Doctors Post Pics Where They Sleep At Work To Defend Med Resident Caught Asleep.
I saw this post a while ago. According to the article:
After a Mexican blog posted a picture of a medical resident sleeping behind a desk at a hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, and attacked her for not doing her job, doctors around the world lept to her defense by posting pictures of themselves caught napping during some of their most grueling shifts. These images are going viral under the hashtag #YoTambienMeDormi (“I’ve also fallen asleep” in Spanish).
In the 1980s, a high-profile case involving the death of a girl named Libby Zion at a hospital staffed by exhausted doctors led to the drafting of the Libby Zion Law. This law limits NY physicians’ work hours per week to “only” 80, showing just how overworked some of our doctors are.
The writer criticized the young resident, saying that “doctors are obliged to do their work”
There were “dozens of patients who need care,” the blogger continued
via Doctors Post Pics Where They Sleep At Work To Defend Med Resident Caught Asleep | Bored Panda.
I then saw social media streams explode with banter. Specifically I saw how my fellow professionals responded…
I saw nurse after nurse repeatedly lashing out on social media about how dare that resident sleep and the unfairness of it being ok for a physician to sleep while on shift, but a nurse can’t:
“What do you think Nurses, would a Nurse be treated the same way?”
“If I was caught sleeping on the job, I’d be fired”
I was a bit shell-shocked. I was upset.
Ok, I was fuming with emotions. Which is why I had to let it marinate before I said something I would regret.
I let it “marinate for a second”.. (queue the video – to lighten my mood)
I have a hard time understanding how any nurse out there can compare themselves, their profession or their job and responsibilities to that of a resident and/or a physician. I’ve been lucky enough to walk on both sides of that line that seems to be drawn in the sand. And I’m here to tell you these are two totally different worlds when it comes to worked hours, shift length and manpower.
Hands down nurses physically have a tougher job. Always on the go, little to no rest both physically, mentally and emotionally. Getting shit on, quite literally and metaphorically, day in and day out. Nurses work anywhere from 8hr to 12 hr scheduled shifts, which can easily get extended to a double 16hr shift. They can vary from 3 up to 6 days/ per week depending on many variables, but on average they get more time away, than at the bedside (keep in mind I’m only referring to shift workers, most of which work in the hospital setting) And depending on the acuity, nurses can be directly responsible for 3 up to 12 or 15 patients. The higher the acuity the less patient assignments. It seems that the average ICU assignment can be 2 (sometimes 3).
As for physicians, more specifically residents, their job is less physically demanding. Meaning they don’t do the physical labor of moving patients, lifting, transferring, etc. While I’m sure we can agree that job where your on your feet more than off your feet takes a toll on your body, even if your just standing still, residents don’t have the physical exhaust that Nurses have to endure. Now here’s the rub. Residents work long hours. I mean long hours. They can work 24, 36 or 48hr shift – straight.
They can work every day of the week with no breaks other than getting an 8hr ‘scheduled rest shift’ in-between their long worked hours. They will flip flop night and days with very little rest. They’ll get no days off away from the hospital for sometimes 20-30day stretches. Not to mention they are responsible for anywhere from 7 up to 20+ patients at any given time. And after all those worked hours, they still have to find time to study for their boards, continue to conduct research, oh and more often than not have to lead one or two ‘sub-committees’.
Now lets talk semantics. The jobs themselves are completely different. Let’s not even compare the apples to the oranges. I’m not going down that rabbit hole of doctors versus nurses. Two different professions that require to very specific skill sets. We all know that docs make horrible nurses and nurses make horrible docs, yet both professions claim they can do the others’ job better. And both continue to claim unfairness.
Would a nurse get fired for sleeping on the job? Damn right. It’s your job to be the watchful eye overseeing your patient(s). It’s your job to keep them safe during your watch.
Does a physician deserve some restful sleep when working a 20+hr shift stretch? Damn right. Because when they receive a phone call in the middle of the day/night from the nurse wanting to know the why about the patient’s medical diagnosis, or lab result, or test findings, etc, etc, that physician needs to have a clear and sharp mind to continue to save lives.
Nurses and doctors each have a specific job and a specific part to play. If you continue to feel the need to bark unfairness, then maybe you should go back to school and work towards the degree you don’t have and work towards the job you’re not doing. Don’t harp on someone’s skill set, job requirements or stress level unless you have literally walked in their shoes. Working side by side with them doesn’t afford you the right to judge their path.
I was one of those nurses. Prior to NP school. Prior to becoming a CRNP, I was one of those nurses. That nurse that thinks they know more than the physician. Thinks that most docs are “dumber than a box of rocks”. I was that nurse that got tired of “saving the docs ass” every time they screwed up. I was the nurse that rolled their eyes every month of July, because I have to teach the new doctors how to “doctor”. I was the nurse that felt residents needed to go back to medical school. I was the nurse that scoffed at a resident denying me a verbal order request for my patients, because I mean, seriously, “What do they know?”
Then I ‘visited’ the same path that 1st or 2nd year residents walk. I was scared (shitless I might add) into the realization that being the primary care provider for another human life form requires an insurmountable amount of education, training and endless hours of making mistake after mistake trying to do your best every time you sign your name as the provider for that human life. Your decisions dictate the fate of another life. Physicians, NP’s, PA’s and other providers don’t get to say it was someone else decision that caused such pain and suffering. They have to bear the burden of death just as much as life. When those “why” questions get asked by the nurse, the physician (and/or provider) is the one who is supposed to have the answer.
And if that means falling asleep on the counter of a nursing station from utter exhaustion just so you can awaken to learn how to better provide for the next human life, then so be it.
Whatever happened to supporting one another? I know one thing. I want a semi-well-rested physician caring for me, not someone who was require to stay awake for 24+ hrs prior to caring for me. How well do you function on no sleep?