In House ICU Call

The intensive care unit (ICU) is where the hospital’s most critically ill patients receive care. When you’re the resident in charge of stabilizing crashing patients, rapidly escalating care, responding to emergent codes around the hospital, and working with the nurses to get through the night hour-by-hour, things can get stressful. My first ICU call shift this month allowed me to reflect on a humbling realization.

I rounded on my patients countless times, and each time (no matter whether it was 9 AM or 11 PM), I felt humbled by my current situation. No matter how stressful my responsibilities can become… no matter how hungry, thirsty, or sleep-deprived I may be… at least I’m able to play the role of the provider.

I’m not the one requiring life support. Or the one who went into cardiopulmonary arrest at 3 AM. Or the one who every consultant in the hospital has already labeled as a “poor prognosis.” I get to be on the other side of the table and try to save these individuals from the grips of morbidity.

So no matter how difficult we think our lives as healthcare providers are, we need to remember that our patients usually have it worse. Serve them well.

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