Today is July 1st. Other than it being Canada Day, July 1st is probably the worst day to be admitted to a hospital.
You see, on July 1st every year, recently graduated medical students start their residency.These are the most junior of junior doctors. For almost all of them, it is the first time they can write orders without it having to be co-signed. They are given real responsibilities to look after patients. They are able to prescribe meds, give orders and work in the hospital… without supervision.
July 1st also happens to be a stat holiday. Due to it being a weekend this year, most of the staff physicians are taking the day off. It means the hospitals are running with the minimum workforce, and most of them on call are these new residents.
Most of these residents have probably been off clinical duties for the last few months. With classes, exams, graduation, vacation and moving time, these freshly minted doctors are probably as rusty as they’ll ever be. They’ll be seasoned veterans by the end of next year but for now they are probably only slightly better than your average medical student. In fact, some would say their clinical knowledge has diminished since their rotations due to a typical post graduation travel/vacation plan.
If you were admitted a week ago, you would have had the most seasoned residents finishing their year. If you get admitted during this week, you might have to be a bit more patient with these new docs. Many of them are starting in a new city, new environment and it might even be an off-service rotation for them too.
This all brings up a good question, which I’m not sure if there has been formal research or not, is the hospital a more dangerous place in July due to these new doctors? There has been lots of news stories and horror stories retold from nurses, but does anyone have any statistics.
Just wanted to say, “Best of luck to the incoming residents!” I’m terrified. In a year’s time, that will be me.