On a typical day for my current hospitalist rotation, I wake up at 5 am and the struggle is real. Apparently my roomies say I’m a morning person… but not that early! I pack up my breakfast, lunch, and a big cup of coffee and I head out the door. My commute to the hospital is about 45 minutes- thank goodness I only have to drive there 3-4 times a week. But at least that gives me some time to wake up.
I arrive about 6:30 am and check in with my doctor or PA. This hospital is new and super small (only 30 beds open right now) so there are only 2-3 providers there at a time. I get my list of patients and usually see 6 or 7 per day. I know that sounds like nothing, but internal med is so different that any rotation I’ve done so far. After that, I go to my own little office to eat breakfast and read up on my patients.
Basically we just round on the patient one time each day, write their note, and put in any orders that are needed. We determine if they need to stay in the hospital or can be discharged soon. If it’s your first day working (like me) or you’ve been off for a few days, things take a little longer. The documentation that happens in internal med is unreal. When you get ready to see your first patient, you have to read up on them- admission note, progress notes, EKGs, labs, imaging, consults, etc. Basically, you have to get up to speed about their stay or else you’ll look like a complete dummy when talking to them. This can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to do. If you’ve been there for a few days (like I was last week) then you know most of the patients on your list and that makes things move more quickly.
After I’m done researching, I go see the patient. These visits are pretty quick- how are you feeling? how’s your pain? how’s your breathing? are you eating/drinking? going to the bathroom? etc. Then I do a brief physical exam and go type my note, which is super long. One of the doctors I’m working with is actually one of our professors at school so it helps that I already know him pretty well. At the end of the day, we’ll sit down and discuss patients and he’ll answer any questions that I have about the disease or plan for the day.
The downside about the rotation- it’s a little slower paced than I’m used to, there is a TON of charting, and the early mornings are a little rough. However, I do like having lots of time to read the patient’s chart and learn more about their disease process and I get to see people that are much more sick than you’d see as an outpatient provider. My goal is to get a lot better at interpreting lab results– there are so many!
Oh, and one more thing. Working here is a real eye-opener to see what happens to people that don’t take care of their bodies. I wish that anyone who smokes would spend a day with some of these people with COPD and heart failure that are permanently attached to oxygen and see what will happen if they continue that nasty habit. I despise smoking and think it’s pretty much the most disgusting thing ever. SO many diseases can be avoided if you don’t smoke, eat healthy, and exercise. So, what have I seen the most? Definitely COPD (chronic bronchitis/emphysema), congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, and hypertension.
As for today, I’m thoroughly enjoying the day off, even though “sleeping in” means waking up at 7:30 these days. I go back in tomorrow for a 3-day stretch and then it’s back to Charlotte for the weekend, I cannot wait!! Hope y’all had a fabulous weekend 🙂