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Working the wards as a physician

Sayeeda Hudani is a hospitalist who has been working at RCH for 11 years. The Record caught up with Hudani recently to find out what it's like on the wards.

Sayeeda Hudani is a hospitalist who has been working at RCH for 11 years. The Record caught up with Hudani recently to find out what it's like on the wards.

Question: Can you describe your role?

Answer: I'm a hospitalist, which is a family physician who looks after inpatients in the hospital.

.What happens is, you come to the hospital because you're sick, and if the doctor in the emergency room decides that you need to be admitted, then someone else takes over the care, and that can be internal medicine, or a hospitalist, which is our group.

Q: What's the most interesting thing about your job?

A: I love dealing with the medicine, with the acuity of patients and helping them get better. I like the fact that I'm in the hospital, that I assess patients frequently, so you go see a patient in the morning and you may need to go see them again later on, and helping them get better, helping them through their illness. The other part that I find very nice is the camaraderie and the fact that you're (part of) a team so there's always someone to talk to.

Q: Anything you wish you could change about your job?

A: I guess the only negative, if you even want to call it a negative, is that it's long hours. We're in the hospital for nine hours, sometimes more, depending on the patient. You know, if they're sick, you're here looking after them. The beauty is that we work as a team . our shift ends usually around five or six o'clock, and at that time there's someone else here at the hospital who will look after your patients.

Q: What are the most common reasons for your patients to be in the hospital?

A: If you have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and you have an acute infection or flareup of that, congestive heart failure, strokes, pneumonias, bladder infections, elderly people that come in quite weak, unable to cope and usually they have an infection or they're maxed out at home in their ability to look after themselves. We get a few renal patients, but not as much.

Q: What was your most memorable case?

A: We had a case that humbled us all. It was a young gentleman in his early 40s. He'd been involved in a terrible car accident in the States and he had a multitude of trauma (injuries) and he was flown back to RCH for ongoing care and treatment.

His trauma was significant and we all thought that he would probably succumb to his injuries. He had head trauma, abdominal trauma, and nine months later he walked out.

Q: Is your job stressful?

A: I enjoy acute medicine. I enjoy dealing with stressful situations, if you want to call it that.

I like dealing with my team and making someone better, not just from emerg but from that particular disease that brought them in, and then sending them home.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A: I started off wanting to be a policewoman, but I didn't grow that big, so I thought, well, maybe not that, and then when I was in Grade 8 or 9 I read a book on Albert Schweitzer.

I'm from East Africa, and I moved to the Maritimes when I was young and reading a book about a Nobel Peace Prize winner that had gone to Congo and gave up most of his possessions and build a clinic and look after the people there, I thought, well, if he can do that, it's the least I can do for my people. That's the reason why I went into medicine.

Q: Do you wear scrubs?

A: I don't. I dress up for work. It's one of the beauties of working - I enjoy dressing up. I think I would wear scrubs if I was in emerg or doing a lot of procedures, but we don't do a lot of procedures.