ICU Overnights

September 2018

 I write to you this month during one of my ICU overnight shifts. Prior to ICU, I was on the Food Animal and Camelid Medicine and Surgery rotation. I really enjoyed the food animal rotation and got to see a variety of species for appointments and overnight hospitalization, including beef cattle, sheep, goats, and alpacas. The rotation started off steady with mostly beef lameness cases, but quickly turned into assisting with several goat blood transfusions. I learned a lot and enjoyed working with the interns, residents, and clinicians. After a crazy on call weekend, I transitioned into ICU overnights with orientation on Monday morning.

The ICU rotation at ISU lasts for a full month, instead of two weeks. The service sees dogs, cats, and exotic species. The shifts are twelve hours long and you get a total of six days off during the entire rotation. During the night shifts, you work with a veterinary intern and during the day you work with a veterinarian boarded by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). I am finishing up my overnight shifts and will be transitioning over to days next week. This is one of the rotations that I was dreading for my fourth year because of the overnight shifts, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

I wouldn’t call myself a night owl, but I am definitely not a morning person. My sleep schedule transitioned quite well to the 8 PM to 8 AM schedule, with some help from dark bedroom shades and ear plugs. The most difficult days are the days I have off. I try to stick to my night schedule, but end up caving and falling asleep by midnight, which throws off my next shift. My appetite and access to food also suffers because I am either sleeping or doing ICU treatments. Realistically, the most affected creature in my household is probably my Bulldog, who tries to sleep through the night and day to be with his owners. It is rotations like this that make me very thankful for my fiancé, who keeps things balanced at home. 

Just two weeks of ICU days left and then onto Dermatology!

Until next time,