A Day in the Medical Life
Whether it’s by wearable tech or an old-school pedometer, it seems everyone is tracking personal health stats these days—even medical professionals. We supplied a Nike FuelBand to five healthcare workers and asked each participant to track his or her stats for a full 24 hours. The result: a glimpse into their hectic, unpredictable, and occasionally miraculous daily lives.
Dr. Thea James
“I exercise seven days a week. Every day. I do yoga, and if I’m not swimming, I’m running. Sometimes I do both.”
Job: Emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, and associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston University
Distance: 9.37 miles
4 a.m. Ugh, I’m tired, but I wake up at 4 every day, and I don’t even use an alarm. My body just wakes up.
7:30 a.m. Swam a half-mile of laps at Boston Sports Clubs before my shift.
9 a.m. Began my rounds in the observation unit before my emergency room shift at 11 a.m.
4:50 p.m. Patients who were on a United Arab Emirates flight from Dubai arrived at the hospital for evaluation for possible Ebola symptoms. I was about to go home. Usually, when your shift is over, you’re winding down, but I saw the nurses getting the PPE [personal protective equipment] ready, so I stepped in the box and they started dressing me up. They put me in the full gear.
9:15 p.m. I went for a 2-mile walk around Harvard Square to unwind, which is my evening ritual.
“Tracking made me think critically about my day-to-day health.”
Job: Boston-area EMT and paramedic
Distance: 5.21 miles
5:45 a.m. I wake up cranky and groggy because of bad weather. I feed and take out my dogs before prepping my food for the day.
7 a.m. I arrive at work, chat with the crew finishing their shift, and check
the truck and gear for safety before the shift begins.
10 a.m. Got a lucky nap, but was awoken by 9-1-1 calls; a man fell off a roof. Also, we had to transport a patient discharge.
4:45 p.m. A call came in about a cardiac arrest at a nearby facility. But while en route, the call was canceled after pronouncement.
5:22 p.m. I was sent back to the base, and I’m already thinking about dinner. A couple of hours later, more calls for transport come in, but there was time for a froyo sundae first.
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel
“I’m a real health fanatic, and have been wearing [a tracker] for years. I’m a big exercise freak.”
Job: Cardiologist and president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Distance: 3.25 miles
6 a.m. I put the band on before going to work.
10 a.m. Meeting
11 a.m. Meeting
12 p.m. Meeting
2 p.m. Meeting
3 p.m. Meeting
4 p.m. Meeting
6 p.m. I worked until around 6 o’clock and then went home to meet with my trainer, who was arriving at 6:30 p.m.
*Ed. Note: Dr. Nabel had about a dozen meetings the day she wore the tracker for this story.
“Wearing the tracker made me so much more aware of not sitting down.”
Job: Registered nurse working on the antepartum and postpartum floors and newborn nurseries at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Distance: 6.03 miles
4:45 a.m. Up before the crack of dawn today, and I’m really tired because I did not get enough sleep.
7 a.m. My 12-hour shift on the floor begins, and I can already tell it’s going to be a busy day. I was assigned to work on the postpartum floor and started with four new mothers and four newborns.
9:30 a.m. Attended our team meeting and started discharge paperwork for patients. Afterward, I spent about 20 to 30 minutes with each patient to go over the forms.
3:30 p.m. Visited with patients to do postpartum assessments, pain assessments, and newborn feedings.
7 p.m. Completed my nursing notes and gave my report to the night nurses. I finally left the hospital 40 minutes later and am ready to walk on the treadmill tonight.
Dr. John Schorge
“This was really fun.”
Job: Chief of gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital
Distance: 3.04 miles
7 a.m. I woke up focused and am mentally preparing for the day during my 20-minute drive to the hospital.
8 a.m. I had to take the tracker off to scrub for surgery. I performed a three-hour cancer surgery with my team.
1 p.m. After a quick lunch and chat with my patient’s family, I had to take the tracker off again for another three-hour cancer surgery.
4 p.m. I’m feeling anxious because I have mountains of unfinished paperwork and research to do.
6:30 p.m. Once home, I shoot hoops with my kids for about 30 minutes before heading in to eat dinner and read medical journals. After dinner I walked the dog for 30 minutes.