Switching off??

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    Some of you may know I have been volunteering in a special premed program at a hospital. It is truly AMAZING. I am on my first rotation of 13 weeks in Radiology, I thoroughly enjoy this because of the diversity and broad exposure to medicine I am getting. For example, last night I was in CT, ultrasound, intensive care and ER. I spend 90% of my time in the ER. I do night shifts until 11pm. I find it very difficult to ‘decompress’ after adrenalin and all that stimulation. I don’t really know the outcome of most of the patients, it is literally a snapshot into their lives and I have no idea what happens then.

    I find myself not able to switch off easily and go over what I have seen and done, mostly in excitement and interest. How can I learn to switch off or will this come over time, or never! What do others do after a day to turn off?

    MomMD Founder

    dr . suzdr. suz

    I have come to believe that consciously acknowledging those moments – the amazing privlege of sharing in such a personal experience with your patients – can help make the work meaningful and help prevent burnout. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD (author of Kitchen Table Wisdom) suggests keeping a journal and answering 3 questions daily: 1) what surprised me today, 2) what inspired me today, and 3) what moved me today. I have to admit it’s hard to keep a daily journal, but whenever I feel overwhelmed or deeply moved, I find writing to be an extrememly satisfying outlet.

    Mary B-B ToBeDocMary B-B ToBeDoc

    Sethina & Dr. Suz,
    That just added another book to my want-to-read list! 😮 When things are very hectic, I think it’s good to step back at the end of the day and acknowledge everything that’s happened and what it’s been like, personally. In the ER, that can be a lot. Those three questions are helpful and quick. This is another idea….I actively switch gears to something personal once I’ve “processed” a little. Even if it’s just one thing like talking to the dog, cutting some flowers…something. And also to remind myself that it’s necessary to NOT be thinking of med school, MCAT, patients, etc. It’s necessary, for the long haul, to take learn to make these moments for oneself. Don’t think that quite answers your question Sethina…in the beginning of clinical work everything is new and stimulating, so that’s probably part of it. Keep us posted! Mary

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