Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Everyone Finds Their "Third Place"

Starbucks calls it the "Third Place," the place where you go when you want to feel relaxed, content, and genuinely happy to be alive. It seems as though I have found that place, and I still can't quite believe that it is the emergency room.

In addition to volunteering in the UCSF ED, I am now a San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) ED Research Intern, and an ED Scribe (paid) at Mills-Peninsula Hospital. To many, this may seem like hospital overload, but quite honestly, I absolutely love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

I wish that I could eloquently convey the feeling that I have when I watch gurneys with ailing patients wheel by or doctors ask one another whether they are ready to receive report. Though I am only an observer of these events, I feel like I am part of something greater, witnessing the world in action, life happening in its most raw form all around me. You see people of all colors, shapes, sizes, smells, and economic backgrounds in the ED, but once their clothes come off and the awkward paper-thin gown goes on, it is as though they are all the same...there to be helped, cured, fed, or bathed. All the differences and labels are erased. I love that.

I've been thinking about this a lot, and really, I think what it comes down to is that the Emergency Department functions like a well oiled machine. Everyone has their role and it all comes together like clockwork. We all rely on one another and each of us, in our own way, plays a part in making the ED run. We're all in a team and everyone is valued and appreciated.

There is a certain energy, perhaps and ebb and flow in the ED that makes it exciting. Even on so-called "boring" days when relatively few "interesting" cases come in, doctors, nurses, interns, and volunteers, are all enjoying the lull and preparing for the next Code or crash. As soon as a code is announced its like everyone comes alive and assumes their position. Its amazing to watch.

At this point, though still 1.5 years away from applying, I am nearly 100% dead set on becoming an Emergency Department doctor. I absolutely love it and can't see myself anywhere else. I am keeping an open mind, however, because I have not witnessed many of the other specialities but out of the ones I have seen (internal medicine, family practice, and clinic work) this is by far the most interesting to me. Everyone always says that once you're in medical school you figure out what you want to do and they are probably right. For instance, I absolutely LOVED anatomy last spring and I miss it dearly...perhaps being a surgeon is really what I am meant to do. After all, I did start this whole process leaning towards surgery. So, really, who knows. But all I can say right now is that I am so blessed to have found "my thing" and I'm so grateful to everyone that has helped me get here. I really think that I am going to become a Doctor.

Oh, here is a great website with awesome ED stories. Enjoy!


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