Dr. Irankunda and his teams carefully work to care for each patient. Once each is stable, they are admitted into the Cardiovascular ICU, Neuro ICU and Burn ICU, respectively. While all of this is going on, his nurse colleagues hold down the pod and alert him if a patient is critical or needs to be assessed sooner than later. Teamwork and collaboration is essential to patient care in the Emergency Department.
“One of the biggest strengths that makes us be efficient leaders is the team we work with,” he says.
3 p.m. A Clear SRU
Things finally slow down after a chaotic — though not abnormal — few hours. Dr. Irankunda returns to his desk in A-Pod and updates his notes. He takes a deep breath, satisfied to know that all of his patients are receiving the treatment they need.
Soon after, another resident walks in to relieve him. Having lost track of time, he looks at his watch: 3:07 p.m. Time to wrap up his shift and head home.
Before he leaves, Dr. Irankunda performs a sign-out and fills in the new resident on his patients, ensuring he shares every important detail. He grabs his water bottle and walks past the empty SRU to the Emergency Department’s double doors.
“If you are able to leave with a clear SRU, that is a good thing. Especially on a day like today, where there were multiple critically ill patients,” he says.
As he makes his way through the hospital’s tunnels toward an elevator to the parking garage, he reflects on his shift.
What went well?
What could have gone better?
What do I need to do in the future to improve?
Dr. Irankunda appreciates the positive interactions he has with his colleagues and patients, and he focuses on those rather than ponder any mistakes or stress from the past eight hours. It’s easy to dwell on those moments when he isn’t able to save a patient’s life, but he also knows how rewarding it is when he does make a lifesaving difference. That feeling drives him every day.
Once in the parking garage, Dr. Irankunda finds his car, turns on his favorite music and commutes back home.
Victoria welcomes him when he arrives. Before he shares about his day, he finds Kimani, gives him a big hug and spends time with him while he plays. Dr. Irankunda knows that life is about the little things away from his job. Specifically, his role as a husband and father.
“I put everything into perspective. For me, I’m grateful to have people to come home to who remind me that so much more goes on outside of those hospital walls,” he says.
After playing with Kimani, Dr. Irankunda sits down at his kitchen table with Victoria and talks about his day at work. Having worked as a scribe in an emergency room herself, Victoria understands what he goes through. During good days and bad days as a resident, and throughout his grueling days as a student, she has been his rock.
Dr. Irankunda is also appreciative to have the support of his 13 resident colleagues in the program’s 51st graduating class, the Class of 2022. They all keep in close contact and rely on each other during the most difficult days of residency.
Before preparing dinner, Dr. Irankunda and Victoria discuss their weekend plans. While COVID-19 has limited their activities, they still try to explore Cincinnati as much as possible, whether it’s going to Ault Park or visiting the Cincinnati Zoo. They look forward to calling the Queen City home for a long time.
Dr. Irankunda knows that he can accomplish any of his career goals — whether it be pursuing academic medicine or practicing community medicine — because he has UC Emergency Medicine on his resume. “It’s an honor to be part of this program. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” he says.