I think that I can manage to get more done in the hospital than most, and I'd like to say that it's my razor sharp clinical acumen, but in reality, it has next to nothing to do with my clinical skill. Because honestly, I'm not that good. My medical students were shocked to discover that their all-knowing senior resident only scored a 200 on his Step 1. One even asked me, "Two hundred and..." "No, exactly two hundred. Two zero zero."

I am, as one might say, not that smart. It goes without saying that I'm in the top 10% in this country, seeing as I've graduated college, obtained an advanced graduate degree, and am now training in a profession, and my IQ's prolly in the 130-140 range. But does this mean that I'm a smart doctor? Not really. I haven't made too many mistakes, and I have yet to kill anyone that wasn't already on the way out the door. But I'd have to say, there are better doctors out there.

But still I've managed to outperform a lot of these geniuses in the hospital setting and the simple reason is because I've bothered to learn people's names. I wish I was kidding. That's it. All it takes to be an outstanding doctor. That's my great secret.

It sounds so silly, but people actually feel a lot better when you address them in person, as an equal. When I was an intern, I'd track down the nurses for my patients, make sure they were squared away, find out what needed to be done from their end. I'd befriend the clerks and techs and respiratory therapists and it became easier and easier for me to do more and more difficult things, because I knew who to talk to in order to get stuff done.

And that's my great secret to being a good intern. Oh yes, and not killing people. That's important too.

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