My Shift in the ED

For ICM (Intro to Clinical Medicine), everyone is assigned a required 8-hr shift in the Emergency Department (ED) either this semester or next. Mine just so happened to be on a Sunday, midnight to 8am. (Note: EM is what they practice, ED is where they are, ER is the TV show.)

I was hoping the ED would be busy that night, since I’m not used to being awake & fully functional in that time frame.

We were extremely busy that night. Multiple MVAs (car wrecks), car v. pedestrian, gun shot wounds, very deep lacerations, stat flights, necrotizing fasciitis, and lots of drunken stupidity. Thank goodness I have a strong stomach. Seeing someone with a deep wound, dripping blood everywhere, deep enough to count the severed muscle layers, and I was fine; but the really difficult parts to watch were the strong, grown men that were reduced to shivering and whimpering in pain. That was the hardest part to me, to just observe all that pain and not be able to do anything about it. I did get to follow around not just the attendings and residents, but also a visiting 4th year student who actually took his time to explain things to me and answer my multitude of questions, not just about procedures but also general student stuff. At one point I actually got to recall my upper extremity anatomy to help figure out what muscles and nerves were severed in a deep laceration. Overall, a very productive night!

Emergency Medicine is still one of the specialties I’m considering (as a backup), but as cool as it was for even just one shift, I’m still leaning 100% pediatrics.


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