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So should I feel different...?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by WVUPharm2007, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Time for my biannual thread that is actually serious.

    I started a rotation in the ED at the local hospital. The pharmacist there is this brilliant-ass neuro/psych specialist that impresses the hell out of me. The surgeons and ED docs respect him like mad. He really gets into it, too. I've jogged up and down more steps than I've ever wanted to in my entire life in two days responding to trauma pages.

    So to my point - my first day within a 15 minute span, actually my first 15 minutes ever, we get a woman with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, an MI/car wreck (guy gets MI, then drives truck into tree), and a bad DKA case. 3 serious issues all at once. It was nutso, people running everywhere. 1 dies, 1 goes brain dead, 1 is ok.

    Now this is what I can't wrap my head around - I watched a guy die in front of my eyes, yet I was completely unaffected. I assume after a while, you just get desensitized to it all, but this is first day, heck, first few minutes, and it didn't even phase me. I just forgot and moved on.

    I'm kinda freaked out..not that I saw a guy die per se, but that it didn't affect me at all. It's not like pharmacy school exposed it to me that much. I assumed that at the very least the first few people that I saw die would make me anxious at least. Maybe it was just because everyone else was so calm...death in front of their eyes was just an every day thing to them. Maybe I got the same vibe via osmosis, I dunno.

    The irony of worrying about not worrying about something....
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  3. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Working the ER is a tough gig - like ICU or NICU.

    I think we talked about this before...everyone is different. You may not respond any different than you did today. That's ok.

    It might hit you later. That's ok too!

    A particular case might hit you greater than another - a child, or someone who looks like your wife or your younger brother. Again - ok.

    Can you grasp what you learned pharmaceutically while you were there? What did you do well - what would you do differently, if you had the chance? Did you get a chance to go over what happened during the day with your preceptor - what were his goals for you that day? Ask him about your reactions - there's a tremendous gamut & sometimes a delay.

    I hope it was a good day in spite of the difficult cases.
  4. eddie269

    eddie269 Still in shock... 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2003
    And people say pharmacists have no place in "clinical settings." :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience b/c it sounded pretty traumatic. I think it being in the ER really desensitized things. It's all about the setting.

    Like if a hot girl wore a tight dress in a Vegas club with her boobs hanging out, it would be fine and no one would be offended. Now if she was teaching a bunch of 3rd graders wearing the same thing, it would be an issue.

    Perhaps if someone died at let's say Walgreens waiting for his medicine, that might affect you? Ahh, who knows. I have no idea how I would feel either.

    On a side note, I just peeped your blog and you are one hell of a writer. I was always curious at how pharmacy school (especially rotations) are like and now I know...without the fluff. Keep up the good work!
  5. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    With being in the ED, you did not have any involvement with the patients. They were strangers to you. Not feeling anything seems normal to me.

    I think it's a bigger deal when you've been following a patient for a week, monitoring their progress, then they code.
  6. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    This had actually crossed my mind, but I'm still pretty sure we're hardwired to care about other humans and such. Though you're point is very valid.
  7. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    I appreciate it. Though I disagree that I'm a good writer. My blog is filled with so many grammatical errors, it borders embarrassment. But that's just how I type the thoughts in my brain. I don't edit, I don't spell check, I just start typing what goes though my mind without looking back. Sometimes I get mental images and I draw them (poorly) in paint off a whim. In fact, I'm surprised that in the end it all collectively forms a coherent thought.

    I guess you could say I'm a decent story teller. I just wish more people would leave comments. I get thousands of hits and no comments. :(
  8. twester

    twester Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    It looks to me like having two of your patients die did affect you. You're still thinking about them. It's just that you didn't react as you expected you'd react. You didn't fall to the floor in a puddle of tears and there's nothing wrong with that. Don't be too hard on yourself. That you're asking the question shows a lot of thoughtfulness and sensitivity. Good luck with the rest of your rotation.

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