Dr. Stephanie Zastrow is a 2015 graduate from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and a past ASDA leader. She is a first year oral and maxillofacial surgery resident at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. After matching, she started The OMFS Girl, a blog dedicated to both her experiences as a resident and her life in the South. One of her recent posts about her first night on call is reposted below:
After a week and a half of orientation, we didn’t just dip a toe into serene water lapping on the beach, we were thrown off the boat in the middle of a raging storm. What I really mean by this is that trauma call is a very real thing. GRU OMFS takes head and neck trauma (face call) the first ten days of the month, and ENT and plastics split the remaining days. Although I was a little apprehensive about going into my first call day feeling so unprepared, I was mostly excited to see what the night had in store for me.
Turns out, my night started pretty early. After just barely getting settled into my on call room, my pager went off at 7:45 pm. A case of domestic violence left a woman with several deep lacerations on her face and arm. After checking out the patient myself, I called my back up (essentially “buddy call” for the month of July) to help me manage the ins and outs of this kind of situation. While waiting for him to arrive, page number two brought me to a different room in the ED to address another large laceration. After arriving and showing me the ropes, the second call resident handed me the reins to finish suturing up the lacs on our first patient. Meanwhile another set of residents handled the woman’s arm lacerations. Efficiency in action. I dig it.
Feeling much more comfortable with the flow of the ED now, we treated the second patient similarly and were ready to head out at 12:30 am. Naturally, that’s when the third page came in. Severe swelling preventing palpation of the inferior border of the mandible and a compromised airway brought us to the OR with our chief resident and attending for immediate treatment with an extraoral incision and drainage and extractions before the patient’s status worsened.
We wrapped up the case after 4 am, finished up notes from the other consults by 5:45 am, and then, of course, it’s time to round at a little after 6 am. As first years, our rounding skills are… not fantastic. But we’re learning and learning fast! We’re slow at gathering and analyzing the pertinent information in the chart including labs and imaging, completing the daily exam, and coming up with an appropriate assessment and plan for the next 24 hours. A wonderfully patient second year resident spent several hours guiding us through rounds, note writing, modifying orders, and more. And finally, at 10:15 am, I was home and able to crawl into bed. After nearly 30 hours awake, I was simply trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible and hopefully make the lives of the patients we saw a little bit better.
~Dr. Stephanie Zastrow, Minnesota ’15