She is the department’s Senior House Officer, with days and nights of call duties. She got only 2 days left before the end of her one-year internship program and have expressed concerns about how the next few months would look like.
Like most of her predecessor, Dr. Olu is upbeat about completing the program. But unlike most of her predecessors, she is opting to work only in hospitals with night shift vacancies. She confided in me about this plan, and it seemed odd.
A Senior House Officer is a medical doctor who is the most senior intern among interns in a department. We call them SHO for short. The role of an SHO is mostly administrative with the job description being coordinating all other ‘Junior’ Doctors. It involves she draws up monthly roasters for all calls and ward rounds. A Senior House Officer practically have to ensure we keep up and stick to our roles.
Seated in the Doctors’ lounge and eating our lunch, she said;
“Once I leave here, I would look for only hospitals that would allow me to work at nights alone”.
I never understood her choice until after about 30 minutes of discussion, I am beginning to think this would suit me as well. Here is why she will take only night calls.
House-Job is a tedious one-year program where newly graduated doctors taught how to stand on their feet and how to function alone in the absence of supervision. So, it is a year of supervised clinical practice with widespread responsibility for the intern. Interns do not have time for themselves, all that is required from them is full-time attentiveness in clinical practice.
In two days when she is done, she expects to rest awhile from the bustles of a clinic. This is the first reason!!!. Night shifts are usually less busy and patients who come in the night must really be ‘sick’ to risk moving out at night. So, she hopes to have more time for herself and for her other passions.
She hopes to commence a Residency program in Psychiatry and would want to pass the postgraduate primary exams at one-sitting. This is the second reason!!! Love for Psychiatry is a big deal for her – nothing would separate her from her love, not even a day-time job.
After one year of internship, some House Officers hope to migrate out of the country for a better life and clinical practice. But Dr. Olu would have none of that. I am not surprised at this. Her choices have really not followed the generality of what other House Officers would choose. What I do know is every professional choice is usually personal, valid and progressive for medical doctors. In this instance, we have a doctor who would practice at night and study by day.