COVID19 Work

Day 15: Back to “School”

March 30, 2020

The kids start online school today. Annabel’s day begins with a morning meeting at 10 AM, and then they are supposed to complete various work tasks (?? mostly independently?) based on a curriculum provided online.

For C, it appears a bit more nebulous. There is no in-unison start time and apparently there will be activities/work assigned for the week, but not necessarily for each day.

I guess we will see how it goes! Today I will venture downstairs to help get them started. Some days I won’t be able to help because I will be in the middle of telemedicine visits, but other days I am (luckily) more flexible.

While they do school, G will probably play with toys and then watch a show (or 2). She is quite good at playing and concentrating for fairly long periods (we call her “Montessori baby”), but definitely not 2 full hours.

Montessori baby hard at work

IN OTHER NEWS, over the weekend it seems that of the 7 faculty members in my division, 5 have exempt themselves from in-person hospital duties (due to age and other issues). That leaves exactly 2 of us, one of which is me. So I am probably going to be seeing a lot of new diabetes patients over the coming weeks to months and making many trips to the hospital. On the up-side, as a group we are planning to do a lot of our hospital coverage remotely (and I am definitely NOT going to be covering the phone lines every other week!).

On the downside, aghgh. Especially considering that I am devoting a lot of brain energy to managing the 16 residents whose duties and rotations are changing by the day in the current climate.

On one hand I am glad to protect my older faculty colleagues. If they were to get super sick, it would be horrible. On another . . . I wish there were more than 2 of us left.


  • Reply Sarah March 30, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Wow Sarah, that’s a lot of people to pull out of in-hospital duty! Hopefully they can mostly help from home. I’m an oncologist with an autoimmune disorder on immunosuppression. I’ve struggled with what to do in this situation. Currently I’ve decided not to work inpatient but to continue to see outpatients (mixed in with my telemedicine patients). I don’t know if this is the right decision. I write about it here: It’s amazing what this situation has unmasked – people who appear healthy have hidden problems come to light. My husband is a primary care physician and almost certainly will be called to take care of COVID patients inpatient. We are working on a plan for when that happens – does he stay in an airbnb or is out basement enough? Physicians never thought they would be placed in this challenging situation and it is bringing up a whole new set of discussions.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns March 30, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Oof, that is a lot of work to dump on 2 people… I understand why your colleagues need to exempt themselves. Interesting about the husband of someone on immune suppressant drugs… I guess we all have to do what is best for our families but it’s tough when it results in a lot of work on your plate. Are you able to shift any of your telemedicine to them? Or does that not make sense to do?

    Good luck, friend. You have a lot on your plate right now on top of your kids being out of school. Thank God you have a nanny – I hope she can continue to come!

  • Reply Family med resident March 30, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Can the faculty who exempted themselves from inpatient call cover all of the after-hours phone calls (from home) during this time? That would make it a little more fair while still protecting them.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 30, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      It would be lovely … I guess we will see!

  • Reply Ana March 30, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Oof that’s rough. If most can be done virtually, hopefully its not too big a burden on the two of you? And definitely the after hours/night stuff can and should be split evenly because no one has the excuse to not be able to manage phone calls.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 30, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      Oh they will definitely cover their overnights! I was hoping (wishful thinking) maybe they could cover some of my night calls too! Not gonna ask but would not say no if it were offered 🙂

      • Reply redzils March 30, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        I don’t usually comment, but I have to say: I think it would be very appropriate to present it as an option to help balance having only two of you covering in person. You don’t have to beg, but I definitely encourage you to put it on the table!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 30, 2020 at 3:49 pm

          we’ll see how often I end up going in. If it’s a lot I will drop some not-so-subtle hints. If it’s just every couple of days, then no need. It really is mostly just for new onset diabetes patients. Most others we can do via tele!

          • Lily March 31, 2020 at 3:43 am

            You’re the best judge of your workplace (and I know you’re kinda joking) but can I suggest (to everyone!) that you clearly and politely ask for what you want? I recently stepped up to director level in a civil service role. The director I used to work to always told me our team was overloaded because the other directors were ‘difficult’ and ‘unwilling to help’. Now that I am in the directors meetings I can see that she’s just making snide comments about being overworked and dropping vague hints about what she’d like to drop instead of putting a clear proposal on the table for how the work could be better divided. I honestly don’t think the other directors realise there’s an actual problem.

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