Long Call, Long Haul (part 3)

May 29, 2012

A three-part series describing the demands of life on the wards … and what you can do about it!

 

Part 3:  Make health work for you

For Jim, an accessible place to start staying healthy on the wards is food—for you, it might be food, yoga, social time with friends, staying away from alcohol or something else. Here’s the breakdown of what I find works for life on the wards, easily customizable to where you’re starting out.

For those of you just thinking about getting healthier, or for whom health goes out the window on tough rotations, I’ll steal from Weight Watchers and use a point system, of sorts. Think of it this way: each nutritious home-cooked meal, with veggies and whole grains and maybe some fish, counts as one point. Bringing a healthy lunch, making it to a yoga class or the gym, sticking to one beer (even on your days off!), seeing a friend outside of medicine and laughing about your job, getting a massage… each one of these counts as a point.  Can you get to three points a week? Maybe five? I consider three points a week victory over the battle with time that is month of floors or two weeks of night float. Five points a week is winning the war. Just take it one point at a time. Continue reading “Long Call, Long Haul (part 3)”

Long Call, Long Haul (part 2)

May 22, 2012

A three-part series profiling life on the wards… and what you can do about it!


Part 2:  What’s your health-type?

I am labeled, fairly I guess, by many in my intern class as a “health nut.” I bring breakfast – whole grain cereal with almonds in a little plastic bag – and lunch – an avocado sandwich, yoghurt, and a nibble of dark chocolate – from home every day. I won’t touch the cafeteria food or the greasy Chinese served at mid-day report. I live far from the hospital and close to my yoga studio, a deliberate choice, which means a 25-30 minute subway ride downtown rather than a walk across the street to my apartment. I’m vegetarian. I hosted a talk on Ayurvedic medicine for the housestaff. I’m going into integrative medicine. If I am a health nut, it’s not accidental. Continue reading “Long Call, Long Haul (part 2)”

Long Call, Long Haul (part 1)

May 14, 2012

A three-part series describing the demands of life on the wards … and what you can do about it!

Part 1:  The “life” of an intern

On July 1, 2011 the new ACGME rules on intern duty hours in hospitals took effect. Interns, though not residents, were no longer allowed to work 27-hour shifts as residents everywhere historically had done. The 80-hour work-week still applied, but instead of staying in-house overnight, interns were supposed to have ten full hours away from the hospital between every shift.

Also on July 1, 2011 I started my intern year at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I had done routine 27-hour shifts during medical school, as a fourth year sub-intern in the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and as a third year on labor and delivery shifts, a standard part of the OBGYN rotation. And while these were something of a distant memory following a very chilled out fourth year filled with electives and one trip to Africa, I remembered them well enough. The slightly dizzy feeling of walking out of the hospital into the sun at 11am followed by a brief period of sleep-deprivation-induced mania; the great excuse to cram my face with my favorite pastry from the bakery down the street; and the 4-5 hours of slightly nauseated waves of sleep before getting up and having “a day off,” for me usually consisting of a yoga class and dinner before going to bed. Continue reading “Long Call, Long Haul (part 1)”

LA feature: Pilates Style magazine, “Anatomy Lessons”

January 24, 2012

This profile of living anatome in Pilates Style magazine is short, sweet & to the point!

My favorite quote is from Carrie, eloquently stating the LA mantra:  “It’s paradoxical, but there is not much emphasis on self-care in the education of a medical student… But I believe all medical professionals have an obligation to maintain their own health. We can’t communicate with patients effectively about the importance of exercise and eating happens if we can’t practice what we preach!”

Continue reading “LA feature: Pilates Style magazine, “Anatomy Lessons””

3 Conscious Breaths: The 20-Second Meditation

August 30, 2011

As a medical student, you may currently be in one of the most demanding phases of your life.  Meeting academic challenges, taking care of patients’ needs, dealing with hectic schedules, and trying to have a personal life, could easily exhaust you.  Achieving all of this requires a calm, focused mind and a strong sense of center.  In order to expend your energy in so many different directions successfully, you have to operate from the deep, calm core of who you are.  This way, everything you do will be much more effective and seemingly effortless.

Meditation increases your ability to stay calm and focused.   It’s not as mysterious as some may think.   Continue reading “3 Conscious Breaths: The 20-Second Meditation”

To bagel or not to bagel, that is the question…

May 3, 2011

(This entry is a three-part series, detailing Jenny’s  tips on how to maintain a sound Body, Mind, and Spirit through clinical rotations)

As the alarm blares for my 4:35am wake-up, I think back to leisurely days of 9am lectures, wondering why I had been so excited to start clinical rotations. Sure, actually seeing patients, performing procedures, and discussing real cases was the reason I came to medical school, but life on the wards can be incredibly challenging, and not just due to the medical expertise required. Without much control over long, unpredictable days, even a health-conscious MS4 such as myself finds it difficult to stick with good habits previously cultivated, like 90-minute yoga classes, the occasional (antioxidant-filled!) glass of red wine, or a full 7 hours’ sleep. In addition, it sometimes feels superfluous to focus on myself amidst the demands of the wards, from writing admission notes to re-reading Surgical Recall. But throughout the past two years on the wards, I have realized that I am able to function as a more competent, caring clinician– and actually enjoy the experience– when I practice habits that keep me energized. Here’s what has worked for me during the last two years of med school:

Continue reading “To bagel or not to bagel, that is the question…”

The health of our physicians

March 9, 2011

Written in 2004 as an Op-Ed writing homework assignment for a Public Health class~ and still a propos today!

Recent debates about resident work hour reform have called attention to the critical connection between the health of physicians and the care of patients. We have learned that frazzled, sleep-deprived physicians are likely to make mistakes—some crucial to the lives of patients, like Libby Zion, an 18-year-old girl whose 1984 death at Cornell Medical Center’s emergency room catapulted the issue of overworked and under-supervised house officers into New York courts. Continue reading “The health of our physicians”