Modified Re-post: First Call

To all the new interns soon to undergo your first offical call, here’s my first call experience! (Modified from a previous post).

Probably the most dreaded thing about residency is taking call, whatever the rotation. Call is when you have to spend the night at the hospital while the rest of the team goes home since someone needs to be around to admit new patients and respond to patient needs and emergencies overnight. Sometimes you just cover patients on your own team. Most of the time, though, you are covering other team’s patients that you have never met before.

I still remember pretty vividly my very first night on call as an intern on my surgery rotation, covering all the patients from the three different surgical services. I was already peeing in my pants, but some time into the night, I discovered that my pager (yes we still use those) was turning off by itself if I didn’t press the on button periodically.

Everything was fine as long as I kept it on by pressing the button. But then I dozed off when things were slow and woke up several hours later in a sheer panic because I realized that my pager had turned off.  I can’t even describe the fear that came over me thinking I may have missed some crazy emergency. I actually went to every single floor where there were patients to ask if anyone had paged me.

I probably over-reacted since there was a trauma team in place over night that would respond to any emergencies (they know better to trust real emergencies to new interns). My job as the intern really was to babysit, but what did I know. Thankfully everything turned out fine and I survived my first call (and every subsequent call).

So, if you ever find yourself in a moment of sheer panic because you don’t know what to do, take a deep breath. You are never completely alone, help is usually nearby (hopefully). You’ll get through that call. And remember that we have a God who is always available to us. He never forgets his pager, and his pager never runs out of batteries. In Christ, we have a direct line to our creator God, and He invites us to come to Him. And not just in emergencies, but in the everydays of life. Thank God that He knows what He’s doing too.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

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