I was a tumultuous cloud of hope and fear as I tiptoed into my new job on a recent Sunday after five months off. By Wednesday morning, with my first three nightshifts behind me, I had already stayed late three mornings to keep up with charting in an unfamiliar EMR and succumbed to stress-eating chocolate at the nurses’ station. I was reacquainted with the challenges of staying awake all night, the frustration of trying to order a drip while my patients were waiting, and the chaos of downtime. My neck must not have been used to the weight of my stethoscope, because, just three shifts in, I feel like I have stethoscope-induced cervicalgia. Or EMR-induced cervicalgia from getting reacquainted with staring at a screen so much.
Coming back to work has been eye-opening. Yes, I learned that the headaches, or neck aches in my case, will always be there. But what surprised me was seeing, as if for the first time again, all the little gifts in what I do that I had taken for granted. The best gifts this time of year come not from a credit card swipe but from the little blessings in our lives. Seeing our beloved specialty through fresh eyes, I realized just how many gifts there are in being an EP.
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Sandra Scott Simons is an emergency physician. This article originally appeared in Emergency Medicine News.
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