The following are signs you know you’re working in the emergency room:
- Because of weekend shifts, night shifts, and having random Tuesdays off, it takes at least three staff members to figure out which day of the week it is.
- You might not believe in homeopathic medicine, but you might as well purchase stock in Zicam or Airborne, since you take some every time someone coughs on you.
- You hear “chest pain” in an otherwise healthy young person, and roll your eyes.
- You’ve been vomited on (or had a near miss) within the past forty-eight hours.
- You will ruthlessly use a tongue depressor to stare down the back of a small child’s throat.
- You comfort-eat cafeteria cheese curds and onion rings.
- You’ve never been more puzzled by a strange array of rashes. (This is especially true if you’re in a pediatric ER.)
- Weekends have ceased to exist. On your day off on a Monday, when your yoga instructor said, “I hope everyone had a good weekend,” you were filled with a very non-yoga-esque annoyance because you didn’t have a weekend at all.
- When you sign up for a patient with nausea and vomiting, you really feel like you’re taking one for the team.
- You are both enthralled with and terrified by procedures, meaning anything from stitches to lumbar punctures to IVs.
- Much like your surgery rotation, you live in either scrubs or pajamas. The rare occasion when you put on real pants, you are distressed to find that your jeans feel tight. (See number six.)
- Children see you in your white coat, and instantly start crying. (And you eventually stop feeling bad about it.)
- You seem to be developing a rather irreverent sense of humor.
- You vaguely wonder if you’re one of those ER people that Internal Med always complains about, and then shrug your shoulders and decide it doesn’t matter, because if you are, you’ll never know.
- You don’t judge your shift by the actual hour of the day, but by its relation to regular clinic hours. I.e, “It’s about to get busy. It’s 5:30pm and the clinics are closing.”
- You really want to slap the medics at the concert / state fair / 5K (really any event with lots of people) and tell them to stop sending healthy people to your emergency room.
- You’ve had someone ask for a plastic surgeon to sew the cut on his/her face. And unfortunately, he/she got you instead.
- You’ve had at least two colds since you started three weeks ago. (And if you haven’t gotten that GI bug yet, you’re lucky.)
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All of the opinions expressed here are the author’s and hers alone, and do not represent necessarily those of Kaplan or its employees.