Finding consistency in the midst of constant change 


By: Anna Holman

Two of the major challenges of being a Family Medicine resident is the wide scope of medicine we learn and the variety of environments in which we train. As an intern or first-year resident, the work can be hard because it seems like we change gears every month. Bouncing from Pediatrics to Obstetrics to Surgery to Emergency Medicine, I have become an expert at adapting to new systems. The one constant I have had is my Family Medicine clinic. Clinic is something I look forward to every week. I have started to develop a panel of patients and working with them reminds me why I chose Family Medicine in the first place. As generalists, we get to work with patients as they go through each different phase of life. Recently, I got to deliver the baby of one of my patients from clinic and being a part of that moment has been one the highlights of this year.

The One Hour and (almost) One-Handed Delivery

At 2am after my first day back on our inpatient service at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, I received a page. Not used to the alarm, I tripped over my dog and nearly broke my phone trying to turn off the ringing. The page said:

“Your patient is being admitted to Labor and Delivery.”

I called the number back and one of the Obstetrics and Gynecology interns answered. She told me that my patient’s water broke a little while ago and was probably going to deliver later in the morning. I was disappointed because I knew that I would be working at another hospital and probably would not be able to go to the delivery.

Three hours later, my real alarm went off and I jumped out of bed, nearly tripped over the dog again, threw on scrubs and headed to the hospital. While I was checking in on my patients, I got another page:

“Your patient is 10cm dilated. Ready to push.”

I ran back to the team room and asked my senior resident if I could go up the hill to the University of Utah for the delivery. I would probably be a little late rounding on patients with the team, but I thought it was worth a shot. Thankfully, my senior resident was very supportive and let me go. Five minutes later, 7:50am, I was heading out the door.


By 8:05am, I was upstairs on the Labor and Delivery floor. The chief resident filled me in on the labor progress and I checked on my patient to see if we should do a practice push.  We tried one push and simultaneously the nurse and I said, “Stop, stop, stop!” The baby’s head was crowning and we were far from ready. This baby, however, had other plans. I managed to get one glove on to control the baby’s head and quickly threw on the other glove before the shoulder was visible. A few seconds later, she was out, and up saying hello to her parents.

By 9:00am, I was back seeing my patients at Salt Lake Regional.

This was by no means a routine morning in the life of a Family Medicine intern, but it was definitely one of my better ones. When I decided to go into Family Medicine, I was intimidated by the breadth of the practice. I still am, but the more I learn, the happier I am with my choice. I feel grateful to get to be a part of my patients’ lives in both big and small ways. My clinic patients have been a constant facet of my intern year and are a nice reminder of why I wanted to be a doctor. In return, I hope that I can provide some comforting consistency for my patients as well.



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