A Day in the Medical Life

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.

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.

The Doctor
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.”

photograph by PJ couture

photograph by PJ couture

Age: 61
Job: Emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, and associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston University
Steps: 19,465
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.


Marina Rodzianko

“Tracking made me think critically about my day-to-day health.”


photograph by PJ couture

Age: 25
Job: Boston-area EMT and paramedic
Steps: 10,184
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.


The Administrator
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel

“I’m a real health fanatic, and have been wearing [a tracker] for years. I’m a big exercise freak.”


photograph by PJ couture

Age: 62
Job: Cardiologist and president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Steps: 6,490
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.


The Nurse
Kathy O’Dea

“Wearing the tracker made me so much more aware of not sitting down.”


photograph by PJ couture

Age: 48
Job: Registered nurse working on the ­antepartum and postpartum floors and newborn nurseries at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Steps: 12,075
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.


The Surgeon
Dr. John Schorge

“This was really fun.”

dr. schorge

photograph by PJ couture

Age: 48
Job: Chief of gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital
Steps: 6,082
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.


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