Lately, life has been very busy. Work has been keeping my on my toes, I have had to be out of town for a handful of conferences and the family has been running in a thousand different directions. Usually when I come back from the Pediatric Academic Society meeting, I am fired up about a handful of ideas and I can’t wait to get back to work to start on a myriad of projects.
When I came back last week though, I just felt overwhelmed. I already had more than enough projects to deal with, although I really wanted to work on the new ideas. This then equals a lot of late nights with little sleep, trying to get done everything I need to get done. I was starting to get burned out.
The grass is always greener on the other side. After having spent 2 months at one of our satellite hospitals without residents and with too much stuff to do administratively, private practice started to look more tempting than ever before. On my own, without residents, I was working hard, but having fun. Maybe more of that kind of lifestyle would be better for my sanity and my family. I would actually have a chance to take a breath every once in awhile. When I come home from work, I can actually leave work behind instead of thinking about all of the things that I needed to find time to do.
But then, earlier this week I was thrown some lifelines that reaffirmed that I am where I belong, doing what I am supposed to be doing. (And this doesn’t account for the fact that I was about to head off on a much needed vacation!)
First, one of the residents I have been working with on a project just received a great award. ‘Working with’ is probably too strong of a description. She came up with the idea and did all of the leg work. I just helped her by being someone that she could bounce ideas off of and did some editing of abstracts. I suppose that some people would call this mentoring. Never before had someone I mentored accomplished so much. It was a fantastic feeling to have helped (even though my contribution was minuscule) someone achieve a goal.
Around the same time, I was doing one of the better parts of my administrative responsibilities, meeting one-on-one with residents. These are meetings that happen twice a year with a handful of residents where I check in with them and help make sure that they are on track to be the best pediatrician that they can be. (Yes, I actually say that in these meetings.) This one was special because it was with one of the residents who is about to graduate and we call it an “exit interview”. This was a very good meeting and I learned a lot about our program and about the resident. Even though I hadn’t worked with her all that often, it felt great to have watched someone grow, develop and become what they want to be. These meetings are the best part of my job and it was the perfect time to tap into that feeling and get a glimpse of why I do what I do.
The final lifeline that the residents threw me (even though they didn’t know one was needed) occurred at the end of rounds on Tuesday. After seeing our patients and doing a little bit of teaching, the team seemed truly appreciative that I was there with them for the past few days and that they learned something about pediatrics. After having been away from the residents for awhile, it was good to see that I was serving a purpose and had something to offer them.
1,2,3. Three lifelines. It all added up to the realization that I am in the right place and I am going in the right direction. The residents are what makes my job worthwhile and I had missed them more than I thought. It was great this week to be back in the place that I belong.