Scalpel's Edge

A surgeon's notes

Welcome to your new job

I leave too early, hoping that google maps has given me an accurate time estimate.

Arrive 630.  Drive straight past the entrance and do a U-turn.  Despite U turn, still turn into the wrong car park.  End up with a long walk to a back entrance.  6:40am.

Entrance I am standing at does not open until 7am.  I have no pass card.  Loiter until another staff member lets me in. Wonder why staff member assumes I am a good guy.

Walk straight ahead, following the “exit” signs to the front entrance.  Switch staff send me back the way I came to find my ward.

Try to get a cup of coffee, but coffee shop closed.

Retrieve my pager from the ward.  Great. Enough time to do a quick post take ward round before compulsory orientation.  Have no access to computers, and interns aren’t present.  Unable to determine which patients are mine to see, so go for coffee.

Coffee shop still closed.

At orientation lecture, pick up handouts and take place in middle of back row.  Staff member lays three more stacks of forms on front desk and announces that we all need a copy.  Climb over chairs to get required paperwork.

Message from husband.  I forget to take schoolbag out of car.  Bad mother.

7:45am.  SMS conversation with my new interns instructing them to see pre-operative patients, check all ward patients to identify urgent problems and meet me in theatre to triage at 8:30am.

Fire accreditation, bullying policy, admonitions to hand in pay sheets.

8:40am.  Fill in feedback form for orientation saying it has ruined my day.  Still haven’t seen my patients.

 8:45am. Arrive in operating theatre.  Reprimanded for not seeing patients yet.  Asked to leave and review all inpatients before returning to theatre.

9am.  Find interns and review inpatients, using emailed handover from previous registrar.  Most patients do not speak english.  Charts are the wrong colour, so I struggle to find bowel charts and fluid balance sheets.  Hospital is a maze.

10am. Phone call from operating theatre.  Why aren’t I there? They need someone.  Run back.  Within two sentences, surgeon identifies the only two patients I haven’t found yet on my ward round.  Surgeon radar.  Asks me to leave theatre to book an abscess drainage procedure because intern may not get it right.

Call intern to make him swap with me.  Intern scrubs with consultant to finish list.

Search for radiology department.  Find radiologist.  Wait for radiologist to finish another procedure.  Get approval for procedure.  Rewrite request on different form. Find appropriate interpreter to help patient to consent for procedure.  Run back to theatre.

Just in time for rectal washout.  Intern still operating with consultant.  I rinse, stretch and staple. Scrub in to help close the abdomen. Can you be bothered? Of course, its no bother at all.

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