The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


A good team can get you through pretty much anything. That's why call is so scary... often, there's no one there but you.

In the mornings for the past month, we've actually had a pretty good time. Our team for November was composed of me, another off-service junior resident (from Family Medicine) and our pseudo-senior (a second year general surgery resident). She's not really a senior cause she's only second year, but she plays the role on our team. We also have anywhere from 2 to 4 medical students at any given time. The helpfullness of medical students (we call them clinical clerks for a reason that I'm sure is historic and makes more sense than is readily apparent) is hugely variable. There are some that are completely useless. I understand if general surgery is not your life's calling (God knows it isn't mine either) but the attitude of some of these clerks drives me nuts. There was the one that was routinely late without apology or explanation. I can understand that it's hard to get to the hospital for 6am in the morning, but she was 20 minutes late for weekend call which didn't start until 9am. She was late every single day, without fail. It drove me nuts. There was the one who rolled her eyes and sulked every time she was asked to do something. There was the one who met every request with a cool "I don't think I'd get anything out of that". And there was the one who would tell us she was going to clinic and then leave. I mean, leave the hospital. Go home. Who the hell DOES that?

There's really not much you can do when you're stuck with a really lazy student on your team. We're not really responsible for their evaluations, the staff are. But it slows the whole team down, because everyone else has to pick up the slack. Usually I'm pretty good to the clerks on my team. When we're on call I don't call them past midnight unless it's something I think they'd really learn from, like an admission or a consult. I try not to lose sight of the fact that this might be my job, but they're paying tuition for the privilege of being worked to the bone. But sometimes, you really start to get resentful.

Thank God for the elective students. These are medical students from other medical schools, usually in their last year, who have arranged electives in general surgery because that's what they want to do. They know what they're doing (in many cases, they know much more about surgery than I do) and they're there to work hard. They make life so much easier.

The two other residents I've been working with have made rounding at 6am much more fun. The surgical resident is somewhat grumpy in the morning, but can be pretty easily goaded into reluctant laughter. The other resident has apparently made it his goal in life to make resident #1 a morning person. The two of them are seriously funny together. Lately, the fun thing to do has been to see how many big fluorescent biohazard stickers resident #2 can manage to stick to the back of resident #1 by the time we finish rounding. Our record so far is 6.

Sigh. It doesn't take much to count for amusement these days.



Blogger mrbunsrocks said...

Hey Couz,

Cool a non-medical person, it's very interesting to read the inside scoop. I also love checking out who has been reading my blog. Too much fun!


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