I was expecting the worst for my start of residency this past week. I started on Labor & Delivery (L&D) Nights at a hospital that’s much busier than where I went to medical school, with an Electronic Medical Records system I’m completely unfamiliar with, and unfortunately, less sleep than I planned for due to anxiety and untimely construction around my apartment. Going in with all these factors already against me, I promised myself to take it slow and to not have any expectations. I believed my decision was practical and pragmatic. However, after day (or night, really) #1, and after surviving the hecticness of a L&D night, my usual self resurfaced and I began putting pressure on myself. Maybe it’s inevitable for many physicians; it’s certainly inevitable for me. It’s who I am.
Thus, I kept wishing myself to know information and to have the skills to do certain procedures. I was harder on myself than I’ve ever been and I crashed and burned. I crashed and burned emotionally, that is. I’m not fatigued or “burned out” – it’s way too early in my career for that and I hope it never comes to that. As I look back on this week, I realize I have to find a balance between caring so much about doing my best that every little imperfection brings me to tears and acknowledging that when things aren’t perfect, it doesn’t mean I must have done something wrong. I have to keep being myself in that I have to keep striving to improve and always put my patients first. At the same time, I need to accept that I am not perfect and instead of letting imperfections hinder me, I can allow them to encourage me to continue learning and improving. It’s a lot to take in, but I know I can do it!
I’m so glad my first week was with caring, wonderful other residents, nurses, midwives, and staff. I definitely could not have survived this week without each and every single one of you – thank you so much! Lastly, I am truly grateful for the patients, families and newborns that touched my life this week. Thank you for making me a better doctor and a better person.