So what’s really changed in my workflow ever since Rona came in and changed the game? Well, pretty much everything. The most common questions I’ve gotten asked by potential applicants or even from our new interns that started in July was, “what’s it like working as a resident during the pandemic?” It’s interesting because when you experience a change from the beginning, sometimes you don’t even realize just how different life is from the norm. I’ll hit the highlights in this post.
Screenings on entry are becoming a thing now in all establishments, but I used to only have to deal with it when I was going into work. There even used to be a way to get around them at work but now everything is airtight lol. Before you can go into the hospital you have to get your temperature checked and respond “no” to a list of 11 symptoms. Then you’ll get a sticker to put on your badge to prove you were screened. It’s funny because there used to only be fever, cough, shortness of breath on the list but now there’s literally 11 different symptoms that are related to COVID.
Obviously wearing masks in public is a major shift. But again, the mask mandate went into place for healthcare workers wayyyy before gen pop got a taste. I had to work whole ED shifts with an N95 and surgical mask with eye protection. It was a dreadful month (I was on EM in May), but I stayed COVID free! We are now required to wear masks from our car to the hospital then get a new surgical masks when we get in the hospital. Along with the masks are its friends: gloves, gowns, and eye protection. They are a necessary evil and my skin has been suffering big time.
Telemedicine was definitely not on the agenda for my residency program until COVID hit. At first, we just canceled our clinics all together, but it wasn’t too long before we realized that this was going to be a long term issue that needed a long term solution. We started doing phone visits about 3 months ago, and I don’t expect them to go anywhere anytime soon. I have about half of my visits, sometimes more, as phone visits. We are now encouraging video visits in clinic, which is pretty cool! I’ve only done one so far but hope to get more comfortable with it. I like phone visits because I’m able to get my notes done while the patient it talking. I can review the chart and put orders in while they are talking and not feel bad about not making eye contact. I don’t like them because you really miss that aspect of the human connection and the physical exam. For example I had a phone visit last week for shoulder pain. It would have been way easier if that patient was able to come in instead of me asking her to do different maneuvers over the phone.
We are encouraged to wear scrubs to work daily and not wear regular clothes during this time. I can’t say I have an issue with that! It’s been nice getting dressed in 2 mins without thinking about it. Some days I want to dress up more and look nice, but most days I slip my scrubs on without issue. I have to wear a mask too so it’s not like I’m wearing make-up or doing anything else to doll myself up, so might as well throw some scrubs on too! I’m not sure when we will go back to wearing regular cute clothes.
We aren’t allowed to travel domestically or internationally for any conference of CME reason. If we travel for personal reasons, we have to notify a certain department of our departure and arrival back in the city. Depending on where you go, you have to self monitor or isolate yourself and wait until you are cleared to go back to work. This has definitely been the most difficult part for me. I had a decent number of trips planned that I had to cancel. I was able to re-work some of them and visit home or my boyfriend instead, but even now I still have travel funds to spend from flights that have been canceled in the past. I’ve been making the most of my time here in the city though and hanging out with co-residents in a safe, socially distanced way. This pic was from before public mask mandates were a thing.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Enjoy your week! All the best wishes.