One interesting yet often stressful aspect of housejob, is being on call.
To be on call simply means that on week days, you’re on duty from evening (4pm) till the next morning (8 am) while on weekends (or PUBLIC holidays), you’re on duty from 8 a.m to 8 a.m the next day (24 hours).
As the house officer on call, you’re the doctor-in-charge of all newly admitted patients, as well as other patients on your ward that may have one complain or the other.
In most hospitals, the house officer works with a registrar and a senior registrar.
The houseofficer is the 1st on call, the reg is 2nd on call, the senior reg is 3rd on call, while the consultant is 4th on call.
As a newbie house officer, you may find your first few calls a little overwhelming.
In this post, I’ll be sharing a few guidelines to help you maximize your call period.
1. Sleep while you can, you’ll be glad you did.
Sleep is important for a person to function optimally and doctors are no exception.
Because call hours are so unpredictable, it’s necessary to grab any opportunity you have to sleep, so that you can function relatively well the next day.
Unlike nurses who run shifts, you have to resume work by 8 am like your other colleagues who were not on call.
2. Be prepared, for everything and for anything.
From a multiparous woman with PPH, to a 10-day old baby running a temperature of 40c.
Each Call is pretty unpredictable. Be PREPARED.
3. Maximize your time and energy.
Don’t waste time chatting on social media or with colleagues when you should be working or resting.
As you lay your bed, so you lie on it. Every minute counts.
4. Don’t just work HARD, work SMART.
Not everything that is URGENT is important and vice-versa.
Your seniors will be like:
Get that consent form signed NOW!
Collect the blood sample NOW!!
Check the blood pressure NOW!!!
You have to learn how to prioritize and apply common sense.
Make sure you do all you’re supposed to do but don’t allow anyone to place unnecessary PRESSURE on you.
5. Pay the price.
Medicine is a journey and the journey is worth it. It will stretch you, but it won’t tear you apart.
To your knowledge, add passion, to your passion add skill, to your skill, add diligence and to your diligence add empathy.
If you pay the price, you’ll get the prize.
Gratitude from your patients and their relatives.
Don’t be that lazy houseofficer who just wants to get paid without doing much.
In the longrun, Hard work pays!
6. Give your best no matter what.
You can be short on sleep or food but you don’t have to be short-tempered.
Sometimes all your patients need is REASSURANCE.
Be kind. Be cheerful.
The patient didn’t ask to be sick, but you chose this profession.
7. Have Some Coping mechanisms.
You can read this post I wrote about my coping mechanisms for house job.
The call food at our center can be so annoying, so being on call gives me an opportunity to binge on all kinds of small treats. Chocolates. Coconut chips. Biscuits. And lots and lots of soda! 😂
So find a way to make your call fun, aside work. Listen to some music. Read a novel. Take selfies. Whatever rocks your boat!
8. It’s NOT a must that you do every call.
Sometimes life happens and you don’t have the will-power, physical stamina or you’re just being lazy, it doesn’t matter.
You can trade your call or better still, sell it *winks* just because you CANNOT come and die.
My goal at the end of every call is to have a THANKFUL Soul and a JOYFUL Spirit, no matter how TIRED my body is.
Medicine is a Call-To-Serve and I’m grateful for this PRIVILEGE, because that’s what it really is.