Night Float

I’m officially a week into internship, and my first rotation just happens to be Night Float. For the uninitiated, this means that for my first month, I work from 6pm to 6am, in which I carry the pagers for about half a dozen hospital services and run around with like a chicken with my head cut off every night in order to try to keep all the patients alive until the day teams come back in the morning. During orientation, most of the upper level residents expressed their condolences when I told them that I would be starting on Nights, which did nothing to help with the anxiety of being a “doctor” for the first time.

I somehow made it through medical school without ever having to work nights (except, of course, for 24-hour call, which is of course a very different beast), so the transition has been an interesting one. I’ve gotten myself on a schedule where I go to sleep at around 7-8am, take up around 3-4pm, eat dinner, and then go to work all night. My bedroom now has tin foil all taped all over the windows so that I can sleep in the dark during the day.

As for the work itself… I have to say that I feel like I don’t know anything– simple things that I should know but somehow can’t remember when I suddenly have to apply it. I’m relying on my seniors to answer the simplest questions for me, but sometimes I feel like I haven’t learned anything. Carrying 6 pagers (each service has its own team pager) presents its own interesting challenge of trying to figure out which one went off every time I get a page. I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, but at least I haven’t killed anyone yet, as far as I know.