took four hours for a trauma patient to receive his full radiologic evaluation…one of my requests had been misplaced delaying the entire process by about 2 1/2 hours. I was angry about that. His urine was never obtained, even though there was a written timed order from four hours before. I was angry about that. I try to make timely decisions (I’m working on speed, remember?) and when I return to reevaluate the patient, information I had ordered several hours ago is still missing. This seems to happen time and time again, and it makes me angry. It makes me angry just writing about it.
But as I walked home, I realized that I’m not still in the OR operating on a trauma patient with fractured limbs. I don’t have to be at work until 4pm tomorrow and I can still get 8 hours sleep and have time to spare (even if it isn’t time to go rock climbing). I don’t have to worry about follow-up, rounding or complications in the morning. I don’t have to justify my actions tonight to an attending who was at home sleeping while I was working. In short, I’m done with my shift, I can go home and sleep and go play for a few hours before coming back tomorrow.
That’s a little more zen like. I still don’t know what to do about lost film requests and missing urine though.