Attentinghood

Can’t believe I’m already an attending. I love my job as an emergency physician. It is so gratifying to be able to intervene when people are at their most vulnerable states and to provide much needed comfort and support . At the same time, it is also very stressful. I cannot stop thinking about my patients after shift. Even though I recognize that I am doing my best and have adequate knowledge, I continue to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about that one thing I did not order or consider regarding a patient. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic certainly is making this transition more difficult as both volumes and acuity continue to rise and burnout remaining ever so pervasive in the workforce.

I suppose my body is betraying the amount of stress I have been experiencing. I had a seizure recently during shift. This has has never happened to me before. I feel horrible about the amount of distress this has caused my husband and other family members. At the same time, I think this moment has served as a wake up call for me to take my mental and physical health more seriously. I am already grateful for my therapist and psychiatrist who have helped me feel back to my normal self that I have not felt in years.

We seriously need to be more transparent and vocal about mental health in the healthcare field. Our job entails exposure to high levels of human distress and suffering; it is something that not everyone can truly comprehend. Despite those unique stressors as being doctors, there remains much stigma about mental health and rightfully so when considering existing problematic license ramifications.

Yet, I remain passionate and invested in my work, particularly with respect to advancing equity and justice. I also now appreciate the need to prioritize my spiritual well-being, such as through a preserved connection with nature, prayer, and physical activity. I hope moving forward I can find the path that best suits both my skillset and desire to serve my community.

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