The worst side of the medical guard: “I didn’t know where I was…”

The worst side of the medical guard: “I didn’t know where I was…”
The worst side of the medical guard: “I didn’t know where I was…”

As the hours pass and the night progresses, there is less time left for guard for those doctors who are on duty, but fatigue also makes its way and progressively complicates the work. There are times when, luckily, these toilets can sleep in the spaces that they hospitals and health centers They are enabled to do so; or at least, they try. To what extent is it possible to fall asleep knowing that at any moment a patient may arrive in need of help?

Raul Calvo He confesses that he only manages to fall asleep when exhaustion completely gets the best of him. This family doctor stands guard 24 hours a day Continuing Care Point (PAC) rural, which serves a total of five municipalities that concentrate approximately 10,000 people. It only has the company of a nurse, so any notice concerns you directly. “This actually keeps you alert all night, there’s no one who’s going to wake you up to let you know there’s a call or someone at the door,” she explains.

On average, your office receives between 3 and 7 visits each night, to which in some cases can be added trips to neighboring towns that fall within their range of action. For him, a guard without any warning is something “completely exceptional”, so it is difficult to fall asleep when staying alert. “Any noise from the street, such as a car or people walking, wakes you up and then it’s difficult to go back to sleep. A couple of hours at most,” she says.

“Any noise from the street like a car or people walking wakes you up and it’s difficult to go back to sleep”

When ‘the flute plays’ and this doctor reaches REM sleep, returning to reality is not always easy. Sometimes, exhaustion wreaks havoc and when you hear the doorbell or phone ring, it is difficult to get back to work. “Has it ever happened to me thatand when I heard the warning I didn’t know where I was and it took a few seconds to react,” he admits.

The situation is not very different in hospital carein which the neurologist Cristina Guijarro He also thinks that it is difficult to rest, although having a broader healthcare workforce shifts can help achieve this. “When there are enough of us in the emergency room, you can sleep three or four hours, but if the hospital is small, spending the night is not feasible,” she says.

Hospital guards with residents

In their Neurology specialty wards, however, “the usual thing is not to sleep” with the exception of those large Services that have several residents with whom they ‘take turns’ “if the ward is good.” In these cases, you must always keep in mind that the MIR wakes up the deputy “if they need to consult something or there are several stroke codes“. Something that also influences Guijarro is age, since for her “the reality is that over the years you don’t sleep the same as when you are younger.” In addition, returning to sleep becomes especially complicated after waking up with several warnings. “You are alert, so even if you are on local guard you sleep badly and it gets worse over the years,” he adds.

“You are alert, so even if you are located, you sleep poorly and it gets worse with age”

The rest routine of the MIR on duty

Ignacio Martin He has that ‘vitality’ from his first years as a professional as an ally to rest easily as R4 of Family and Community Medicine, although it has not always been completely simple. “I am able to fall asleep easily, although it is true that during my first year of residency This task was difficult for me, and I used to think about my patients and whether they would be okay when I went to sleep, or worrying about whether I had forgotten a diagnosis or treatment,” he explains. But as he has gained experience, he has learned to ‘switch off’ whenever possible and pay attention to “tiredness.” “extreme” that affects him in these shifts.

What is still difficult for him is waking up. Before rtake your turn during the guard, recognizes that he needs to approach the vending machine to have a coffee and “be a person”. “Usually that wakes you up, but if you don’t always have the tension of caring for sick people again in the wee hours of the morning, it will surely keep you awake, at least for the first few minutes,” he concludes.

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend the reader that any health-related questions be consulted with a healthcare professional.

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