First night on call: are we safe?
- By: Justine Talken-Sinclair
As junior doctors we are often expected to manage large numbers of patients alone and with little senior support. Are others’ expectations of us unrealistic? My first night on call as an SHO (second year junior doctor) certainly made me think so.
I had just begun work in obstetrics and gynaecology. At the start of the night a stressed out SHO handed me the on-call bleeper. She clearly had had a busy day and did not seem particularly interested in talking, let alone in imparting any golden nuggets of wisdom for a new SHO about to experience their first on-call night shift.
As she left the ward I stood there hopelessly, clutching the bleeper. I knew absolutely nothing about “obs and gynae” and knew that at any minute the bleeper would go off and I would be expected to perform some sort of miracle delivery. I was terrified as I