I recently finished my month of nights on labor and delivery. Training was not the best, and most weekdays I was only able to squeeze in one workout. It took me a solid two weeks to fully adjust to nights, and just when I got everything figured out, I went back to a month of days on the pediatric inpatient team. I hope to use the lessons I learned this block on the rest of my night blocks – my residency does two months of nights per year. And, I go back to nights in 4 weeks, so I’ll be able to apply them soon!
My schedule is below. I would work from 7 PM – 7 AM (usually a few minutes later, but rounded) and sleep from 8 AM – 3 PM. It always took me longer to wake up, and I used this time to talk to Richard, hang out with the animals, and pack all my food for the upcoming shift.
This week was definitely my best of the four. I trained everyday, only missed one workout, and it was my first week back running after taking three weeks off for sprained ankles from Uwharrie. My ankles still feel unsteady on uneven ground, but they are no longer painful when running.
The biggest lesson I learned this block was listening to my body. This has always been important to me, but it has never played this much of a role. I struggled to appreciate how much the schedule drained me. Not only was I working nights (sleeping during the day was never a problem, I always passed out as soon as I got to bed and didn’t wake up till my alarm went off), but labor and delivery is fast-paced and sometimes high stress. As the intern I was seeing all the patients who came in, determining if they were in labor or not, what their pain is from, if they need to be admitted or not, etc. I also delivered almost every baby that month. It requires a lot of list-making and multi-tasking, jumping from room to room and keeping track of which patients need what.
I’m usually fairly quick to warm up, but it took me a solid 30 minutes for my body to warm up on the bike or run this block. I had to build that time into my workouts, and I usually cut down my cool down. Some days, such as Tuesday, my body was just exhausted and I could not physically or mentally give the prescribed workout a solid effort, so I scrapped it and rode easy. By listening to my body, I was able to continue training everyday. My workout on Saturday was also fantastic, reminding me what I can do when I’m rested. As long as I get that one good workout a week, I can keep going during the the off days knowing that I am still working on my fitness. This block has reminded me to not dwell on the poor workouts and to continue focusing on the larger picture.