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Jul 26, 2009


Though my own personal story of being ill in July and then (knowingly!) going to a teaching hospital had more to do with the attending physician being an idiot than anything else, it should still serve as a warning to people to avoid hospitals in July AT ALL COSTS. I’m sure you know the reason, but let me state it again, just to be clear.

People are starting their jobs in July and they have no idea what to do with you.

Now, as with anything, some people are worse than others. There are different levels of training, of course, so it is possible that your doctor knows what to do with you but does not know how to accomplish that treatment in that particular hospital. Or perhaps your doctor has not yet learned the proper channels through which referrals, consults, and orders must be made. Or, more likely, your doctor will be a brand-new physician, roughly 1 month old, and your doctor will have no better idea of how to treat you than your mother does.

Students are notoriously obnoxious during this time, because they will often know as much if not more than the new intern doctors. Students have more time to spend with the patients, so they inevitably know the patient’s disease and history better than the doctors and generally do not take kindly to being told that they are inferior. I am no exception to this generalization, though I hope I keep my more mutinous feelings well hidden.

I almost failed this week, though. We got new residents and interns and the new ones are so… new. They’re overwhelmed and scared and afraid of the complicated and dying patients that the service tends to. For this brief time, the students are far better equipped to handle patient issues than the doctors, simply because we know the patients and their specific tendencies and problems and because we are over that initial fear.

Still, we can’t actually do anything. We see them and report back and give our opinion and hope for the best. The week? It was not the best.

I hope that when I am an intern I have more wherewithal than these people that I’m working with and instead of interrupting the student during their presentation to correct or addend in an obvious attempt to make them look bad, I am sensitive to timing and appropriateness and let them have their mostly accurate moment of glory. In the end, trying to be a know-it-all only makes the person look like a jerk.

At least, I hope that’s what my attending thinks after this situation happened to me this week. I didn’t leave anything pertinent out and the intern was a jerk. There should be no other way to see it. Of course, I am a bit biased…

Here’s hoping.

3 Readers rock!:

~Ashley said...

although i don't know the specifics-- i would just say that there will be many many times where you'll over-analyze what you did or said or didn't do or didn't say or what happened in this situation in front of that attending...and all the while be thinking "will this show up on my eval?" and usually it does not. i spent much of my 3rd year stressed out over things always wondering how i was being judged or whatever. this is the pot calling the kettle black i know, but try not to obsess over it, and definitely don't beat yourself up over it (something i always did). i really think in the end, they can tell which students have their stuff together and which ones don't. and if they're anything like at your old school, the attending evals are usually pretty generic (unless you really hit it off with them or the service) and usually they give A's or something right on the A/B line so that you have to determine your grade by what you make on the shelf or the in-house exam.

Tiffany said...

"People are starting their jobs in July and they have no idea what to do with you."
This comment made laugh (in a fearful way)! Zoinks!

Dragonfly said...

Mid Jan in Australia....time to stay healthy as well :-)