Apparently, I'm a jerk

Patients LOVE me. I mean it. I'm not being facetious or pumping my ego. At least once a week, I have a patient talk me up, or try to get into my residency clinic. When I was still taking patients, I had to turn these people away out of fear that I'd be accused of poaching. Even today, a nurse told me that one of the patients I saw a month or two ago, this patient saw me in the hall, and the patient couldn't stop talking about me.

So, I was a little surprised to find out that apparently, I'm the jerk senior resident. I'm the guy that yells at the interns and is too critical. I'm always in a bad mood and never fun to work with. I make the interns work too hard. No one wants to work with me.

And as much as I'd like to deny it... it's TRUE! I'm a jerk! How dare I make the interns work, and demand that they meet a standard of excellence? I'm such an asshole. I am the Dr. Perry Cox of my institution (except I'm nice to patients). If you're an intern, let me tell you how to stay off my shit list.

  1. Don't lie about your skills. Nothing pisses me off more than an intern misrepresenting his skills. I've had interns tell me they were experienced with central lines, only to find out that I was supervising their first attempt at a CVC. Not cool. I don't mind teaching a procedure, but I need to know that you don't know.

  2. Don't complain about working. I've had interns complain and whine and bitch about doing FOUR OR FIVE admissions. Christ! Who the fuck complains about that? Compared to my intern year, these guys are getting off light. I've got absolutely no sympathy. If you didn't want to work hard, you should've become a janitor.

  3. Mistakes are okay. Stupidity is not. Not knowing which antibiotic to use, that's okay. Not knowing which stress test to order, fine. Not being able to write an H&P, that's a big fucking problem.

  4. Fucking up is okay. Being lazy is not. You're an intern. You'll make mistakes. That's FINE. What is not fine is not doing something because it is inconvenient. I have actually stood at bedside and made interns do rectal exams on patients when indicated, because not doing one when it's indicated is practically criminal. I've been so adamant about this that several interns think I have a butt fetish.

  5. Don't help unless you know that your efforts will actually help. True story. I put in a central line, showing the intern how to do it. While I was sewing it down, he tried to clean up my sharps. I didn't notice. Then he gets paged away. I turn around and I can't find the guide wire. SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. By the time he got back, I had a 911 page out to vascular surgery and super stat portable x ray.

I had a coworker in college. I was applying for a student supervisor position at the job, but he begged me not to do it. Why? "Ifinding, you're a good guy, and you would be awesome at supervisor, and I have no doubt that you'd get all kinds of stuff done, but it's a part time college job for beer money. You'd never let us be lazy. You take this too seriously."

I think the same is true now that I'm a senior resident. I demand a standard of excellence from my interns, and I'm not talking about technical proficiency. I'm talking about integrity, honestly, respect, humility, and compassion. These are requisites to being an excellent doctor. And if you're not interested in being an excellent doctor, I'm not interested in teaching you.

1 comment:

SuperStenoGirl said...

Like Hippocrates said "[...] make a habit of two things: to help or at least to do no harm."

I don't think it's possible, in medicine, to take things "too seriously" - and if I ever heard of a doctor who didn't I'd be quite scared.

I think you'd be a great teacher, but then I thrive with teachers who tend to be jerks. lol Makes me want to do better to show them that I can.