Children's National intern and recent/former GW medical student Caitlin Pedati has posted about week #1 and week #2 on an Acting Internship and about week #3 here as follows:
The feeling for week 3 would definitely be tired. Being on night float
definitely took some adjustments. I think I made a crucial error in not sleeping more the day before
I started, resulting in effectively 24+ hours awake. As the week went on, I got into more of a schedule and realized I was actually getting more
hours of sleep than I do on day shift. However, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be sleeping at night. And so I became aware of how being tired can affect my ability to function. Especially that first shift when I had to present the following morning on rounds. I could really feel the difference in my ability to think quickly and synthesize the information I had collected. It was amazing to me what a difference being tired makes and how careful I need to be to make sure I am aware of how I feel in order to avoid allowing it to be a detriment to my work.
Realizing the difference in my energy level after the first night made me more able to recognize it for the rest of the week. I gave myself more time than I typically use in the morning to go through things slowly, thoroughly and definitely more than once. I think just being aware of the possibility of fatigue
(despite the number of hours of sleep) was an important lesson that applies to my day shifts as well. And keeping a gauge of when I feel tired will be useful information to have in order to keep it from affecting my decision-making and ultimately patient care.
ABOUT OUR GUEST POST CONTRIBUTOR: Caitlin Pedati is an intern at our Children's National pediatric residency program as of this month. Caitlin graduated cum laude from Georgetown and earned both a masters in public health and a medical degree in May 2012 from George Washington University. She is well published (see partial list here) and will no doubt go on to make many more contributions to the field.
Message from Dr. Kind:
Note that interns have strategic napping. Also see this article from 2012 in Academic Pediatrics entitled "Better Rested, but More Stressed? Evidence of the Effects of Resident Work Hour Restrictions." Plus, read Caitlin's final post, week #4.