Saturday, September 10, 2011

Darkness Before Dawn

For the past week or so I have been getting up between 4:15am and 5:30am so I can be in the hospital and ready to go between 5:00am and 6:30am. More often than not it's dark when I wake up and it's still dark by the time I walk in the hospital. Surgery rotation has begun in full. And I hate it. I knew this coming in, but I truly do dislike surgery.

To be fair, surgery is actually rather cool and most of the people have been surprisingly nice: chief resident - amazing, intern - really nice, attending surgeons - amazing, nurses - really amazing. As a med student, I don't get to do a whole lot in one sense. I hold the retractors (aka, the "learning sticks") a lot to keep the surgical sites open, I got to stitch once, I get to cut sutures, and I help dress wounds. Nothing particularly exciting. Although I must say that operating the camera for laproscopic procedures is pretty darn cool. I've decided that laproscopic procedures are my favorite (and quicker recovery for the patients too!). Our other major responsibility is keeping "the List" updated. The List is a list of all our surgical patients in the hospital, and we have to update it every morning with the 3 sets of vitals over the last 24 hours.

That said, my experience has been sullied mostly because I have to wake up before dawn every day (NOT cool) and "work" 12 hours most days. This week alone I've been in the hospital in some fashion for over 60 hours (a "light" week, and only 20 hours shy of the residents' work hour restriction). Also, one of my residents is rather cold towards the med students and frankly, kind of a bitch. I don't use that term lightly.

Today she was:
1. Very dismissive of me. Nothing I reported (other than vitals) seemed to matter to her. After we finished rounding on our patients and she was covering for another team, I went to touch base with her and let her know that I was going to do some charting and such. Her response before I could get more than 3 words in were, "Is this urgent? I'm busy, I do NOT have time for this right now. I don't have time for you right now."
2. Very rude to me and the nurses. In the elevator she complained to one of the attending physicians how the nurses aren't properly caring for one of our patients. Now I can't say if that's true or not, but ya know, nurses have a tough job too! Stop being so stuck up.
3. Was unprofessional towards an emergency department physician. The ED doc called us for a consult on a guy with a hernia. She basically chewed him out for not knowing how to "reduce" a hernia and told him to read a textbook, as that's knowledge that he should've learned as a med student. Then she sent me down to see the patient. I was able to reduce the hernia (yay!).

It took a lot of self-control not to talk back to her and be like, "No, you do have 20-30 seconds for me because I'm your student. I'm trying to learn, I'm getting work done, and I just wanted to keep you updated on what I'm doing. I'm trying to get work done FOR YOU so we don't have to stay any longer than necessary." Argh. I really dislike working with her. At least in the OR (operating room) she's not in any position to chew me out.

I'm counting down the days to my next rotation. I'm so done with surgery and I'm only a little over a week into it! I HATE waking up to the darkness before dawn. I HATE standing for hours on end in the OR (my feet, back, and shoulders get sore). And I HATE having work with this resident who gives us such attitude, and I have to work with her for the entirety of this month! Ugh. I miss medicine. And I CANNOT WAIT until pediatrics come November. And I've come to realize that I enjoy talking to my patients more than operating on them. I'll linger a little longer than perhaps I should each time I talk to one of my patients.

At least this one patient I saw today was super nice towards me. As we were waiting for the attending surgeon to come fix his wounds, he told me that the surgeons are great and great teachers (all true). And then I must've had this look on my face, cuz then he told me how glad he was to see so many fresh young people going into medicine and that I'll be a good doctor one day.


Stephen Chapman said...

I think that you have to put this one down to experience and ignore her unprofessional way of working with colleagues.

I think that we have all worked with people who lose our respect very quickly. At least your time with her will be limited and you can move on!

I once had a boss who treated me like a slave. Although it wasn't nice at the time, I learned a lot about how to get the best out of people... and how not to.

R said...

I fucking hate surg too.

Anonymous said...

I did my surgery rotation first and it nearly killed me. I was seriously sleep deprived to the point that it made me nauseous on most days. Also, nobody really taught me anything about how to do things on the ward, so I had to piece it together myself by asking the intern or the sub-i's. To their credit though, the surgeons were actually pretty nice although most of them had a somewhat snarky sense of humor. Anyway, I just finished ob/gyn, supposedly the second hardest clerkship, and it was cakewalk in comparison.

Mind Of Mine said...

I would struggle to bite my tongue with first example. 'Yes, I understand that you are very busy. Being a bitch is hard work'

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. said...

Hey Aek, wow, what a great story overall...I know there is a temptation to talk back to that resident and tell her how you really feel...don't let her get to you...there are others like you said at the end of your entry that appreciate you going into the medical field. Don't worry about the others. It's just amazing to read about your journey into medicine. Thanks for your comments on the secular doctor visit. Have a great week!! P.S. I'm back in D.C. for two know what that means....PICTURES!!!! :) Oh yeah and some zoo pictures!! Have a good week ahead!!

naturgesetz said...

You can meet people like that resident anywhere. It's good that you didn't escalate the situation when she was "too busy" to talk to you. Holding your tongue is a useful skill. At least you'll get to move on. {Pity the poor people who get stuck working with her long term.

And congrats on making a favorable impression on patients.

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