These are the new rules that will help me survive CPE this summer:
Pacing: I have been spoiled, I know. Before this summer, I worked mostly from home at my own pace. Took breaks whenever I pleased. Spent most of the day sitting at a computer. Now I am on my feet most of the day, have set office hours, and hardly any time for breaks. How do people who work in offices get their laundry done?! I start every day exhausted and end every day revved up from the encounters I’ve had. To make it through, I’m going to have to use my non-work time wisely. On the other hand, my legs have never seen so many stairs in a single day. That’s good, right?
Eating: See above. I used to eat whatever I wanted whenever I was hungry. Now, I pack a lunch and hope not to forget my travel mug for routine caffeine reinforcement. Some of you will remind me that I could eat at the hospital cafeteria. Go ahead and eat there if you want, I will not be dining there very often – one visit taught me that. On the other hand, every Wednesday is Hot Cookie Day! Cookies as big as my face.
Don’t be afraid to be stupid: This gig is so completely new to me. Everything about it, from the actual patient visits to the technology. I required a remedial lesson in using my pager today. And it isn’t even that complicated. There is no time to be proud in this job, so I hope people can put up with lots of repetition and forgetfulness on my part until things become routine.
Use on-call time wisely: I will have my first overnight on-call this week. (Perhaps even as you are reading this post?) That means spending the entire night (after a full day of work) at the hospital answering calls to emergencies – from 4 hospitals, actually. My colleagues and I have been reminded over and over not to make extra work for ourselves because things actually do happen in the middle of the night and we need to have the energy to handle them. Does catching up on missed episodes of The Daily Show use too much or too little energy? I will let you know, because that is how I plan to use my time in the sleep room. Until I crash from exhaustion. Anyone who knows me well knows that I fear lack of sleep more than just about anything else.