Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

August 23, 2000 | Volume 1, Issue 6

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Managing Your Pager: Part I

Dr. Karl

Carrying a pager has been described as the bane of an intern's existence - and it doesn't get much better for residents, either.

There are few experiences which tax the human capacity for patience and understanding as being paged repeatedly and incessantly day and night, and strategies to combat anger are important.

This issue, in the first of a two-part series, Q Fever!’s I&R correspondent, Dr. Karl Newman, walks you through an approach to: Managing Your Pager.

"Deeee!" "Deeee!" "Deeee!" "Deeee!"
"Deeee!" "Deeee!" "Deeee!" "Deeee!"

If you're like me, those sounds can mean only one of three things: you're the lead singer of Twisted Sister, you're gettin' paged, or both!

I love getting paged. It means someone out there's thinking about me, and how nice it would be to talk to me! It's like my senior resident used to say:

Treat your beeper like a pal
A pal named Mike or Tom or Sam or Sal

I have to admit, though - it can be stressful getting lots of pages, especially when you're trying to do important things like watch the game with the security guard down on 2 West. So here's some advice to make life run a whole lot more smoothly for ya:

1. Make sure the darn thing works.

WHAAH??!! Take it from me. Nothing's more embarassing than having to tell your resident, or your friend, or your evil identical twin, that your beeper ain't been working! So do what I do. Perform the following bit of maintenance every hour, on the hour:

1) Page yourself from all the phones in the hospital
2) Repeat Step 1 with all the different beeper sounds
3) Test the vibrate mode thoroughly, if you know what I mean
4) Make sure to have youself paged overhead a few times, for completeness' sake

If that doesn't root out the source of the problem, I'll be a flying fo'-by-fo'!

2. Use the thing the right way.

HUHH?! You heard me! Proper pager use is essential, and, unfortunately, it's often taken for granted by new interns and residents. For example, does the following sound familiar to you?

Beeper:Deeee! Deeee! Deeee! Deeee!
You: Hello. Dr. _____ speaking. I was paged. What's going on.
Beeper: Deeee! Deeee! Deeee! Deeee!
You: Allright. I'll be right over. You can count on me.
Beeper: Deeee! Deeee! Deeee! Deeee!
You: Stop it. Shut up. What do you want.
Beeper: Deeee! Deeee! Deeee! Deeee!
... ad infinitum.

This intern mistakenly thought that the beeper itself was trying to contact him. Don't let this happen to you! Instead, make note of the number on shown on your beeper's display, find a phone, and dial it!

Just remember:

Pagers don't page people, people page people!

3. Answer pages like you mean it!

WHATZAT??!! Yeah. If someone's paging you, it doesn't necessarily mean that they need something from you. Fact is, half the time, they're just testing you, to see how well you handle stress. Are you a leader? A wimp? A champ? A chimp? So, what you say and the way you say it is trés importante! Here's a script to guide you:

5 West: 5 West, may I help you?
You: Yeah. Hi. It's Dr._______. I'm answering a page.
5 West: No one here paged you.
You: Yeah. I beg to differ.
5 West: Come again?
You: Yeah. I said, I beg to differ.
5 West: You beg to differ.
You: Yeah.
5 West: Who is this again?
You: Yeah. It's Dr._______. Someone paged me.
5 West: There's no one else here. No one paged you.
You: Yeah. Can you ask around again.
5 West: There's NO ONE ELSE HERE. Is this some kinda joke?
You: Yeah. Some kinda joke.
5 West: What?

Well, you can pretty much imagine what happens from there!

Whooaaah! Looks like we're outta time, kids! Next time, we'll continue our talk on beepers with some anectodes my uncle told me last week 'fore they hauled him off to the Big House again... Till then, keep your settings on single chirp, and keep reachin' for the snooze button!

“Just tell ‘em Dr. Karl sent ya!”

Karl Newman, MD is a second-year resident in Internal Medicine. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Q Fever!, its editors, or its writers.

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