I thought I put this up a while ago, but I guess not. Here we go. I wrote this like a year ago...

When I was a medical student, I worked with one senior resident, Dr Hardass. He really pushed us, and it was a really tough month. He did however teach us almost continuously, and he made us really excited about medicine. I couldn't say enough about the guy. He was what I wanted to become. I wanted to be that good, and that dedicated. He was the ideal senior resident. I wanted to do well to prove myself to him.

So, when I became a senior resident, I thought of him while working with medical students and interns. I was tough on my interns, and I held my interns to a high standard. Some complained, but others really responded to the tough love.

In the end however, I felt vindicated. Some of the students and interns thanked me. They were so happy to be held to a high standard. I would tell the students that they had it easy, and they challenged me. They took on bigger patient loads, wrote sharper notes. It was impressive.

It was my belief that I have to hold people to a high standard, not just acceptable but excellence. If you only ever expect passable effort, that's all you'll ever get. Holding people to excellence breeds excellent effort.

There are no exceptions, especially for myself. I set out to be like Dr Hardass, and I think I did a decent job getting there, and now I'm considered by a lot of students to be their favorite resident. It's an honor.

The weird thing about being a resident is that it's a chance to be a mentor, and that really is a sacred duty, because your actions are the basis for students' view of what being an excellent resident is.

One of my friends told me that I'm an exceptional leader because I listen to others, always try to do my best, and trust others to rise to the occasion. And those who've worked with me felt they should excel too, not just for the sake of excellence, but also because they didn't want to let me down. That's an awesome feeling.

Yeah, I'm a hardass, but that's DOCTOR Hardass to you.


Helen said...

I have to teach students in a mentor type role and I find that being a hardass really is a good thing. It's not being nasty, it's being tough on them and expecting excellent work. If they deliver then wwe get along really well and we laugh a lot and it's fun.If they don't I get nasty.

It can feel really bad, like you're losing friends, but the point is that we aren't their friends, we're their teachers.

CT said...

Congrats :-)

I have to say I'm one of the (odd) ones who prefer teachers with really high standards. You really do learn more that way.

On the other hand, there are also moments when I am grateful that my preceptor is easy. Say, when I'm running on 3 hours of sleep. ;-)

TigerLily46 said...

Let me guess, Dr. Hardass was a surgeon.

incidental findings said...

Internal medicine, actually.

Anonymous said...

you striving to be chief resident or something? =)